The Committee was briefed by the Audit & Risk Committee (ARC) of the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) on the audit outcomes of the Department for 2018/19 and by the DWYPD on its 2018/19 Annual Report. The ARC was an independent, non-executive committee established to provide oversight, advice and guidance to the DWYPD on governance, risk management, internal control practices and compliance with applicable legislation.
The interaction between the Committee, the ARC and the Department was intense with accusations being levelled at the ARC for not fulfilling its mandate. The Committee in desperation asked: ‘Does the ARC not have the teeth to make the Department adhere to its recommendations?’, and further ‘If the ARC has made recommendations, why are no follow ups made to ensure that the Department implements the recommendations and guards against non-compliance’? The Committee felt that the ARC severely underplayed the importance of the issues in their responses even pointing out areas where the AG had found untruths that spoke to the Department informing the Committee about matters that were not accurate such as targets that were expected to have been achieved while they had not been achieved.
Members were concerned about why the ARC struggled to receive the Annual Financial Statements from the Department. Members asked what has the Department done to ensure that SCM officials are adhering to policy and procedures because clearly there is non-adherence; if there were consequences in place or was the Department in the process of implementing consequence management for the people that were not adhering to SCM policies and procedures; did the Department suffer any losses on account of irregular expenditure incurred; was the ARC auditing or assessing the issue of value for money; was the ARC following the money and checking on the impact; and was there a process to check whether the Department was putting money where the problem was located and if problems were actually being resolved.
Members tried to understand the behaviour of the ARC especially in the case where R27 million was lost due to unauthorised expenditure without questions being raised as to whether its use fitted the purpose for which it was intended. Members adopted a more holistic approach and questioned the Department as well. The Committee asked if the Department managed to change all the issues identified in the AG’s report and if it has been able to approve its audit action plan especially the internal audit plan and risk management to avoid deviations, underspending and unauthorised expenditure. A further disappointment expressed by the Committee was that the Department was not showing any signs of doing anything for women. The Committee made it clear that it expected the Department to say when it was facing challenges as the Department’s report presents continuous corruption. The most pertinent question tendered by the Committee was ‘Now that there are those challenges, what does the ARC intend to do to improve as a Committee itself’?
Amidst all the negative reports and criticisms of both the ARC and the Department - including a Member volunteering his personal assistance to the Department - the Committee heard that the ARC had made recommendations to the Department for improvement one of which was the operationalisation of the ICT governance processes and structures as a matter of urgency. The ARC would be firmer going forward with the Department and would make sure that their recommendations are implemented. Members said that the ARC had to report to the Committee with regard to matters raised by the AG to give progress. The first week of November 2019 was decided by the Committee as when the ARC would report directly to the Committee.
The Committee was briefed by the Department of Women, Youth & Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) on their 2018/19 Annual Report. The Department had obtained an unqualified audit with findings and there was a decrease in irregular expenditure in comparison to previous financial years.
Members were concerned about the political participation of women in South Africa and referred to an issue in the SADC Report which stated that only 11 females are Directors-General (DGs) out of the 44 National DGs. Members asked ‘How is the Department going to influence government to ensure that more women are appointed as DGs because 11 is a shortcoming’? The Deputy Minister explained that when Departments recruit for their DG, they put positions of Senior Management to the panel and usually there is a concentration of women at the Chief Directorate level and the DDG level. The Department will then give a total percentage in terms of Senior Management which will be high because most Senior Management are women. The Department then uses that percentage to justify a DG who is a man.
Members bemoaned the fact that the Department, while it is very able when it comes to writing reports and drafting frameworks, ‘falls flat’ when it comes to implementation. The Committee questioned how when one out of the five targets were achieved 99.4% of the money was spent. There was a strong focus on the Sanitary Dignitary Programme and Members asked how much money was spent in developing the Framework of the Sanitary Dignitary Programme; who is responsible for rolling out the project; who delivers the services of sanitary supplies in the Department; who pays for the bill for service delivery; and what is the cost of implementation of the programme especially because the Department spoke about in-sourcing. The Department has a quarterly report to share with the Committee regarding what is happening with the Sanitary Dignitary Framework. Members were very keen to know from the Department what the status of the Sanitary Dignity Campaign was. It was explained that the approved Framework has to be presented to Provincial Executives because although there were some problems on the ground, the Department’s strategy is to ensure buy-in from the provinces. The Committee was informed about the challenges regarding distributing sanitary towels one of which was the incorrect implementation of the policy when a huge batch was delivered to primary schools instead of high schools where there was a greater need.
The increase in Gender Based-Violence and the role of the Department was of grave concern to the Committee. Members asked what the Department has achieved in terms of Gender Based-Violence and Femicide; what is the overall budget for the NSP and the National Council on GBV; and in terms of Programme three, after five years, why has the Department not implemented Gender Responsive Budget planning. Members heard that when the Department was working on the bigger NSP, it was faced with a spate of violence and there was state announcement from the President to create an Emergency Action Plan. The Department has drafted the plan and has costed it. The National Treasury has through the affected departments identified R1.6 billion for spending on GBV. Members were pleased to hear that the key to the plan is access to justice, response care and support, changing norms and standards, prevention and communication throughout the whole year. These are the areas the Department would like to succeed on. The Emergency Action Plan is already starting to have an impact by attracting the media through the SABC which is already on board, and stories are being written that are beginning to mention GBV related matters.
Members heard that there have been sporadic efforts with regard to Gender Responsive Budgeting and many of these efforts have collapsed. One of the reasons given for the collapse was that attention tends to be placed on one Department or one individual champion and when that person leaves the whole thing collapses. One of the milestone achieved was the Gender Responsive Budgeting Summit at the end of November which was attended amongst others, by civil society and government.
Members expressed concern about awards being given to employees when performance was rated at 59% and asked: What is the Department awarding’? ‘Given the poor performance in Programme 2 and given the AGs findings of Supply Chain Management, irregular, wastefulness and fruitless expenditure, who were the individuals that received the award and why’? and ‘How is the Department justifying giving people performance awards and why’. The Committee was equally concerned about problems with Supply Chain Management and asked ‘What is the Department doing to ensure government officials adhere to the supply chain management policies and procedures’? Is the Department taking immediate measures in terms of consequence management’? The AG report stated that the Department has a problem enforcing consequence management because of the leadership in the Department.
