The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) reported that it had achieved 25 of its 28 targets during the first quarter of the 2019/20 financial year, which was a slight improvement on its performance during the same period last year. However, there had been R735 million under-spending against its planned expenditure.
There had been significant under-spending on the compensation of employees, and apart from the funded posts which were currently vacant, there was misalignment between two different administrative tools that the DCS was using – the Personnel Administration System (PERSAL), which was used in all government departments, and the Human Resources Budget Plan (HRBP), which was introduced by National Treasury (NT). Each system showed its own number of vacant posts, which differed by 599. The salary budget included those 599 funded posts, which were vacant, resulting in the under-spending.
The Department’s incarceration programmes were responsible for the bulk of the under-spending.The actual expenditure had been R3.128 billion against the spending plan of R3.637 billion, resulting in R508 million of under-spending.
There had also been unplanned overspending in the transfers and subsidies category of R74 million. This was because the Department had had to pay for retired DCS employees to be serviced by the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) after retirement. An amount of R432 million would be reprioritised during the 2019 Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure (AENE) and over the 2020 medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) period as per Treasury’s Standard Chart of Accounts (SCOA) classification for post-retirement benefits, from compensation of employees (COE) to transfers and subsidies under households, for payment of GEMS continuation for members and their dependants.
The Committee’s questions were mainly focused on the reasons for the under-expenditure, and their effect on the Department’s performance. Members asked how the 259 vacancies in the social reintegration section affected its ability to monitor parolees in ‘danger zones;’ whether the DCS held officials accountable where negligence could be proven; and if attempts were being made to recover funds that had been lost. They wanted to know why the Department’s budget placed an emphasis on administration and incarceration, and gave less attention and resources for rehabilitation and social integration, pointing out that only 16% of inmates took part in rehabilitation and development programmes.
Department of Correctional Services: First Quarter Report
The meeting was chaired by Committee Member Adv H Mohamed (ANC) in the absence of Chairperson Magwanashe, who joined the meeting later on.
The presentations contained an overview of the first quarter’s performance for the 2019/20 financial year (FY), a breakdown of the performance per programme, a summary of the total expenditure up to 30 June 2019, a summary of the expenditure per programme and per economic classification, a summary of Departmental revenue and an overview of the implementation of cost containment measures.
The Department had five programmes -- Administration, Incarceration, Rehabilitation, Care and Social Reintegration. Under Administration, it achieved five of seven targets (71%), under Incarceration it achieved four out of five targets (80%), under Rehabilitation it achieved all nine targets (100%), under Care it achieved all three targets (100%) and under Social Reintegration it achieved all four targets (100%). In total, it achieved 25 out of 28 targets (89%). Compared to the first quarter of the previous FY, it had improved by 1%.
The country was divided into six regions. The Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West (LMN) provinces were grouped into one region; the Free State (FS) and the Northern Cape (NC) formed one region; KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the Western Cape (WC), the Eastern Cape (EC) and Gauteng were regions on their own.
LMN achieved 19 out of 21 targets (90%), FS/NC achieved 20 out of 21 targets (95%), KZN achieved 18 out of 21 targets (86%), the WC achieved 19 out of 21 targets (90%), Gauteng achieved 18 out of 21 targets (86%) and the EC achieved 17 out of 21 targets (81%).
Programmes where targets were not achieved included the Integrated Employee Health and Wellness (IEHW) programme and the Integrated Inmate Management System (IIMS), while 89.8% of offenders’ profiles submitted by the case management committees (CMCs) were considered by the Correctional Services Parole Board (CSPB) against a target of 92%.
The DCS provided a breakdown of its performance per programme.
Programme 1: Administration Management
With 21 out of 21 officials charged and found guilty of corrupt activities, the Department had achieved its 95% target. The Integrated Communication and Marketing Strategy (ICMS) had been successfully implemented.
Programme 1: Administration Human Resources
7 322 officials had been trained against a target of 6 020, because the need for training had been bigger than the target. The IEHW programme had not been rolled out because of conflicting priorities. (See presentation Slide 10).
