DPSA, NSG, CPSI & PSC 2019/20 Annual Performance Plans, with Minister & Deputy

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Meeting Summary

Guide for Members of the Executive (Ministerial Handbook) 2019

The Department of Public Service and Administration and its entities presented their 2019/20 Annual Performance Plans. The Minister and Deputy Minister were in attendance.

In his opening remarks the Minister reported that the Ministry was busy dealing with staff vacancies, re-configuration of departments, the Ministerial Handbook, and interacting with relevant officials and stakeholders of the affected departments. Various aspects of the Ministerial Handbook have been dealt with by the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure and the Minister of Finance.

The Department reported that for the 2019/20 financial year, it has 35 annual targets, which are further broken down into quarterly targets. Of the 35 annual targets, 22 (63%) of the targets were from the 2014 - 2019 and 2019 - 2014 Medium Term Strategic Framework and 13 (37%) were other departmental priority projects. The implementation of the quarterly targets would be monitored on a monthly basis to track progress towards the achievement of the annual targets. The overall achievement against the 2019/20 annual targets would be reported in the 2019/20 Annual Report of the Department.

The overall budget allocation for the Department of Public Service and Administration’s is R1 002.1 billion for 2019/20 as compared to R950.6 million in 2018/19 financial year. The budget increased by 5.42 per cent in nominal terms. However, in real terms the total budget allocation for the Department increased by 2.0 per cent between 2018/19 and 2019/20.

The Public Service Commission informed the Committee that over the years its budget has grown but not significantly. Most of the budget was for the compensation of employees (CoE) while less went to mandatories. The baseline allocation for the PSC for the 2019/20 financial year was R278.2 million. Out of this budget, R212.9 million (78%) has been allocated to CoE. Since the PSC is primarily a knowledge–based institution and does not outsource its functions, the relatively high percentage of the budget applied to CoE was believed to be justified.

The entity also indicated 80% of all grievances received were concluded within 30 days for levels 2-12; and 45 days for SMS of receipt of all documentation. 3 reports on management of grievances in the public service have been produced. 80% of grievances would be tackled by the 4th quarter. 2 communiques on grievance management would be produced by March 2020. Research Reports on strategic human resources and leadership would be produced by March 2020.

With regard to achievements for the 2018/19 financial year, it reported as at 31 March 2018, the percentage spending on expenditure was 99.78%.100% (3 912 of 3 912) payment of valid invoices was done within 30 days, and 58.8% (153/260) BBBEE suppliers were appointed. 87% of all grievances were concluded within the timeframe (497 of 571).

 

The National School of Government highlighted that for it to strategically position the organisation for the 2019/20 financial period and beyond, there was an agreement there must be an emphasis on the ddelivery of the compulsory and mandatory courses as mandated by Cabinet; undertaking knowledge management, research and case study development; reviewing the NSG curriculum in line with the Public Service Qualifications Matrix to support the career pathing and re-skilling of public servants; addressing the NSG funding model and financial position; strengthening partnerships; and improving on internal efficiency, organisational culture and structure.

The NSG received a budget of R187.9 in 2019/20 financial year as compared to R153.9 million in 2018/19 financial year. The budget increased nominally in this financial year. Expenditure is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 10.8 per cent, from R169 million in 2018/19 to R229.9 million in 2021/22. This is mainly due to a R60 million budget increase over the medium term for the introduction of mandatory programmes to address skills gaps in the public service. Expenditure on the compensation of 91 employees accounts for an estimated 30.5 per cent (188.1 million) of the Department’s total budget over the medium term.

The Centre for Public Service Innovation revealed that research reports would be developed for the 2019/20 period. This would entail investigation and review of CPSI’s organisational form based on need to be leaner, more agile, less risk averse, and allow for partnerships and joint implementation with other NSI institutions and private sector (especially SMMEs and NPOs). The Assessment of the MMIC would be undertaken to determine the value and impact over the past 10 years: This would inform the re-design and upgrading of the MMIC. Impact assessments would be carried out to determine if the CPSI Awards Programme is achieving what it is intended to do.