The Committee was not happy about the inconsistent presence of the Minister and Deputy Minister at meetings. It is problematic having important discussions without the Minister and with the Deputy Minister who just walked out of the meeting without informing the Committee. The Chairperson was asked to intervene and she said that she was committed to sorting it out.
On a positive note Members heard that the Department was using advocacy as a new thrust in all its campaigns. All the core programmes have a strong advocacy component in the work being done. The Minister, Deputy Minister and all Senior Officials in achieving the goals and objectives of the programme were advocating for what had to be done when particular programmes were at play. In terms of the Sanitary Dignity Programme, a lot of advocacy on the GBV part of the dialogues mentioned earlier focuses on public advocacy in changing perspectives and behaviour. If the Department wants to transform gender relations then advocacy is critical.
Briefing by the Audit and Risk Committee
Ms Ayanda Mafuleka, Chairperson: Audit and Risk Committee: Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, presented the Annual Report. She said that the Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) of the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) was an independent and non-executive committee appointed in terms of Section 38(1) (a) (ii) and in accordance with Section 77 of the PFMA. The ARC provides oversight, advice and guidance to the DWYPD on governance, risk management, internal control practices/processes and compliance with applicable legislation. The ARC operates in accordance with the DWYPD’s ARC Charter which serves as the terms of reference for this committee. The Charter outlines the purpose, responsibility and the authority of the ARC in the DWYPD.
The ARC Oversight Responsibilities
Ms Mfuleka said that all ARC members are not in the employment of the DWYPD and all duties performed are independent from the management of the Department. The ARC executes its responsibilities through the attendance of scheduled quarterly meetings in which the Internal Audit, Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) and Management of the Department reports and provides feedback on all matters relevant to the functioning of the Department.
The Internal Audit and the (AGSA) are the main source of information and assurance providers for the ARC. It assesses and discusses the quarterly and Annual Reports received from the Internal Audit, AGSA and Management of the Department. The reports provide the ARC with an insight on the financial management, performance management, state of controls, risk management and governance processes in the Department.
Briefing on the ARC’s 2018/19 Annual Report
The ARC is of the view that the DWYPD’s Annual Report for 2018/19 fairly presents the state of financial performance and non-financial information of the Department. The ARC concurs with the conclusion of the AGSA on the annual financial statements and the performance information of the DWYPD. The audited annual financial statements and non-financial information are accepted and read together with the report of the AGSA. On management functions and activities for 2018/19 the ARC considered matters contained in the handover report by the previous ARC whose term of office expired during the 2018/19 financial year.
During the period under review, the systems of internal control were inadequate and ineffective during the financial year. This had an adverse impact on compliance with applicable legislation, integrity and reliability of non- financial information.
The ARC noted that the internal controls as in leadership on oversight, information technology governance, record keeping and monitoring of compliance on financial and performance management required urgent intervention by management.
The ARC is satisfied that the Department implemented the risk management framework which included policies, plans, strategies, procedures and risk management oversight structures. However, the ARC is of the view that the maturity level of the Department’s enterprise-wide risk management requires improvement.
In-Year Management and Quarterly Reports
The Department has reported quarterly to the National Treasury as required by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). The ARC monitored the reports as part of its oversight responsibilities and was satisfied with the content of the reports.
Evaluation of ICT Governance
The ARC exercised oversight over the adequacy, effectiveness and efficiency of ICT governance within the Department and found that the information communication technology governance structures were not functioning effectively. Management committed to improve the information communication technology governance and information technology systems in the Department. The ARC will monitor the Departments progress.
Briefing on the AGSA’s Audit Opinion for the 2018/19 financial year
The AGSA expressed that the Department’s financial statements were fairly presented. It highlighted all material aspects, the financial position of the Department as at 31 March 2019, the financial performance and cash flows for the year which was in accordance with the Modified Cash Standard (MCS) prescribed by the National Treasury and the requirements of the PFMA.
The AGSA did not raise any material findings of the usefulness and reliability of the reported performance information. However, the AGSA was concerned about the identified material misstatements which were subsequently corrected by management in the annual performance reports. The misstatement related to the inadequacy of evidence to support the reported achievement of performance targets.
Compliance with legislation
The AGSA raised material findings on compliance with certain matters in key pieces of legislation. The material findings raised were on procurement and contract management, expenditure management, Strategic planning and Consequence management.
The AGSA indicated that there was ineffective oversight by the leadership of the Department regarding compliance with laws and regulations. Non-compliance could have been prevented had compliance been properly reviewed and monitored by senior management.
Information Communication Technology Governance
During the 2018/19 financial year, the Department’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) Governance processes and structures were not functional and there were no control measures in place to monitor their effectiveness.
The ICT environment ordinarily consists of five components namely the production, back-up, disaster recovery site, and testing and development environments. Only production environment was operational in the Department and was used as a back-up and a disaster recovery environment.
The production environment failed or crushed in October 2018. The transversal systems and the information sharing, and storage system were affected by the failure. The transversal systems were restored but the information sharing, and storage systems are not yet reinstated.
ICT Business continuity
A draft Information Communication Technology Business Continuity Plan has been developed but not implemented as it is yet to be approved. The Department has a disaster recovery site on SITA but is not operational.
The ARC Recommendations
The ARC recommended that operationalisation of the ICT governance processes and structures are a matter of urgency. The Department must invest in information technology to ensure that the business strategy and operations of the Department are adequately supported by information technology and that the Chairperson of the ICT Strategic Committee should compile and present quarterly ICT progress reports to the ARC for progress monitoring.
The annual financial statements of the Department contained an unauthorised expenditure of R29.5 million. The unauthorised expenditure amount consisted of R 27.3 million emanating from the overspending of the vote in the 2011/12 financial year, and R 2.2 million emanating from the overspending per main division within a vote in the 2015/16 financial year.
According to management, an application was made to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts through the National Treasury for the condoning of the unauthorised expenditure. The Department is still waiting for feedback from the National Treasury.
The ARC recommended that the Department follow up the matter with the National Treasury so that the matter could be resolved.
An irregular expenditure amount of R 33.8 million was disclosed. The irregular expenditure accumulated over the years from R6.6 million in the 2010/11 financial year to R 33.8 million in the 2018/19 financial year. The root cause for the irregular expenditure could be attributed to various factors but mainly it was due to inadequate and ineffective processes and mechanisms that prevent and detect irregular expenditure.
The ARC recommended that the Internal Audit review all transactions of irregular expenditure in the Department. This constituted the R 33.8 million in line with the National Treasury Irregular Expenditure Framework in 2018.