Programme 1: Finance
Planned spending in the quarter had amounted to R5.283 bn against a target of R6 018 billion, resulting in an under-expenditure of R735 million.
Programme 1: Administration Information Technology
Under this programme, the number of sites targeted for IIMS roll-out was 20. Seven (35%) had been achieved, and 13 not achieved.
Programme 1: Administration - Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS)
Under this programme, 36 out of a total of 243 correctional and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) facilities had been inspected on the conditions and treatment of inmates.
Programme 2: Incarceration Security Operations
The target for escapes was a maximum of 15 out of 166 449 inmates, and during the first quarter eight out of 160 075 had escaped, with the EC being the biggest contributor.
The target for the percentage of inmates injured as a result of assaults was set at 1.18% per year. The average for the first quarter was 0.85%, with the FSNC the only region which went above the target, at 1.37%.
There had been one confirmed unnatural death in a correctional centre in the LMN region during the first quarter.
Programme 2: Incarceration Facilities
A new facility was being constructed in Tzaneen and would officially be opened in October 2019, while new bed spaces had been created by upgrading existing facilities at Estcourt and Standerton.
Programme 2: Incarceration Remand Detention.
The percentage of remand detainees (RDs) in remand detention facilities subjected to continuous risk assessment (CRA) was 67.73% (29 771/43 956), against a target of 60% (26 704/44 508).
Programme 2: Incarceration
With regard to offender management, the target was that facilities should not contain more than 140% of the number of inmates they were designed for. The average for quarter 1 had been 133.94%, with FSNC being the emptiest region at 100.18%, and the EC the most overcrowded at 156. 89%.
Programme 3: Rehabilitation
The percentage of offenders subjected to correctional programmes per year was targeted at 20%, or 21 729 out of 108 639, while the actual percentage had been 23.48%, or 24 447 out of 104 134.
The percentage of offenders participating in skills development programmes was measured against the number of offenders enrolled per financial year. The targets for both long and short skills training were 80%. The actual percentage for long skills training was 97.73% and for short-skills training was 99.91%. For technical and vocational education and training (TVET), it was 98.30% against a target of 80%, for adult education and training (AET) it was 10 981 against a target of 10 527, and for further education and training (FET) it was 1 082 against a target of 718.
Targets for psychological, social work and spiritual services were all exceeded
Programme 4: Care
Under health and hygiene services, the percentage of inmates on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) was 98.89% (27 128) against a target of 90%, while a 92.05% (139/151) cure rate for offenders with pulmonary tuberculosis had been achieved, against a target of 89%. Under nutritional services, a target of 12% was set for the percentage of therapeutic diets prescribed for inmates, but only 5.85% had been realised.
Programme 5: Social reintegration
The percentage of parolees and probationers without violations had been 99.3% and 98.95% respectively, both of which were ahead of target.
The number of parolees reintegrated back into communities through halfway house partnerships had been 10 -- two each in LMN and FSNW, and six in the WC.
80 service points had been established in community corrections.
Performance Improvement Plans
Plans had been put in place to address underperformance identified in the first quarter performance report, among which was an increase in capacity to ensure the roll-out of IIMS for identified sites.
Details of the Department’s financial performance included reasons for the R735 million under-spending against the projected expenditure.
Under compensation of employees, the reasons for under-spending were the funded posts which were currently vacant, as well as a misalignment between two different administrative tools that the DCS were using – the Personnel Administration System (PERSAL), which was used in all government departments, and Human Resources Budget Plan (HRBP), which was introduced by National Treasury (NT). Each system showed its own number of vacant posts, which differed by 599. The salary budget included those 599 funded posts, which were vacant, resulting in the under-spending.
Under goods and services, the actual spending of R229 million against the spending plan of R217 million, resulting in R13 million overspending, was mainly due to continuous price increases for food, cleaning materials and toiletries that were utilised in management areas across the country.