The budget allocation for the CPSI is R38.4 million for 2019/20 financial year as compared to the previous year with R36.0 million. The budget will increase with 2 per cent over medium term period. In 2015, the National Treasury had granted an approval in terms of section 43 of the PFMA and Treasury Regulations section 6.3.1 (b), for the Department of Public Service and Administration to create a new transfer payment to the CPSI. As a result, the CPSI has become an independent accountable entity receiving a transfer payment through the DPSA budget vote.  

Members wanted to know from the Department if there were any cases where the Ministerial Handbook has not been complied with; how far the Department was on finalising the reconfiguration of the public service because there was a feeling the public service was bloated; when the technical assistance unit would be up and running and if Robert McBride would be appointed to lead the unit because regulations have not been finalised on the technical assistance unit; and commented they expected the Minister to dwell much deeper on staffing challenges, Ministerial Handbook, and upgrades.

They also asked if the Public Service Commission had the capacity or support to carry out its work because it only had nine commissioners and was unknown. They further asked if any of its recommendations have been downplayed; and wanted to know the relevance of the PSC in cases where a service has not been provided in the community.

On the National School of Government, Members asked if the training provided to the public service was geared towards the 4th Industrial Revolution; how they could ensure that departments do not prepay for training workshops or sessions they fail to attend; how far the School was in terms of re-engineering it to be able to sustain itself; and enquired if the proposed extension of training to traditional leaders was going to be mandatory and what language was going to be used as a medium of instruction.

Lastly, they commended the CPSI presentation because it showed the direction the world was moving to and that it needed to be given more funding. They requested the Minister to encourage other departments to use what the CPSI has discovered instead of opting for consultants and urged the entity to be in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology.

Meeting report

Opening Remarks by Minister

Mr Senzo Mchunu, Minister of Public Service and Administration, stated they were busy dealing with staff vacancies, re-configuration of departments, the Ministerial Handbook, and interacting with relevant officials and stakeholders of the affected departments. Various aspects of the Ministerial Handbook have been dealt with by the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure and Minister of Finance. The Minister of Finance was dealing with the determination on upper limit of ministers and deputy ministers purchasing cars in their departments. The Ministerial Handbook was clear on the upgrade of houses of MPs and purchasing of cars even though it has not yet been finalised by the Minister of Finance.  He further indicated the Minister of Finance was determining tariffs for those ministers and deputy ministers using their own cars. He stated the Ministerial Handbook was advising R250 000 on upgrades, but this was not a given issue because the Minister of Finance has still to determine how far the minister and deputy minister could go on that expenditure.  

The Minister further reported that the old Handbook was not clear on job descriptions of those serving ministers and deputy ministers, including secondments. Now the new Ministerial Handbook was comprehensive in every aspect of assistance provided to ministers and deputy ministers. More details would be shared with the Committee when time is opportune.

Briefing by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA)

Ms Linda Dludla, Acting Director-General, DPSA, reported that for the 2019/20 financial year, the Department has 35 annual targets, which are further broken down into quarterly targets. Of the 35 annual targets, 22 (63%) of the targets were from the 2014 - 2019 and 2019 - 2014 Medium Term Strategic Framework and 13 (37%) were other departmental priority projects. The implementation of the quarterly targets would be monitored on a monthly basis to track progress towards the achievement of the annual targets. The overall achievement against the 2019/20 annual targets would be reported in the 2019/20 Annual Report of the Department.

The targets reflect on how the Department will accelerate certain deliverables. These deliverables identified where drawn directly from the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030 and the 2014 – 2019 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). Furthermore, the priorities from the 2019 State of the Nation Address as well 2019 – 2024 MTSF are taken into consideration. In its 2015/2020 Strategic Plan, the Department indicated that it would focus on the following areas during the period covered for by the Strategic Plan: -Promoting stability at the political-administrative interface;

-Promoting a Public Service that is a career of choice;

-Ensuring that there are efficient and effective management and operations systems;

-Increased responsiveness of public servants and accountability to citizens; and

-Improved mechanisms to promote ethical behaviour in the Public Service.

Due to the nature of its operations, the DPSA is a policy department that does not offer services directly to citizens but provides the enabling environment to ensure that the departments that deliver services are properly capacitated to do so. In this regard, the main beneficiaries of the Department's services are national and provincial departments. Some of the challenges experienced by the Department in executing its mandate relate to the non-compliance with the Public Service Act and Regulations as well as perceptions of corruption in the Public Service.