Even though the financial statements for 2018/19 financial year did not have material errors, the Department struggled to produce complete annual financial statements on time to allow the ARC enough time to consider the financial statements. The financial statements that were submitted for consideration were not a complete product which necessitated that a teleconference be arranged to consider the completeness of the financial statements.
The ARC recommended that a deadline for a timeline be developed to produce financial statements which had to be reviewed by the senior management. Also the financial management team responsible for the financial statements should be capacitated both in terms of skills and additional human resources.
Briefing on the Audit Action Plan
The audit action plan to correct the AGSA audit for the 2017/18 financial year audit was approved in February 2019 just over a month before the end of the 2018/19 financial year.
The ARC recommended that an Audit action plan should be developed and implemented a month after the receipt of the AGSA Management Report (30 August). The plan has to be coordinated and monitored by the responsible unit (Office of the CFO), reported progress should be verified by the Internal Audit, and the audit action plan should be overseen by one of the management structures (EXCO or MANCO) in the Department before it was presented to the ARC on a quarterly basis.
Supply Chain Management
The ARC recommended that the vacant positions in the Financial and Supply Chain Management units be filled as soon as possible. However, management indicated that the position could not be filled until the National Macro Organisation Machinery of Government (NMOG) process is finalised.
The Department should expedite the finalisation of the case involving the Deputy Director: Supply Chain Management.
The Internal Audit struggled to complete the approved annual internal audit plan due insufficient human resource capacity. The audit coverage area scope has increased over the years, and specific internal audit projects have been regulated which result to minimum coverage of risk-based audit projects.
Internal Audit was unable to review information technology environment in the past four years due to lack of information technology audit expertise. This places a limitation on the ARC’s oversight role because Internal Audit is the primary assurance provider to the ARC and its constraints impacts the work of the ARC Committee.
ARC recommended that the resources of internal audit function need to be reassessed to ensure that the resource allocation will effective functioning internal audit unit.
Strategic Planning and Reporting
The ARC recommended that directives and procedures be documented to ensure that the strategic plan and the annual performance plan of the Department are compiled in accordance with the government planning prescripts and to create awareness thereof. The quality assurance processes for the quarterly and Annual Reporting process in the Department had to be enforced. The responsible managers had to be held accountable for sub-standard performance reporting. Quarterly performance reporting sessions that specifically dealt with performance reports of the Department should be scheduled and held.
Labour Relation Matters
There are five cases of misconduct which were opened against the employees of the Department. All the cases relate to failure to comply with procurement, policies, procedures and misrepresentation of facts. Two were SMS employees, one in middle management and the other two junior officials. One of the SMS employee cases was finalised with a not guilty verdict, disciplinary hearing of one SMS employee was finalised however the verdict of the hearing is still pending. The disciplinary hearing of the middle management employee was finalised, but the verdict of the hearing is still pending, and the disciplinary hearing of the two junior officials are still pending.
One conciliation matter on unfair labour practice was brought by an SMS member and was not resolved through the conciliation process. The matter was subsequently referred to GPSSBC for arbitration.
Five matters were referred for arbitration. Only one has been finalised while the other four are still pending.
Two litigation cases were brought against the Department which are still pending, and the Department intends to defend the two matters.
Investigation by the ARC
During the 2018/19 financial year there have been no investigation performed or referred for investigation by the ARC.
The ARC requested the Department to develop and implement a combined assurance model to optimise coordination of assurance services and functions in the Department and increase efficiency.
The Chairperson asked why there are perpetual transgressions of guidelines even though the Department has the ARC committee. This was a serious concern. ‘What makes the Department not adhere to the ARC recommendations’? ‘Does the ARC not have teeth’? The Committee must play its part in doing oversight but the ARC also must do their part. She said that even when the ARC was presenting and reading through the presentation, she kept hoping that it would provide answers as to what part the ARC plays. ‘If the ARC has made recommendations, why are no follow ups made to ensure that the Department implements the recommendations and guards against non-compliance’? It would have been better if the ARC was showing the Committee efforts that they tried in advising the Department to implement. There have been non-compliance and transgressions since 2010.
Ms F Maseko (ANC) asked why the ARC struggled to receive the Annual Financial Statements from the Department. Since the Department is present, it will be able to explain why it struggled to produce complete Annual Financial Statements to the ARC. ‘From the 56 audit findings, how many of them have been repeat findings’? Is there is an analysis of that because clearly in terms of the monitoring and implementation of the action plan; there was a great concern in terms of that. There is a band overdraft from the 2011/2012 financial year, that shows the Committee that the overdraft has been there for a long time and there is some form of non-adherence in the implementation of the audit action plan, why is the Department finding themselves in that situation?
‘What has the Department done to ensure that SCM officials are adhering to policy and procedures because clearly there is non-adherence’? ‘Are there consequences in place or is the Department in the process of implementing consequence management for the people that are not adhering to SCM policies and procedures’? ‘Did the Department suffer any losses on account of irregular expenditure incurred’? ‘Is the ARC auditing or assessing the issue of value for money? ‘Is the ARC following the money and checking on the impact’? ‘Is there a process to check whether the Department is putting money where the problem is and if the problems are being resolved’?
Ms T Mgweba (ANC) said she understands that issues have been identified in the presentation from the Auditor General office in the previous meeting. She asked the ARC if it has managed to change all the issues identified by the AG’s report. ‘Has the ARC been able to approve its Audit action plan by the AG report, especially on the internal audit plan and the risk management to avoid deviations, underspending and the unauthorised expenditure’?
Regarding the performance information, the presentation highlighted the AG report on misstatements. In terms of the whole Department, what the Committee has been raising as a concern is programme two and programme three which is the core function of the Department. ‘Now that there are those challenges, what does the ARC intend to improve on as a Committee itself’? The report on supply chain management stated that there was a position that needed to be filled. In the previous meeting the same issue was raised by the ARC and the same problem is being raised again which will affect the smooth running of the Department and create problems as indicated by the AG report. It is either that there is unauthorised expenditure, deviations and overspending. ‘What does the Department intend to do as matter of urgency to ensure that the position is filled’?
Ms M Hlengwa (IFP) welcomed the report and raised concern over the posts that are not filled. ‘There are people in the Department that are not complying - they should be reported and be removed, and someone that will perform should be hired because what the Department does reflects on the whole country’. She asked what is happening if the ICT is not functioning.’ Is there someone working with the technology’? ‘Why is the ARC not doing follow ups as an independent audit when there is someone not performing’?