Under interest on rent and land, there was an expenditure of R45 000 incurred against a zero budget mainly due to interest paid on overdue accounts at Head Office. This constituted fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
Under transfers and subsidies, the actual spending of R80 million against the spending plan of R6 million had resulted in a R74 million overspending. This was because the Department had had to pay for retired DCS employees to be serviced by the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) after retirement. An amount of R432 million would be reprioritised during the 2019 Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure (AENE) and over the 2020 medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) period as per Treasury’s Standard Chart of Accounts (SCOA) classification for post-retirement benefits, from compensation of employees (COE) to transfers and subsidies under households, for payment of GEMS continuation for members and their dependants.
Under payments for capital assets, the actual spending of R12 million against the spending plan of R5 million, resulting in R6.5 million in overspending, was mainly on software and other intangible assets for payment of the IIMS contract amounting to R7.041 million for services rendered. The payment would be re-claimed from the Department of Justice.
The Department’s incarceration programmes were responsible for the bulk of the under-spending.The actual expenditure had been R3.128 billion against the spending plan of R3.637 billion, resulting in R508 million of under-spending. The main areas were:
- Compensation of employees -- R15.06 million under-spending as a result of funded vacant posts. The Department had commenced with the process of aligning PERSAL to the HRBP tool, and the finalisation of the process was delayed as a result of the reconfiguration of the roles and new functions introduced. The permanent funded establishment, as published in 2019 ENE, was reported to be 27 139 against the permanent PERSAL establishment of 28 008, resulting in a variance of 869 posts.
- Goods and services -- R379 million under-spending due to invoices for accommodation charges from the Department of Public Works (DPW) for the first quarter amounting to R143 million, and property payments under capital works for municipal services amounting to R74 million, which had been received but not yet processed for payment. There were also agency and support/outsourced services for payments of inmates recovery fee at PPP correctional centres. The other contributing factor was the slow running of projects, and also the fact that the majority of capital works projects approved for implementation during the 2019 ENE budgetary process, were not aligned to the realistic targets on the ground.
- Interest on rent on land -- there was an expenditure of R29 000 incurred against a zero budget, mainly due to interest paid on overdue accounts in Head Office.
- Transfers and subsidies -- the actual spending of R20 million against the spending plan of R32 million had resulted in a R12 million under-spending as a result of lower than anticipated leave gratuities due to service terminations.
- Payments for capital assets -- the actual spending of R37 million against the spending plan of R139 million had resulted in R102 million under-spending. This was mainly on buildings and other fixed structures, as a result of late billing from the DPW, due to the slow running of projects. In addition, the majority of DCS infrastructure capital works projects approved for implementation during the 2019 ENE budgetary process were not aligned to realistic targets on the ground. The Department was also in discussion with the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) to enlist it as an implementing agent, to expedite the implementation of capital and maintenance infrastructure projects.
The actual spending of the rehabilitation programme was R404 million against the spending plan of R431 million, resulting in under-expenditure of R27 million. This had been due to employee compensation issues, the effects of drought on the purchase of animal feed for livestock, although this had been off-set by overspending on transfers and subsidies and payments for capital assets.
The actual spending of Programme Four (Care) was R480 million against the spending plan of R577 million, (resulting in an under-spending of R98 million. Key factors were again employee compensation issues, and under goods and services, the termination of the African Global (Bosasa) contract for nutritional services on 24 March 2019. The Department was in the process of establishing a proper baseline for in-sourcing nutritional services. There had been minor over-expenditure on transfers and subsidies due to more service terminations than planned, and capital payments had been affected by leases from the previous year being paid in the first quarter.
The actual spending of the Social Reintegration programme was R235 million against the spending plan of R242 million, resulting in R7 million under spending. The compensation of employees had been virtually on target, but there had been R10 million underspent on goods and services, mainly as a result of outstanding invoices from the DPW for accommodation for community corrections offices, amounting to R6 million. Transfers and subsidies had been as a result of payment-of-leave gratuities due to service terminations that were higher than anticipated, but payments for capital assets had been under-spent as a result of delays in the procurement process for office equipment.