Regarding policy development, research and analysis, she reported the business case on the structure and governance of the Office of Standards has been submitted to the Director-General. The report on support provided to departments to improve on areas of non-compliance with Public Service legislative and regulatory prescripts as identified in the 2017/18 Auditor-General report has been submitted to the Director-General. They have revised performance information areas to be submitted to the Auditor-General for inclusion in the Annual Report Format and these have been submitted to the Director-General. The report on the implementation of recommendations made towards the establishment of a national administration to support the Public Administration and Management Act (PAMA) was submitted to the Director-General.

On government chief information officer, she reported the priority e-Government initiatives to support digital transformation for the public administration have been submitted to the Director-General. Cabinet requested initiatives to support digital transformation. Report on the ICT expenditure by all national and provincial departments has been submitted to the Director-General. The Public Service Information Security Standard has been submitted to the Director-General in terms of the requirements of Section 94 of the Public Service Regulations. The Revised Corporate Governance of ICT Policy Framework has been submitted to the Director-General in order to improve governance of ICT in the Public Service.

Concerning governance of public administration, the proposal on the establishment of the Head of the National Administration and Head of the Public Service has been submitted to the Director-General, so as to achieve a capable, ethical and developmental state as well as to create and sustain skilled and professional public servants of the highest moral standards and dedicated to the public good. The report on the adherence by designated employees from national and provincial departments to the Financial Disclosure Framework has been submitted to the Director-General. There has been100% compliance to e-disclosure of financial interests as well as public sector corruption reduction of 50%. The report on the adherence by Public Service employees in national and provincial departments to the Directive on conducting business with an organ of state has been submitted to the Director-General. As a result, public sector corruption got reduced by 50% as well as the realisation of a professional and ethical Public Service.

Pertaining to public service employment and conditions of service, Ms Dludla stated that the report on the average percentage of funded vacant posts on PERSAL has been submitted to the Director-General. The report on the appointment of persons into developmental programmes within the Public Service was submitted to the Director-General. 4 quarterly reports on the implementation of the Government Employee Housing Scheme (GEHS) were submitted to the Director-General, including the report on the establishment of the housing finance solution for the GEHS.

Mr Masilo Makhura, CFO, DPSA, said the overall budget allocation for the Department of Public Service and Administration’s is R1 002.1 billion for 2019/20 as compared to R950.6 million in 2018/19 financial year. The budget increased by 5.42 per cent in nominal terms. However, in real terms the total budget allocation for the Department increased by 2.0 per cent between 2018/19 and 2019/20.

The Department’s second-largest spending area is on Compensation of Employees, which accounts for 31.3% or R1 010.5 million of the total budget over the medium term. This budget provides for a staff complement of approximately 482 per year over the medium term which is a reduction of 36 posts from the previous 518 posts. The allocation for compensation of employees was further reduced with R10 million over the medium term.

Briefing by the Public Service Commission (PSC)

Dr Dovhani Mamphiswana, Director-General, Public Service Commission, reported that over the years the budget of the PSC has grown but not significantly. Most of the budget was for the compensation of employees (CoE) while less went to mandatories. The baseline allocation for the PSC for the 2019/20 financial year was R278.2 million. Out of this budget, R212.9 million (78%) is allocated to CoE. Since the PSC is primarily a knowledge–based institution and does not outsource its functions, the relatively high percentage of the budget applied to CoE was believed to be justified. The Goods & Services budget is R60.0 million (22% of overall budget). Out of this budget for Goods and Services, 97% (R58.2m) is for mandatory and operational costs, whilst 3% (R1.8m) is for the implementation of the mandate of the PSC over the MTEF period. The budget for operational costs was high as the budget provides for National, Parliamentary and 9 Provincial offices, i.e. 11 offices. The 9 Provincial Offices supports the provincially-based Commissioners, appointed in terms of section 196(7) (b) of the Constitution, 1996, with an average staff complement of ± 9 employees each. The OPSC has 274 posts on the establishment, of which 256 (6.5% vacancy rate) were filled at national and provincial level as at 28 June 2019.