Ms M Khawula (EFF) [translated from isiZulu]. The presentation highlighted that there are 18 audit findings not resolved. ‘When will the findings be resolved’? The presentation states that there are six audit findings that management disagreed with – what steps has the ARC taken against the person who is abusing the taxpayer’s money?
There is a problem in the DWYPD in that there is money going out without someone following where the money and whether it fits the purposed for which it was intended. R29 million is a lot of money. The ARC is not doing anything to assist the Department. There are things the AGSA is not sure about and the problem rests with the Department. The Department is not showing any signs of doing anything for women.
Ms Khawula said that the Minister’s absence will make the Department end up not performing properly. The Department must stop keeping money while the money is supposed to be helping. The National Treasury has a hand at wasting taxpayers’ money. There is nothing more painful than sitting in a meeting that is not doing anything. Women out there are dying and being raped, the houses they stay at are not safe. There are no sanitary towels being provided while there is money going out for that cause. In universities there are no sanitary towels only condoms. ‘Can the Department hire people that will do the work’? ‘Is the person suspended getting paid’? ‘How long is the suspension’? ‘What is the real action taken against the person’? ‘Why are people not being arrested’? People steal money from the Department and before actions can be taken against them, they resign. The ARC must say where the money the Minister signed for should go.
It is high time that the Minister and Deputy Minister be held accountable for all the transgressions that are happening in the Department. From the way the Department is performing, the Minister and Deputy Minister need to show leadership in the Department.
The Committee expects the Department to say when it is facing challenges. The Department’s report presents continuous corruption. It is important to act when there is a need. Things are happening under the ARC’s nose which leads the Portfolio Committee to question the importance of the ARC if they cannot assist the Department. ‘Who signed for the money that led to the unauthorised expenditure’?
The Deputy Minister, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, agreed with the Committee that the Department must take responsibility and account clearly to the Committee. The ARC in all government departments assists departments to strengthen their system so that by the time the Auditor-General comes to do their work most problems would have been improved in that they do not end up with serious financial problems.
The Deputy Minister reflected on the presentation and said that the Department wants to take advantage and turn the tide. The way that the ARC chairperson gave the report was worrisome because if that is how they report to the Department then the Department may not understand. For example, IT governance would be an area that has high risk. The way the chairperson of the ARC reported that the Department is progressing well does not highlight where there is a big problem.
She said that they will take responsibility and do their work with the assistance of the ARC. The ARC must be clear and firm to point out the risks that need to be managed. The ARC must understand that the ICT problems in other departments has huge financial implications, but if it is presented in a lukewarm manner that the Committee does not understand then it will never be addressed as a high-level problem. It is a serious problem if the Departments are not capacitated to fully have the right technology and systems to manage the Department. It affects everything, audit, procurement etcetera.
The Department will do its part if the auditor of the ARC has guided the management in terms of what must happen. It is the Department’s responsibility to ensure compliance. The Deputy Minister said she does not want the repeat of what is happening in the next meeting, the internal audit and the ARC must be unambiguous when they present problem areas to the Department and Committee.
The Chairperson referred to the presentation on page 10 on irregular expenditure and asked for clarity.
Ms Mafuleka said the ARC is an independent non-executive committee. Its role is to assist the Department by guiding and advising them by playing an oversight role on the Departments activities that the ARC monitors and reports. If there are urgent matters that the ARC needs to do oversight on, then there will be a special meeting that will address those matters.
The ARC wants to see the Department improve. The level of expertise in the ARC is enough. Most employees have experience in the public sector, dealing with the AG, accountants and auditors. The ARC gives recommendations to the Department, but they cannot implement the recommendations themselves. If The ARC is not satisfied with the implementation and progress of the Department, their role is to flag it and report strongly to the executive authority. If there are issues especially with non-compliance with the Treasury regulations, the ARC writes to the National Treasury as an independent committee about what they have monitored and tabled through the accounting officer.
When it comes to whether the ARC has the teeth, they might not be as powerful as the AGSA because they are empowered in terms of the new Public Auditing Act. The ARC is only there to report and follow up on matters they reported on.
The Department was being assisted by the old committee in the previous years and the new ARC has been appointed recently in January 2019. They received the handover report from the previous committee regarding issues that the Department is facing. The ARC does act during the meetings they hold and through the engagements with the Minister and executive head of the Department.
On the annual financial statements, she said there are capacity issues in the Department. There are set deadlines and the ARC plans activities in advance in order to review the annual financial statements.
On the reason for a special meeting to investigate the annual financial statements, she said that although ARC is independent, their role is to guide the Department. The ARC wanted to ensure that the Department submits annual financial statements that are free of material errors; hence there was a delay. However, the deadline was met with the guidance of the ARC. The ARC was not comfortable with the quality of the annual financial statements submitted and recommended a followed up to ensure that submitting annual financial statements does not become a challenge in the following financial year. They recommended that the Department provide a quarterly annual financial statement for them to get into the mode of preparing the annual financial statement. This would allow them to consolidate their reporting for the whole year. The ARC will be meeting with the Department at the end of October regarding their quarterly financial statement. The ARC wants to see the Department progress on producing annual financial statements.
On the number of findings, she replied that the 2017/18 audit action plan was not fully implemented hence there was only 32% implementation of the findings. Some of the repeat findings were around supply chain management and the CFO will provide detail on that.
On consequence management, she said there has been some consequence management looking at the Deputy Director for Supply Chain Management that was suspended and the misconduct that was addressed of some employees. The Department will provide more details
On irregular expenditure, she replied that in terms of the report on page 10, when the ARC had the handover there were documents from the previous AG report on irregular expenditure. The ARC was inducted on those issues and engaged with the Department. At that time the ARC was not assigned to look at irregular expenditure register however the ARC requested the Department for the irregular expenditure report and they went through each item. The ARC is aware of the transgression that happened however they have not taken action yet because there still needs to be an investigation conducted that will determine and account if Department suffered any financial loss and if there were fraudulent activities and what the consequence management should be. The ARC will make sure that a detail investigation happens because one cannot keep reporting such about irregular expenditure and not implement the framework. At the end of the day the transgressions need to be reported to SAPS or to the National Treasury for condonation. Recommendations have been made from the internal audit to conduct investigation; the framework is clear that the internal audit must conduct investigation. The ARC has tasked the internal audit to assist with the investigation. The Charter empowers the ARC to request or commission an independent investigation. There need to be bases for that to happen, an internal audit first needs to happen based on that report.