The Department’s presentation concluded with details of R74 000 being paid in interest on rent of Land, which had constituted fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and an outline of the revenue generated during the quarter. R156.231 million had been projected for the year, of which R32.923 million (21%) had been collected in the quarter. An explanation of the DCS’s cost containment measures was also provided. (See presentation)
The Chairperson asked whether a slide where one item was listed -- ‘Number of audit qualifications’ -- had to do with the challenges identified in the internal audit, and whether the internal audit had developed a matrix in preparation for the annual external audit, because the slide did not elaborate.
Mr Joseph Katenga, Chief Deputy Commissioner: Strategic Management, DCS, replied that the Department had an internal audit function in place. Internal audit officials had been recruited into the various regions as well. At the end of every audit, the Department compiled an audit action plan, designed to respond all the findings which had been raised by the Auditor General (AG). This was monitored by the internal control and compliance unit of the DCS on an ongoing basis, and it was reported on quarterly. The DCS had a structured way of dealing with findings.
Ms W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) commented on the presentation’s statement that the targets were measured annually, and said she would like to see the targets for the particular quarter, the target for the full FY, as well as those achieved.
Mr J Selfe (DA) said the targets the DCS had set itself were modest and not exacting. He asked whether the DCS was serious about the development and rehabilitation of offenders. Roughly 19 000 out of a total of 122 000 offenders (about 16%) took part in long skills, short skills, TVET or FET training courses. What did the non-participants do during these hours?
Mr Katenga replied that Mr Selfe had raised a valid point regarding the coverage of the rehabilitation programmes. The DCS had asked itself, with its resources, how best to get more people to participate in rehabilitation programmes. Realistically, with its resources, it was not able to do much. It had to partner with other government departments. For example, it was actively engaging the Departments of Basic and Higher Education and Training, in order to formalise memorandums of understanding (MOUs) so that the DCS could piggy-back on the resources of those other departments to increase coverage of its rehabilitation programmes. This was definitely in the plans going forward.
Mr Selfe said he had a problem with the way in which the budget was constructed. The DCS placed an emphasis on Incarceration and administration at the expense of rehabilitation and social Integration. The DCS had a responsibility to make sure people returned to communities in a rehabilitated state. It had reported that in the first quarter, 10 offenders nationally had been reintegrated into communities via halfway house partnerships. He was not satisfied that this was the best the DCS could do. What he needed to see from the DCS was that it had a long-term vision, where it would stop warehousing offenders and emphasised rehabilitation and integration. However, that would require the DCS to make a shift in how it spent its resources, especially budget and staff. The intention of the DCS to rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders was not visible in the budget.
Mr Katenga replied that there was a process under way to address this imbalance. The DCS was looking at the whole value chain of corrections. It was doing a business process mapping exercise which would show where the critical points were, and how resources had to be allocated in the value chain of incarceration, rehabilitation and social integration. The areas of social integration and rehabilitation required a more comprehensive approach, and again the issue of partnerships had arisen quite sharply. The DCS was putting together a framework for partnership engagement, where all these areas of the value chain would be looked at and how best to leverage resources within government and civil society in order to see it unfolding within next MTSF cycle, which would be 2020-25. By then, the DCS would be able to demonstrate that it was moving in that direction.
Ms N Maseko-Jele (ANC) said rehabilitation and reintegration had to be taken seriously. She referred to where the presentation stated that the actual spending of the rehabilitation programme was R404 million against the spending plan of R431 million, resulting in R27 million under-spending, and asked how it was possible for this programme to reach 100% of its targets while it under-spent by that much.