On grievance management, 80% of all grievances received were concluded within 30 days for levels 2-12; and 45 days for SMS of receipt of all documentation. 3 reports on management of grievances in the public service have been produced. 80% of grievances would be tackled by the 4th quarter. 2 communiques on grievance management would be produced by March 2020. Research Reports on strategic human resources and leadership would be produced by March 2020.

12 Reports on quantitative evaluation of departments against Constitutional Values and Principles (CVPs) would be produced by the end of the 4th quarter. 10 CVP engagements were held. 70% of public administration investigations were finalised within 3 months upon receipt of all relevant information. It was hoped the same figure would be achieved by the 4th quarter. Factsheet on financial misconduct would be produced by the 3rd quarter. 90% of National Anti-Corruption Hotline (NACH) cases were referred within 7 days of receipt of case report and this would be done quarterly. 90% of investigations on early resolution cases were finalised within 45 working days upon receipt of all relevant information and this would be done quarterly. Research reports in professional ethics have been produced and an assessment of professional ethics in the Public Service would be done in the 4th quarter.

With regard to achievements for the 2018/19 financial year, he reported as at 31 March 2018, the percentage spending on expenditure was 99.78%.100% (3 912 of 3 912) payment of valid invoices was done within 30 days, and 58.8% (153/260) BBBEE suppliers were appointed. 87% of all grievances were concluded within the timeframe (497 of 571).

Quantitative reports on the evaluation of the CVPs were produced (100). 99 promotional engagements on the CVPs were hosted. The entity hosted a roundtable discussion on land restitution and re-distribution held with key stakeholders in March 2019 and held engagements with Departments of Rural Development and Land Reform and Social Development on “Monitoring of 30-day payment of invoices”. Unannounced inspections were conducted (e.g. Mamelodi Hospital).

Lastly, he stated that 76.2% (147/193) of public administration investigations were finalised within 3 months upon receipt of all relevant documentation. A factsheet on completed disciplinary proceedings on financial misconduct for the 2017/18 financial year has been produced. The entity conducted 40 workshops on professional ethics in the Public Service. The PSC in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the University of South Africa commemorated the 2018 International Anti-Corruption Day. 

Briefing by National School of Government (NSG)

Mr Dino Poonsamy, Chief Director: Strategic Planning, NSG, reported that the 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan was aligned to the current five-year strategic plan (2015-2020). In 2018, the NSG also undertook a series of strategic planning workshops, including a workshop on the far horizon and future thinking that engaged on the effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and SA 2030 scenarios.

 To strategically position the NSG for 2019/20 financial period and beyond, the entity agreed there must be an emphasis on the following:

 -  Deliver on the compulsory and mandatory courses as mandated by Cabinet

-  Undertake knowledge management, research and case study development

-  Review the NSG curriculum in line with the Public Service Qualifications Matrix to support the career- pathing and re-skilling of public servants

-  Address the NSG funding model and financial position

-  Strengthen partnerships

-  Improve on internal efficiency, organisational culture and structure

On economic transformation and job creation, the NSG would be training 3000 interns and unemployed youth on the Breaking Barriers to Entry into the Public Service (BB2E) to enhance youth employment opportunities, revamp the BB2E programme to support the Formal Graduate Recruitment Scheme in the public service, and do the roll-out of suite of Supply Chain Management programmes for public service and local government to strengthen government capacity to support job creation and localisation.

Regarding education, health and skills, the NSG would roll out the course on Leading Innovation in the Public Service. Furthermore, working with the CPSI, a strategy for the re-skilling of public servants to mitigate the opportunities and threats of the 4th Industrial revolution would be developed. It planned to collaborate with the Government’s Information Technology Officers Council (GITOC) to develop a programme for Chief Information Officers in the Public Service. In support of the NHI implementation, the NSG was ready to roll out targeted training programmes for nursing personnel, including the Compulsory Induction Programme; Managing Performance in the Public Service; Citizen Centred Service Delivery; and Excellent Customer Care for Frontline Service.

Mr Poonsamy indicated the NSG would be collaborating with SALGA and enhance cooperation with National Treasury, COGTA, Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) and Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) in the sphere of capacity building for local government. It was felt there was a need for a “Scenario Planning” course for senior leaders and planners in government. The use of case studies should be strengthened and evidence-based planning be promoted and developed as a skill. Further, the NSG would work in consultation with the DPSA, SALGA and COGTA on the determination of specified education, training, examinations or tests as a prerequisite for specified appointments or transfers, in order to meet the development needs.

In consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services, the NSG courses and programmes have been aligned to government policy frameworks and seek to address quality service delivery. The NSG also would undertake individual training needs-analysis within the departments and analyses of oversight reports would be done to identify ways to improve weaknesses of the departments. The NSG revamped its Batho Pele courses to be citizen centred and worked with the Public Service Commission to mainstream the CVPs in all its courses.

 The NSG in collaboration with the DPSA and the PSC developed a suite of ethics and accredited anti-corruption courses, so as to build and strengthen competencies to prevent, detect, and investigate corruption in the public sector. The skilling of public servants would be done through the rolling out of training and development opportunities. For the 2019/20 financial year, the NSG was projecting to train a total of 53 283 learners in all training streams, either through face-to-face or online learning.

The NSG would expand the coaching and mentoring programme across the public service.  The training of senior managers would address the erosion of governance, accountability and consequence management. The NSG was rolling out the Executive Development Programme to address the erosion of accountability and consequence management.

To improve financial sustainability, organisational performance, accountability and compliance, the NSG was planning to reduce the average number of days for current debt collection to 60 days; pay all suppliers within 30 days of receipt of a valid invoice, and reduce vacancy rate of 10% or make it less by the end of the financial year. A projected revenue of R119m would be generated by the Training Trading Account. All disciplinary cases would be resolved within 60 days from the date of receiving the case, and the School was planning to facilitate 3 agreements supporting international exchanges and capacity building initiatives. 

Finally, the NSG would be conducting 6 research projects to inform training needs and opportunities completed. Ten training needs-analyses would be undertaken with public sector institutions, and NSG would host 6 research colloquia workshops annually. Four articles or papers would be submitted to promote thought leadership. The NSG would facilitate and manage various accreditation processes to maintain its status as an accredited training provider. It was also planning to train 46 283  new and current public servants on compulsory and demand-led programmes through face to face and online learning annually, and would orientate 3000 unemployed youth graduates and interns through the BB2E Programme.

The NSG received a budget of R187.9 in 2019/20 financial year as compared to R153.9 million in 2018/19 financial year. The budget increased nominally in this financial year. Expenditure is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 10.8 per cent, from R169 million in 2018/19 to R229.9 million in 2021/22. This is mainly due to a R60 million budget increase over the medium term for the introduction of mandatory programmes to address skills gaps in the public service. Expenditure on the compensation of 91 employees accounts for an estimated 30.5 per cent (188.1 million) of the department’s total budget over the medium term.

Briefing by the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI)

Mr Pierre Schoonraad, Chief Director: Research and Development, CPSI, informed the Committee that 4 quarterly financial reports have been submitted to the Ministry for Public Service and Administration (MPSA) and National Treasury, and non-financial reports were submitted to MPSA, DPME, and National Treasury as per required timeframes. There has been 100% implementation of external audit recommendations. He reported that two innovative solutions have been developed, the Pocket Guide to Innovation in the South African Public Sector has been revised, and two CPSI award winning or other innovation projects were facilitated for replications. The entity has also participated in two SADC or international innovation programmes.

The entity has further developed the policy instrument for the funding and procurement of public sector innovation. The development of a Cabinet Memorandum on a funding model for public sector innovation has taken place. Proposed Regulations on public procurement of innovation for inclusion in the Public Procurement Regulations have been developed. The CPSI has to engage Treasury on drafting regulations in the Procurement Bill to ensure the ease of procuring public sector innovations. This includes incorporating the Funding Model work into the NT Procurement Bill.

Research reports would be developed for the 2019/20 period. This would entail investigation and review of CPSI’s organisational form based on need to be leaner, more agile, less risk averse, and allow for partnerships and joint implementation with other NSI institutions and private sector (especially SMMEs and NPOs). The Assessment of the MMIC would be undertaken to determine the value and impact over the past 10 years: This would inform the re-design and upgrading of the MMIC. Impact assessments would be carried out to determine if the CPSI Awards Programme is achieving what it is intended to do.