The ARC is responsible for monitoring the resolution of the issues raised by the AGSA. ARC has a vested interest in seeing the Department resolving the issues and improving the control and environment.
The ARC is an independent committee and cannot be involved in the operation of filling vacancies. They have identified the risks in supply chain management and recourse is with the vacancies and capacity issues. The Department will provide progress. Management has reported good progress in filling these positions and sometimes using contractors to address capacity care.
The ARC is monitoring the non-compliance. The Department does cooperate in providing additional information and reports that assist ARC to play the role of oversight. ARC will be strong in monitoring the non-compliance and advising and making sure that the Department resolves the issues.
On ICT, she said ARC will try to improve on the manner on how they report. She agreed with the Deputy Minister that most people are not technical people. The non-functional ICT environment is a concern. The Department has come up with a structure to address the ICT governance related matters; there is an ICT steering committee. The structure has not been meeting regularly as they are supposed to hence, they are ineffective, and ARC is unable to play oversight. ARC will monitor the function of the steering Committee to ensure it runs smooth. If the ICT steering Committee becomes effective, then the ARC assistance will become evident. The reason it is reflected as a high-risk area is because some of the responsibility and functions of the Department are automated. For example, the fact that Logis is not fully implemented affects the supply chain unit because that is the system used for generating purchase order and automation of the SCMA activity resides.
On the unresolved findings, she replied that for 2017/18 only 18 issues were resolved out of 56; 14 are partially resolved which is still in progress and there are issues that have not been started to be solved; six that management disagrees with.
The Chairperson said either the issues are resolved or unresolved.
Ms Mafuleka said the six that management disagreed on, the findings in the presentation are until the 31 July 2019 and management will provide with progress update at the end of October 2019. During the process of the findings, the internal audit is called in to test and check if the findings are indeed in process of being resolved.
The Chairperson said the Committee wants to hear whether the findings have been resolved or not.
Ms Mafuleka noted that the ARC is pushing for the unresolved findings to be resolved as soon as possible by the Department.
The unauthorised expenditure of R27.9 million is an old matter from 201/11. In terms of the law, unauthorised expenditure must be prevented. If it happens the Department must open an investigation to check who caused it and if there were malice activities around it. A report is compiled that is submitted to National Treasury to apply for condonation of the unauthorized expenditure. The Department will answer on who signed for the unauthorised expenditure. The matter has been referred to SCOPA through the National Treasury for condonation. ARC has been monitoring the feedback from the National Treasury. ARC has availed itself in assisting in fast-tracking the process and asked the executive authority to intervene in making sure the process is fast tracked. The Department will provide full details on how the matter came about and who was responsible and what the motivation for condonation was.
Mr L Mphithi (DA) said the ARC severely underplayed the importance of the issues in their response. There have been a number of issues that have been raised in the report that warrant great concern for example contradictions between what the Department will be reporting, what the AG has found that point to untruths that speak to the Department informing the Committee things that are not accurate such as targets that are expected to have been achieved while they have not been achieved. He feels that those are grave concerns that should warrant a better response from the ARC. The AG stated that the Department is saying targets are being achieved while they are not. When the AG picks up that there is irregular expenditure within the Department, when line managers within the Department are not following protocol and internal control, when procurement and contract management within the Department is in disarray, should warrant great concern. He does not feel that the presentation has taken the issues in a manner that should have been taken.
‘Based on the issues raised in the presentation and by the AG, do you feel that the actions taken are enough’? ‘Do you feel that more action is required by the ARC in terms of Section 38 (1) (a) (ii)’? ‘Do you feel the action of making recommendation to the Department is enough’? ‘If you feel that it is enough and looking at further information presented, when considering it holistically as an independent body that is within the accordance of the PFMA, do not all these issues warrant more action’? The recommendations made by the ARC are not enough.
The presentation states that there has not been an investigation forwarded to the ARC. ‘Do you think the ARC would be able to take on the responsibility based on their own accounts with their engagements with the Department’?
Ms Mafuleka replied that the presentation does not reflect how the ARC operates. The ARC came into office in January 2019 and activities that it has worked on in the short period and recommendations made are not going to turn the Department overnight. She cannot answer with certainty and confidence that what the ARC has done so far is enough. ARC gets appointed for a specific term to assist the Department in reaching their targets. There is still more action that ARC needs to do in working with the Department in addressing the issues.
In terms of the investigation, the ARC charter empowers that matters are investigated. The ARC will engage with the Department and the Minister regarding the issues raised on what more the ARC can assist on. The ARC work does not stop with the presentation because ARC wants the issues raised to be solved.
Mr Mphithi said that when starting an investigation there is an initial document that highlights wrongdoings that kick-start the investigation. Based on the document presented, does the document not necessitate that an investigation has to be done by the ARC. ‘There are grave concerns raised by the ARC, does the ARC not feel that the information presented is enough to warrant an investigation’? What further evidence must be presented that will allow the ARC to act when the ARC itself has pointed out grave issues that are collaborated by the AG’s office. ‘What else is the ARC waiting for in order to start an investigation’? One must not confuse the investigation started by the Department regarding officials or line management acting in improper ways versus findings that have been stated in the presentation relating to issues of financial contradiction, contract management and proper enforcement of internal control. There has been over R27 million that have been lost due to unauthorised expenditure and irregular expenditure. ‘What more is required from the ARC to act when the presentation is pointing out that more needs to be done’?
The ARC agreed that not enough action has been taken, while in the same breath saying that the ARC needs to engage with the Minister. ‘Which one is it, as it cannot be both’? ‘Is it that ARC has not taken enough action, the ARC needs to engage with the Minister, or still wait for the investigation to be done by the Department for the ARC to perform its duties’? He stated that the presentation is enough to start with the investigations.
Ms Mafuleka replied that most of the issues raised for instance non-compliance boils down to unauthorised expenditure, irregular expenditure and fruitless expenditure. Those are the key non-compliance issues. In dealing with these categories of non-compliance there is a legislative framework that sets how such investigation needs to be done. In getting the AG report that indicates findings on irregular expenditure, it is not the ARC that must do the investigation because there is a process that needs to be followed. Once the categories of non-compliance have been detected they must be assessed, investigated internally by an independent unit in the Department and based on the investigation report, there are three possible outcomes. Firstly, who is responsible for the irregular expenditure, secondly did the Department suffer any losses and lastly does the non-compliance relates to fraudulent, criminal or corruptive activities. In the legislative framework that the National Treasury has circulated provides the guidelines on how to proceed if the three outcomes are found. For example, if fraudulent or criminal activities are found, then the matter must be referred to SAPS, and accounting must open a case. ARC before it acts relies on the investigation report and then follows the guidelines set out by the National Treasury legislative framework. The action that she referred to was not referring to in the investigation but in pressurising the Department.