Mr Nick Ligege, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), DCS, replied that the rehabilitation programme also included the elements of production and agriculture workshops. The agricultural side contributed most to the under-spending. In the past, the programme had spent more money on supplies because it had to buy a lot of animal feed because of the drought. Some areas experienced relief from the drought, and therefore there was no need to buy the same volumes of animal feed. This reduction caused some of the under-spending in this financial year. Where there was under-expenditure under the agriculture sub-programme, funds were re-prioritised to buy biological assets, like breeding stock to improve the productivity of the agricultural projects.
Adv G Breytenbach (DA) referred to the under-spending of R10 million on operating leases as a result of outstanding invoices from the DPW for accommodation for community corrections offices amounting to R6 million, and on fleet services, where the monitoring of parolees was limited due to vacant posts and danger-zone areas. Did this mean that parolees were not being monitored in danger zone areas? What about the public in those areas? What happened to the responsibility of the DCS to monitor parolees?
Mr Ligege replied that during Q1 in April, the Department had lost three weeks due to the system being down, because of the process of closing the FY. Because of the loss of time, the processing of the invoices spilt over into the Q2. It had had an impact. The DPW invoices for social integration were part of this. In May, when the systems opened up again, the invoices were processed. These were leases payable to DPW for community correctional offices.
Mr Mandla Mkabela, Chief Operations Commissioner, DCS, replied that the Department used the South African Police Service (SAPS) to back up its monitors. It did monitor parolees, and did not leave them unmonitored.
Adv Breytenbach felt that her question on a lack of resources to check on parolees in danger zones had not been answered to her satisfaction. She would submit a detailed question in writing.
The Chairperson said this question had made reference to fleet services as well.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked how many beds had been added due to the completion of the new facility at Tzaneen and the upgrading and refurbishment of the facilities at Estcourt and Standerton.
Mr Katenga replied that Tzaneen would provide an additional 435 beds. It was completed and would be opened officially in October 2019. In Standerton, 183 beds would be added. Estcourt was being completed and a further 309 + 483 beds would be added.
The Chairperson referred to the compensation of employees, and asked whether there was a mechanism in place to prioritise the filling of funded posts.
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen pointed out that there was a vacancy rate of 12.3% in Programme 1: Administration, and that the 12.2% vacancy rate, amounting to 246 vacancies in Programme 4: Care, was too high. She said Ms Breytenbach had also raised a concern about the vacancy rate in Programme 5: Social Reintegration, which amounted to 259. What had the DCS done to address that?
Mr Mkabela replied regarding the plan to overcome the staff shortages. The DCS had re-employed 600 former officials who had started working on 6 August 2019. It had also deployed 960 learners who had completed the theoretical part of the course at the colleges, to management areas. Learners were partnered with experienced guards, and were learning the trade. Once they had completed their experiential learning and had been assessed to be competent, they would be fully fledged correctional officers. There were already 1 560 more staff active on the ground. The DCS was busy with a selection process to recruit 1 030 candidates to follow learnerships at Zonderwater and Kroonstad colleges. This cohort would start in October 2019. The DCS was also discussing a learnership programme with the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). It used young soldiers who had completed their basic training, for guarding and escorting. The DCS was looking at developing a programme to convert them to be correctional officers. Regarding the filling of senior management posts, these had been advertised in August 2019 and a selection process was under way to fill those vacancies.
Ms Maseko-Jele asked which factors contributed to the slow running of projects, as referred to in the presentation under the headings of ‘Goods and Services’ and ‘Payments for Capital Assets.’ She said the DCS had to home in on regions where the performance was under par and hold officials accountable for under-performance. The Portfolio Committee (PC) had to deliver on its plans. The PC was still waiting on a maintenance plan from the Department, while there were lots of problems with maintenance of its facilities.
Mr Katenga replied that senior management had a management function, where quarterly review meetings were held to review performance per region. Each regional commissioner would be accountable for his/her region. Progress was monitored through this management function of the DCS. It was a matter of continuing with this process, enforcing issues arising out of those meetings, and taking corrective action where necessary.
The Chairperson asked whether the item ‘Interest on Rent on Land’ had been classified correctly.