Mr Schoonraad also talked about collaborations. There would be close co-operation with the OGCIO and SDI unit in the DPSA to identify areas of collaboration to improve service delivery and respond to the quest for digitalisation. The current discussion between DPSA and CPSI must be finalised to determine the way forward with the hosting of the CPSI Awards Ceremony. Any proposed changes must be addressed in the revised APP for October 2019. Research and Development was already working with NSG on developing and using innovation case studies for training of public servants.

The CSPI would be exploring new approaches or methods of unearthing innovative solutions in the public service. The development of a concept document on possible approaches to unearthing innovative solutions in the public service would be done. An example of such is the publication of the Top 100 Public Sector innovators. The CPSI would also support innovation trailblazers through the Trailblazer Forum. The development of anticipatory governance capacity in the public sector would be the introduction of Foresight as a planning approach for the public sector.

The budget allocation for the CPSI is R38.4 million for 2019/20 financial year as compared to the previous year with R36.0 million. The budget will increase with 2 per cent over medium term period. In 2015, the National Treasury had granted an approval in terms of section 43 of the PFMA and Treasury Regulations section 6.3.1 (b), for the Department of Public Service and Administration to create a new transfer payment to the CPSI. As a result, the CPSI has become an independent accountable entity receiving a transfer payment through the DPSA budget vote.  

Discussion

Deliberations with DPSA

Ms M Mokause (EFF) commented that she was expecting the Minister to dwell much deeper on staffing challenges, the Ministerial Handbook and upgrades.  She noted that in the Northern Cape there have been calls for cost-cutting measures, but the Minister seemed not to have touched on that. She further stated the 20 000 internships that would be created were an insult to Black people because internships have never been created for white people. It would be better for the government to create paying jobs for young people. She also wanted to know how the Department managed to monitor the performance of other departments in the past because some of the departments had performed poorly while bonuses were paid.

The Minister stated that staff challenges were related to vacancies that were in existence in the public service. At a closer look all departments were going to be affected by the reconfiguration. This was not to suggest that work would be at a standstill, but they were allowing departments to perform optimally. He said there were posts that were being filled, but that was not moving at a pace they were happy with. A vacancy would remain a challenge.

Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, added they were going to look at the levels of people who were in ministerial offices before the reconfiguration and now. All people who were supporting ministers would be reflected in the Ministerial Handbook whereas in the past that did not happen. Details would be shared with the Committee once everything was thoroughly concluded because there still needs to be synergy in the way things were going to be done.

On the Northern Cape matter, the Minister said there was only one government in the country and the policies were the same. They were supporting the Premier of the Northern Cape in what he was doing. No minister or deputy minister would be allowed to buy a new car unless it has exceeded 120 000 km or was older than 5 years. The premiers would move in the same spirit. The main thing was that no new cars would be bought if there were cars that were in good condition. Consultations were important if cars were to be bought, but the determination rested with the minister of finance.

On internships, he noted what was being said. The government has made it a policy that when young people are entering the public space they would not be asked about experience. He stated that internships were going a long way because if the government was offering you an internship, that was a step forward for the individual who was looking for work.

The Deputy Minister added that some of the professions or careers required that a person undergoes internship before that person practises. Internships provided young person with an opportunity to be able to apply for work during the two years of internship and to gain experience instead of staying at home. If young people get employed as permanent interns, they would be interns until they were 65.

The Minister further indicated from this year onwards bonuses would be phased out and this process would take three years to be concluded.

Ms R Lesoma (ANC) asked if there were any cases where the Ministerial Handbook had not been complied with. Second, she wanted to know if the Department was moving with the spirit of the PAMA Act and further asked what the appetite of the union was on the matter. Third, she wanted to establish where the Thusong Centres were housed. Fourth, she asked for an update on disciplinary cases. Fifth, she wanted to find out how far the Department was on finalising the reconfiguration of the public service because there was a feeling the public service was bloated.

The Minister replied that there was no case so far that has been reported on non-compliance with the Ministerial Handbook. The Minister of Finance would be sending out a circular on the matter. He also indicated implementation of the Public Administration Management Act (PAMA) Act was being done at different levels. Systems have been put in place to check progress monthly. On the reconfiguration period, he reported the President has directed them to deal with the process within six months. Committees within the departments were meeting daily to sort out the problems. Departments have been aligned at ministerial level. The positions of DGs and DDGs would be streamlined. The ministers would monitor that programmes do not get affected.