The Chairperson asked if the ARC pressurises the Department.
Ms Mafuleka replied that the ARC does pressurise the Department like when they request action to be taken by the Department. The Department has been receptive. The ARC does not only pressurise at the management level but also in engagements with the Minister. The Minister is very receptive, and she appraises such issues and works with management. The action is not only about getting findings from the AG and investigating, but also allowing the processes that should take place to actually happen.
The Chairperson asked about the finances of the ICT network server funds that were not used yet the server crashed in October 2018. He asked if this was resolved.
Ms Mafuleka replied that the server crashed around 2011 and by March 2019 the procurement process needed to unfold. March 2019 there were still funds that were not utilised because the financial year came to an end while some of the procurement processes were taking place. When the server, crashed the entire infrastructure was affected. ARC received a report in June 2019 that showed positive progress around the restoration of the server, although it has not been fully restored.
Ms N Sharif (DA) said that the ARC responses sound defensive of the Department. The presentation states that the ARC is there to give recommendations to the Department on quarterly, and Annual Reports but there are many recurring issues that continuously come up. It seems that the Department may not be taking the ARC recommendation into account. ‘What does ARC do in that situation’? For example, the recycled debts which is an old debt that continuously came up and nothing is being done about it. The issues have been there since 2010 up until 2019. It seems like nothing is happening. ‘How can the ARC explain that’? ‘Is it enough to give the Department recommendation on what they must do internally’? ‘Where is the follow up process to ensure that the Department is implementing the recommendations’?
Mr Mphithi added that what Ms Sharif raised was an important point. When the ARC says that there is an investigation that the Department has to do, and that there is a process that was being legislated, he agrees with that. However, issues that are being highlighted are those that have been happening for several years, the legacy report must have informed the issues to deal with in the past financial year. Follow the golden trend, from showing a qualified audit to an unqualified audit by showing the history behind that. ‘With historical tracking of corruption, irregular expenditure etcetera, there are recurring issues that are highlighted in the presentation of the ARC and the Department so at what point is action taken’?
Ms Mafuleka replied that it does not assist the ARC to be defensive. As mentioned earlier the ARC is an independent committee and does not want to defend the Department. The ARC welcomes constructive feedback as it does act. When the issues arise, the ARC is not the first line of defence. AGSA and the Department investigate problems. The ARC does not want to repeat work that has been done which will lead to wastefulness. The legislative framework is there as a guide to which office should be referred to regarding which problems. The ARC will be firmer going forward with the Department and making sure that their recommendations are implemented.
The Chairperson made a proposal that the ARC must report to the Committee with regard to matters raised by the AG to give progress. The first week of November 2019 was decided by the Portfolio Committee would be when the ARC will report to the Committee.
Ms Mafuleka asked the Chairperson to allow the ARC to have their meeting on the 28 of October in order to discuss the issues raised by the AG.
The Chairperson stated the ARC must come back the first week of November to give a progress report on the issues raised by the AG. She asked the Minister to share a few words before she leaves the meeting as the Committee is not satisfied with the report.
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane apologised for being late and having to leave again. She said that as the Executive Authority, she and the Accounting Officer have the responsibility as instructed by the PFMA. The AG audits the Department’s financial and non-financial matters. The Portfolio Committee is there to advocate, monitor, evaluate while judging the performance of the Executive Authority and the Department. The day-to-day role of the Minister and Deputy Minister is to make sure that people are feeling their presence outside to do what their expected to do as an executive authority while monitoring the officials in the Department. The Minister and Deputy Minister’s office will continue in doing the work that the Committee expects to be done. The Department is listening and taking note in order to work with the Committee in this journey because repeat findings state that there should be progress of what needed to be done three months ago and why in the next quarter still not getting feedback. The Department will fix what needs to be fixed.
She thanked the Chairperson for an opportunity for a chance to speak. The youth and people with disabilities are waiting to see what the Department can do for them. The Department has the responsibility to do its day job for the vulnerable people. She said that she will work on the issue of ICT, the vacant posts that need to be filled. The Department will present about the vacant posts.
Ms Sharif said that after going through the Annual Report of the Department, the Department is ineffective in carrying out its mandate. There are women, youth, people with disabilities that are relying on the Department to make their lives a bit easier to ensure that systems and laws are implemented to ensure that they feel safer, to ensure that any issues across government speaks to women, youth, people with disabilities and the LGBTIQA+ that the Department plays the role of not only oversight but monitoring evaluation on everything. For example, when the Committee does individual oversight in province, the Department states that they are not a service delivery department. What does the Department do? Do they only do reports, drafts reports, put together frameworks, have popup events 365 days a year and then disappear. Is that core mandate of the Department? This shows South Africans that the Department is ineffective in dealing with issues when it comes to women, youth and people with disabilities. As previously stated during the previous meeting, as a young woman, she does not feel safe even though she is a Member of Parliament. The position she holds in society does not matter, what matters is that she is vulnerable as a young woman. The Department has done nothing to make life even a little bit easier.
She asked the Minister what her turnaround strategy is to make the Department effective for women, youth, and people with disabilities in South Africa. If the Departments role is to create reports that take four years to draft frameworks, that uses money to blow their work force then this Department is going in the wrong direction. In her view the Department must be scrubbed and all the money must be given to CGE because they are working on the ground, in province carrying out programmes that have made lives of South Africans a little bit easier where the Department has failed to achieve that.
Ms Khawula [translated from isiZulu] said that events will not help anyone - people out there are suffering and events are not the solution. There was an event in Durban that called women to come register for jobs, however when the posts came up, they did not receive any jobs. The youth is educated however they are not getting any jobs to a point where they decide to go back to school. ‘What is the use in getting qualifications and then not getting work’? Racism in South Africa is something that will not end. The Committee wants someone that will take action in helping women get jobs, assist the women who want to get into farming by setting them up with the Department of agriculture. If money is being used properly in helping people, people will stop wasting their time in taverns, rape will come to end, people will come to care. If the Committee would ask about the events, who received tenders, how much money was spent in the event and where the event happened, the auditors will not be able to provide those answers. People are playing auditors. What is needed is practicality not theory because black women are suffering. The Committee wants a Minister that will say enough is enough. ‘If the youth cannot get jobs, why are they not provided with land to start farming in order to provide for themselves’? The Department must provide tractors to help with the farming. Nothing will happen in this Department because the issues they are looking at are only theory and not being practical. The money must be taken from the Department and given to the people so that they can buy cows and tractors in order to start farming. The money for these events must be given to the people.