Ms Maseko-Jele referred to the item referring to interest on rent on land under Programme 1 (Administration), where R45 000 had been spent on interest. This was fruitless expenditure and had to be dealt with. Did the DCS have a plan?
Mr W Horn (DA) referred to another instance where the DCS had paid R74 000 in interest on rent on land. He said interest on overdue accounts had been charged due to negligence. Was the DCS taking steps to recover fruitless and wasteful expenditure?
Mr Ligege replied that at this reporting level, ‘Interest on rent and land’ was indeed the correct classification for this expenditure. There were sub-expenditure items. This was interest paid on overdue accounts. Part of it was with regard to interest on employer liability payable to the government employee special fund, as well as interest on civil matters where the DCS had to pay claims against the state, because the order would come out on a particular date, but the claim would be settled, for example, only 15 days later. The interest the DCS was paying would be the interest on the 15 days between the court settlement and the date on which the claim would be paid.
All instances of fruitless and wasteful expenditure were entered into a register and labeled as ‘alleged.’ An investigating team would investigate and determine whether there was negligence and whether it could have been avoided. Where negligence could be proven, employees were put through a disciplinary process, or were ordered to reimburse the DCS.
Ms Maseko-Jele asked, if the DCS was aware of interest paid on overdue accounts, why it did not budget for that in the same way it budgeted for civil claims against the DCS.
The CFO replied that while the DCS normally did not budget for fruitless and wasteful expenditure, it would take that into account.
Mr Horn asked why Human Resources Budget Plan (HRBP) was used while PERSAL was available. Under Programme 1 (Administration), it said in HRBP there were 235 vacancies, while PERSAL said there were 834 vacancies. The two administrative tools gave contradicting information. What was the real situation?
The CFO replied that the HRBP tool was introduced by NT. It was a budget planning tool and it had been introduced because there had been a reduction on ceilings. For example, salaries could increase by 2% and the 2% was measured in rand value, but the DCS had to translate the 2% increase into the number of posts, which could not be exceeded. From there, the discrepancy developed between the HRBP and PERSAL. PERSAL showed a number of vacant posts and HRBP showed a different and reduced number of vacant posts, because it was limited by this ceiling in rand value. The tool had been introduced so that Departments should not exceed their ceilings in rand value and incur irregular expenditure.
Mr Horn referred to the Integrated Inmate Management System (IIMS) having been rolled out to seven sites instead of the targeted 20. Verbally, the presenters had told the PC the reasons for the delay were development issues around the ironing out of teething problems, and that the Department would catch up by the third quarter. However, the presentation had stated that that the Department had taken corrective action by increasing capacity and had completed outstanding matters by the end of the quarter in June. It was on record that the Bosasa contract had been cancelled because it had contravened the procurement laws and did not provide value for money. The IIMS contract had the same history. It was a contract that was awarded against the advice of the chief procurement officer (CPO) because according to him, there had been false declarations in the tender document. The CPO at the time had warned about a lack of capacity and a lack of ability to execute the project, as well as possible fronting. It was on record that this company was just another affiliate of SA Fence and Gate, which had been awarded contracts and delivered below par work which was never concluded. Was the Department looking into this? Why was it continuing monthly payments if there was sub-par performance? Was the Department responsible for the delay in roll-out? The PC had been told verbally that additional capacity had come on board. Who was paying for this additional capacity? A full report was needed on this contract, and the DCS had to state why it wanted to continue with it. Was a whistle blower needed to tell the Committee about this contract before the DCS would critically evaluate it and see whether it would ever deliver an IIMS?
Commissioner Fraser replied that with the IIMS performance indicator, management was trying to ensure delivery on the development of the system. It acquired assistance from the Integrated Justice System (IJS) to oversee implementation of the conclusion of this project. Regarding the other issues around IIMs, the DCS could give a full written response on the process the Department was following.
Adv T Mulaudzi (EFF) referred to the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services (JICS), which the presentation had indicated that it had targeted 36 out of 243 and had achieved 36 out of 243 (15%). How did the Department decide that 36 had to be the target? This question could be answered in writing.