Ms Dludla informed the Committee that Thusong Centres used to be called Information Centres. The DPSA had to look at the way of speeding up processes within departments like COGTA; hence the pilot was done in areas like Soweto. The Minister would still need to determine where the Thusong Centres belong. She further reported that information on disciplinary cases would be presented when the Department comes to present its quarterly report at the end of July 2019. She said there were interventions in place to deal with long suspensions.

Dr L Schreiber (DA) remarked that some statements indicate submissions on cutbacks with regard to the Ministerial Handbook. It was worthwhile for the Committee to consider and be briefed about the Ministerial Handbook because it was a burning issue. He further remarked that the public wage bill posed a threat to the purse of the state, and the Minister would need to make recommendations on the duplication of functions. He wanted to know when would the technical assistance unit be up and running and if Robert McBride would be appointed to lead the unit because regulations have not been finalised on the technical assistance unit.

Ms Dludla said the President has signed a declaration on the technical assistance unit and Robert McBride has been appointed to lead the unit. Once development processes of the Department were completed, the organisational structure of the unit would be clear.

Mr M Sibisi (NFP) enquired how fast would the Organisational Functionality Assessment (OFA) tool be finalised; and asked how far the Department was regarding modernisation of technology.

Ms Dludla indicated that the OFA has been included in the revised public service regulations. A directive would be issued next year for organisational assessments and all departments would be compelled to comply with it. It would have early warning systems and be able to identify where things escalate in terms of expanding on the work of the auditor-general. On modernisation, part of the work they were doing was to promote the use of ICT to speed up service delivery. Their job was to put policies in place so that departments could do their work.

Ms M Clarke (DA) asked if the Department has rectified problems with Persal.

Ms Dludla stated the accuracy of information on Persal was not correct, but there were interventions in place to rectify matters, so as to generate the kind of reports they would like to see.

 Deliberations with Public Service Commission

Ms Mokause wanted to know where the mandate of the entity was derived from, and asked if it had the capacity or support to carry out its work because it only has nine commissioners and it has to rescue the public from the disasters of public service delivery yet it was unknown. She wondered whether the entity was doing what it was supposed to do because it was not seen when public service delivery collapses.

Dr Mamphiswana replied that there was no government that had the full support to carry out its mandate because the budget and resources were never enough. The entity does not have sufficient resources to do its work. The PSC was given its mandate by the Constitution. It did a lot of research on how public service could be improved to ensure service delivery happens by talking with MECs and Ministers.

Ms Lesoma hoped the entity was not taking away the managerial responsibilities of other departments. She asked if any of its recommendations have been downplayed. She commented that the entity should also move a step forward in terms of assisting the departments in the training of Executive Authorities and not only do monitoring and evaluation.

Dr Mamphiswana explained they monitor how the departments do their work and make recommendations, but they could not enforce. For example, they studied Judge Moseneke's report on Esidimeni and made their own recommendations regarding the matter. They do not wait to be told about issues, but do things on their own accord. Unfortunately, their work was not known. They conduct research and provide solutions. Where there has been a failure, they would recommend consequences to be taken.

Dr Schreiber noted that the phrase "new dawn" was used in the entity’s presentation. In his view, those words reflected a political statement and the entity was supposed to be independent.

Dr Schreiber said he got the impression that the entity's recommendations were not being implemented. That's why it was talking of concrete actions. He wanted to know more about these concrete actions.

Dr Mamphiswana elaborated that the PSC was set up to be between the executive and public service. The entity monitors the implementation of the policies of the government of the day. Part of its work involves understanding the manifesto of all political parties, speeches of the President, etc. The Act did not allow the entity to promote party policies, but once the policy was being implemented, the entity has to monitor the implementation process. The recommendations of the entity were enforceable. When the PSC was established, it was during the dawn of a new democracy and its mandate was to advise the government on policy implementation. Part of the recommendations were technical in terms of prescripts, and departments were not having problems with implementing the entity’s recommendations. But there were some recommendations that were problematic and have resulted in court cases for reviewal. The PSC would engage departments on recommendations not implemented, so that if there are disagreements, it could report back to Parliament. The whole matter of enforceable recommendations was open to political interpretation.