Mr Mphithi thanked the Minister for her presence. When looking at the information presented in the document, there is a responsibility that lies with the Minister to intervene on some of the issues. It is not enough to say that a CFO must be in community, the CFO is helping women, youth, and people with disabilities when they do their jobs to ensure that there was no irregular expenditure and no unauthorised expenditure. The point that needs to be made is that there is a problem with the financial health of the Department that needs to be looked into. There is problem with the procurement supply chain management in the Department that the Minister needs to intervene through the officials. There is a problem with contract management with the number of deviations with the numbers seen in the Department. Core programmes in the Department are not delivering - it cannot be that only programme one is delivering which deals with the administration. Programme 2 and 3 are the ones that must be delivering. The work of the Department are to the most vulnerable people but if the Department cannot get the basics right which are quite simple, managing an effectively the finances of the Department, to correct the internal controls of the Department to ensure that line managers are responsible and they are not signing things they are supposed to be not signing this contribute to assisting the people that are most vulnerable in the country. The Committee wants the Department to work because when the Members go to their constituencies, they are asked as to what the Department is doing because nothing shows that the Department is working. If the Department does not work the Committee Members are also attacked by their constituencies. When the Department fails because of unauthorised expenditure, there is no competitiveness within the suppliers the Department is trying to use. He asked the Minister to look at the issues being raised and to look at Programme two that has gone back in terms of its achievement - it has done worse in the previous financial year and something must be done. There is nothing good about hearing presentations of reoccurring issues that have been happening for many years at the Department and act as if it is alright when it is not. It is not normal to speak about irregular expenditure as if it is just another issue, it is not. It affects the Committee indirectly. There is a point to be made that the work of the Department must be on the ground but if the administration is failing to follow its internal procedures and protocols then there is a fundamental problem with the direction of the Department. Committee members must be proud to be representatives in the Committee because it is working for the vulnerable that it was supposed to be representing.
‘Can the Department be honest to the Committee in their reports because there are fundamental grave discrepancies that the Committee sees being reported by the Department and what is found by the AG’. ‘It is a grave issue when the Department is reporting on incorrect targets’.
There was a Department reported in the news that reported on false targets that they said they achieved while they did not. He said that he does not want to happen to this Department. The AG report has proved that there are two targets that were reported to have been achieved while they were not. The financial health of the Department is a big concern. Women, youth and people with disabilities are looking at the Committee and the Department to do something and assist the CGE. The Department cannot leave the CGE defend for itself because they have great programmes. If there needs to be an alignment between the CGE and the Department then let it be done in order to be able to assist each other? He volunteered himself to assist the Department personally but if things are not going to change while complaining about the same issues over again, the Committee will get tired and end up being political.
Ms Khawula [translated from isiZulu], said there are women, youth, people with disabilities that have been working in Parliament for a long time now they are being told to reapply for the job. Why are they not being taken and taught more in order to provide for themselves? Back in the day a person would work as a cleaner at a hospital and would get taught there until she or he becomes a nurse.
The Chairperson said that there is no need for the Minister to provide a response to Ms Khawula’s questions. The CGE in the previous meeting presented good things to the Committee. She requested the Minister to meet with the CGE in order to get acquainted with how they can help the Department.
The Minister replied that the CGE are supposed to be independent, but luckily this crew got in the same time with the Department. She noted the issues raised by the Members of the Committee as they are issues that keep the Department and the Committee awake. It is the ARC’s day-to-day report and now that the Department and ARC have met there will not be a situation where people will say they were not present. A mark needs to be left on the things that need to be done. When an independent body presents on a report, one wants to take the report separately but the Department cannot be separated. The Department and the independent Committees need to work as one. The Department needs to advocate and monitor on what the Committee is raising. She said that she will respond to the outstanding issues in writing as she had to leave early.
The Chairperson requested the Department to inform the Committee what their plan is for the audit outcomes and to respond to questions that have been asked.
Briefing on the Department of Women Youth and Persons with Disabilities 2018/19 Annual Report
Ms W Tshabalala, Acting Director-General, DWYPD, said that the best thing one can do is to take the report as read, what has been analysed in the sense of excellence, and areas of development. In the areas of development, one of the concerns that have been raised is the issue that has been reported as not being in agreement with what the AG had reported.
At the last meeting the Department provided reasons for what had happened. Governance processes have been strengthened internally. There are issues that the Department will engage with the AG on, particularly looking at what the policy says on what ought to be approved at what level and what the AG said in order to be harmonisation in that regard. It is an area that reflects very high and it is not an area where people did not perform but an issue of coming into agreement about the level it was supposed to be signed off on. The Department did what it was supposed to do with the APP and did everything for the communities. The Department has identified that there is a gap and it will be addressed through the ARC as well being in consultation with the AG in order to get a clear understanding about how to proceed with the issues.
Regarding the concern raised about deviations, the Department has sensitised the end users to submit their procurement issues at least two weeks in advance within their project timelines so that nothing happens that will compromise SCM processes. The office of the CFO issued the circular to all employee of the Department explaining the deviation process and what actually qualifies for a deviation. People are now more informed and have a better understanding of deviations.
The Department often emphases the four “Gs” for caucus in government, being the UIF, irregular, fruitless, unauthorised and wasteful expenditure. Managers are now aware of the four ‘G’s for example, what Ms Khawula said about taking the money and giving it to specific individuals that will carry out the mandate. That will be unauthorised because that money has been budgeted and voted for regarding a particular activity. The staff has been trained to avoid situations like that. Workshops were conducted including for non-managerial staff and another workshop is due for the third quarter.
The CFO offices requested the National Treasury to do an in-depth workshop on irregular expenditure and the meaning of material issues. An emphasis is being put on consequence management as well, starting with an irregular report that has been submitted. A contract worker has been appointed by the Department whose responsibility is to do an analysis of the irregular expenditure, assess the materiality and to make a recommendation to the DG where it justifies intervention from a material point of view. The DG committed to the Committee that there will be consequence management following the analyses of the report has been.