Mr Katenga said the JICS allocation came through the DCS, and JICS was therefore a sub-programme under Administration. The obligation of JICS was to inspect all correctional facilities. In terms of DCS reporting, the Department had to report on the number of inspections done on facilities. With regard to the substantive reports that came out of those inspections, those would be presented to the PC by JICS itself.
The Chairperson appreciated the presence of the JICS management in the meeting. He remarked that it was always good to have cohesion to that effect.
Adv Mulaudzi extended a word of appreciation to the DCS for the way it managed the rehabilitation and care programmes in the first quarter. He would be pleased if it continued to reach the targets as set for the second quarter.
The Chairperson referred to the DCS having to pay R80 million instead of the budgeted R6 million because it had had to pay R74 million for the continued membership of retirees and their dependants of GEMS. He asked whether the number of retirees and the implied cost could not have been anticipated, as it was a yearly occurrence. Had the DCS not made an arrangement with NT beforehand?
Ms Newhoudt-Druchen asked how many staff had retired during the first quarter.
Commissioner Fraser replied that the DCS would provide the statistics on natural attrition.
Mr Horn said the R188 million under-spending for the first quarter meant R62.5 million under-spending per month, which implied an average monthly salary component of R75 000 per month if the number of vacancies was 834, and R265 000 per month if the number of vacancies was 235. Were these 834 positions for senior management, if the salaries would have been R75 000 per month? The report raised more questions than it answered.
Mr Mulaudzi said under-spending was too high, because it meant that issues were not being addressed. When under-spending became the norm, NT would want to cut budgets. The DCS had to arrest the under-spending as soon as possible. The PC understood the under-spending which happened as a result of the cancelled Bosasa contract, and he appreciated the fact that the R94 million which was not spent on that unsound contract could be channeled to other programmes.
Mr Ligege explained the under-spending of R188 million, saying Included in the compensation of employee under-spending had also been the ‘transfer and subsidy’ element relating to the retiree medical benefit paid to GEMS. If the R74 million overspending was subtracted from the R188 million, the actual under-spending of R114 million remained, but this would be evened out in the post-adjustment budget. There was difficulty in managing the PERSAL and HRBP post establishment, because of the differing number of posts to fill. The DCS had to choose carefully which posts to fill, balancing the need to fill the post with the cost of the post in rand value in order not to exceed the HRBP ceiling.
Regarding the overspent R74 million to pay for medical aid for retirees and dependents, this was one particular group that the DCS had paid for, but in future this post-retirement medical benefit would be paid for by the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF). This amount was supposed to have gone through the compensation of employees’ budget. The new Standard Chart of Accounts (SCOA) rules said it had to be put under transfers and subsidies, because those people had retired and were no longer employees. The budget was sitting under compensation of employees, but it had been paid out of transfers and subsidies. Through the process of the adjustment budget, the required funds would be moved from compensation of employees to transfers and subsidies. After the approval of the adjustment budget, this amount would be paid out of the transfers and subsidies budget. On a monthly basis, the DCS paid R36 million to GEMS for retired persons.
Ms Maseko–Jele said the Committee and the DCS had an appointment to have a debate on gender equality, but she was not sure what the agreed date was.
The Chairperson replied that it was in three months’ time.
The Chairperson said while the DCS had reported a 89% achievement of its targets, there was the issue of under-spending which had emerged from the presentation. This Committee would continue to monitor the expenditure of the Department, as they were obliged to, for the remainder of the financial year. There would be a special focus of course on the 259 vacancies referred to under social reintegration, which affected the monitoring of parolees. He expressed the hope that the number of vacancies would not affect the effectiveness of the monitoring function, as there was a direct correlation between the Department’s capacity and the performance of the function. The filling of vacancies under this programme had to be prioritised. If he understood it correctly, if a particular post was not registered in PERSAL as a priority, the post could not be filled.
The meeting was adjourned.
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