Mr R Cebekhulu (IFP) wanted to know the relevance of the PSC in cases where a service has not been provided in the community. He clarified by making an example about people in rural areas who have to travel long distances to access Home Affairs services, but end up getting no good service from the department.

Dr Mamphiswana replied that the PSC has made recommendations about the long queues and in one instance where it visited a Home Affairs office, the PSC asked for an extension of time. Some of the recommendations were implemented, for example, just like when they visited the Home Affairs office.

 Deliberations with the National School of Government

Ms Lesoma, first, asked if the training provided to the public service was geared towards the 4th Industrial Revolution. Second, she wanted to know how they could ensure the departments do not prepay for training workshops or sessions they fail to attend. Third, she asked about other revenue sources to ensure the Trading Account was not depleted. Fourth, she wanted to establish how far the School was in terms of re-engineering as it to be able to sustain itself.  Fifth, she enquired if the proposed extension of training to traditional leaders was going to be mandatory and what language was going to be used as a medium of instruction. Sixth, she remarked that the School and the Department needed to look at the collaboration with the college that was being established by the Department of International Relations to avoid duplication of resources. Collaboration between the two schools could be on diplomacy training.

 

Mr Poonsamy elaborated that the conversation on the 4th Industrial Revolution was started last year when NSG invited the vice-chancellor of UJ to speak on this process. As a result, the School was trying to find space of re-skilling public servants for the 4th Industrial Revolution. The School was working with the CPSI in trying to look at how to re-skill public servants. On re-engineering the School, they have reviewed their funding model. They have received funding from National Treasury on mandatory programmes. This, as a result, has given them leverage in terms of sustainability. Concerning traditional leaders, the focus has largely been on public servants. The School was trying to look at what it could roll out to other sectors of government. There was a programme NSG had done with the Steve Biko Foundation in the Eastern Cape with retired nurses who still wanted to plough back what they know.

Ms Soria Arendt, Acting DDG: Training Management & Delivery, NSG, explained that the entity did follow-ups with departments on prepayments and produced quarterly reports to make use of the money paid already. NSG had received donor funding from the EU for capacity building, infrastructure and to develop its courses. Other funds come from the training they were providing because they had to be paid by those organisations and departments that wanted training.

Dr Schreiber asked what the School meant by courses not accredited and how it planned to address the problem.

Ms Arendt explained that meant there was no credit attached to the courses in terms of the National Qualifications Framework though there were still learning outcomes that were monitored. Credits are only on level 4-6 just below the bachelor's degree. This was allowing people to build on something so that they could get a good qualification.

Mr B Maneli (ANC) asked for clarity on the 3000 youth that were targeted per year because he wanted to know if this was in relation to SONA or the contribution the School could make within a year. He further commented that the School could also be used to introduce technology in the public service, and to also look at the impact of the provided training.

Mr Poonsamy elaborated that they monitor the courses and output level. For the past two years they have looked at the application of learning studies in the departments. Some departments have introduced changes because of what the public servants have studied. On interns, he reported the departments were paying for the interns to attend the programme. The School was working with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform as part of the roll-out for the youth. He further indicated they had partnerships with other institutions in Namibia and another one would be signed with Rwanda.

The Minister said they valued highly the work of the School. In principle, they agreed there was a deliverer and a recipient and they both needed funding to go forward. The School needed funding.

 Deliberations with the Centre for Public Service and Innovation

Ms Clarke commented she found the presentation interesting because it showed the direction the world was moving to and indicated the entity needed to be given more funding.

Dr Schreiber said the entity was a resource the Committee should support and find ways of harnessing the technologies it was busy with.

Ms Lesoma requested the Minister to encourage other departments to use what the CPSI has discovered instead of opting for consultants. She further urged the entity to be in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology.

Mr Schoonraad reported they were strengthening their collaboration with the department of science and Technology and there was an MOU to be signed with the Innovation Hub. He said they have got a lot of investment on the supply, but less on the demand side. He also commented that innovation is mostly bottom-up initiatives originating from the coalface.  Scaling required leadership and ownership of an innovation and thus is mostly top-down.  They have had some success through sharing of innovative practices through our knowledge platforms and products such as sector-specific workshops.  At these workshops they took innovations from one province or one sector to another and facilitate ownership.

The meeting was adjourned.

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