The whole Department has been tasked in ensuring proper planning from the moment contracts were signed. In as much as the Department believes in local economic empowerment, the Department decided to stay away from using taxis because of the different AA taxi rates. However, if the Department is compelled to use taxis when bus services are not available, it will work in accordance with the Department of Transport and with the reputable taxis that are registered. The Department is currently working with a company that has been contracted by the Department in providing transport, this minimises the risk of using taxis.
The Department has drafted an audit improvement plan which was part of the deliverable for the second quarter in the APP. The Audit improvement plan is at the implementation stage. The plan will be served at ESCO and with the ANC for their endorsement. The governance calendar has been revised monthly; administration Committee will meet on a monthly basis in order to monitor the Audit improvement plan.
With regard to the issue of capacity building the ADMOC process has being noted. The AG has engaged with the DG of DPSA explaining the problems that the Department is facing by way of showing the findings of the AG and the DG agreed that the Department send a letter and make a special request to fill the post. The DG cautioned that there might be a CFO floating because of the emerging of Departments. The Department will need to discuss and negotiate internally on how to resolve the issue of hiring the right CFO.
The Department has one labour relation matter that is pending an appeal outcome from the Labour court. The decision taken at the disciplinary hearing, the former Acting DG and Minister did not support hence the decision was taken to the labour court for appeal. This matter is a demonstration that the Department is dealing with issues of consequence management around irregular expenditure.
The Department has not suffered any loss on wasteful expenditure. A detailed explanation of how the 2011/12 financial year unauthorised expenditure incurred. It incurred on compensation of employees, goods and services leave gratuities etcetera, which lead to unauthorised expenditure. It was not necessarily a loss but over spending of the budget.
The issue of total number of audits not resolved will be addressed through the Audit improvement plan.
The R29 million incurred, the two elements COB and goods and services. After the Department consulted with the AG and ARC, a letter was drafted for the DG of the National Treasury which goes to SCOPA, asking for the matter to be resolved. The pleas have been made and there have not been any replies. The Department feels it has done the right thing in escalating the matter.
Regarding LOGIS, the Department noted that LOGIS should have been used however it is an area that needs capacity because the segregation of duties is required for LOGIS to be implemented. Department will draft a letter to the National treasury requesting a sit down in order for the Department to share the challenges it’s facing on capacity and other issues. In instances that there are posts that are not filled, the Department will continue to put a business case to the National Treasury in order to close the gaps.
The Department is working hard as part of the medium-term strategic framework. There are two key deliverables on the Department’s part but the most important one is the country gender indicator framework that the Department is working on, including the M&E framework, gender-responsive planning, and budgeting because the Department has developed an implementation plan that will help the Department to ensure that mainstreaming happens across carting issues.
Once the Department has concluded the country gender indicator framework, it will be easy for the Department to hold each Department accountable. The Department has already extrapolated some of the gender responsive indicators from the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) document because it is still a document that is being consulted upon and still needs to be endorsed by cabinet as a final document. The Department cannot conclusively present the gender indicator framework. However, it is a step in the right direction that will assist the Department to monitor and do work as expected by the Committee.
The Department’s achievements
The Department highlighted their significant achievements. The Department performance has improved from 57% for 2017/2018 to 69% by the end of 2018/19 financial year; it has developed the gender-responsive planning, budgeting, monitoring, evaluation and auditing framework (GRPBMEA) which is widely welcomed and the Department is busy finalising the implementation framework. On the 9th of August 2019 the president announced that every performance agreement of the Minister’s and Deputy Minister’s will flow down to DGs will be making reference to issues of GRPBMEA. Linked to the GRPBMEA, the Department has made inputs to MTSF on several priorities to ensure that they are gender responsive.
The Department has a 25-year review report on women’s empowerment and gender quality in South Africa, a vacancy rate of less than 10% which is annually maintained, a Sanitary dignity framework which has been approved by Cabinet, allocations have been made to provinces and other provinces have issued tenders, and the Department has made an appeal to provinces that women be at the epicentre of procurement processes. The Department continues to build the capacity of women.
The achievements include awareness raising campaigns that have been held on women’s struggle heritage in South Africa; programmes aimed at uniting a wide range of stakeholders including those from civil society and non-governmental organisations supporting and successfully implementing the efforts to combat Gender-Based Violence.
The dialogues that the Department hosts assist the Department to have footprints on the ground to engage with community members in order to get a sense of what they are going through from their real experiences to inform policy and problematic interventions to avoid using only desk talk information.
The women’s financial inclusion framework has been developed and the diagnostic review report on the National Gender Machinery and initiating the revival thereof was produced. The diagnostic review report assisted the Department on the NGM and to learn where the Department’s weakness lay. Based on the report the Department conducted their first NGM meeting where clear deliverables of what needed to be done going forward was discussed. The area that needs to be strengthened within the NGM is the Gender focal points which is an area that the Department is pursuing with the DPSA which is a portion of the bigger picture of the NGM. Once the Department has concluded the GFP issues from the Cabinet point of view, only then will the Department be able to provide feedback.
The Department highlighted the human resource management and commented on The National Machinery of Government (NMOG) as being an “elephant in the room”, but not a big one that cannot be resolved.
The Department did receive a financial report from the ARC and AG on how the Department is doing on financial matters.
The Department will provide a progress report against the action plan at the end of the next quarter.
Programme Financial Overview
Ms Desree Legwale, CFO, DWYPD, said that the final appropriation for 2019/19 financial year is R230.2 million and the actual expenditure as at 31 March 2019 amounts to R222.4 million which translates to 96.6% of total appropriation of the Department. The overall appropriation for the Department did not change from the appropriation during the M&E process.
Programme 1: Administration
The final appropriation for the programme is R89.9 million with actual expenditure of R88.1 million which translate to 98.1%. The under spending in this programme is attributable to vacant posts not being filled during the financial year, savings realised under communications as part of cost containment, funds that were earmarked for the procurement of servers. The procurement was delayed due to the validity of the SITA contract. That amount was earmarked to write off irrecoverable debts in accordance with the debt management policy of the Department. The qualifying debts could not be written off due to timing in terms of obtaining approval to the write-off. The debts will be written off in the 2019/20 financial year.
Programme 2: Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment
The final appropriation is R102.5 million for the programme with actual expenditure of 102.4 million which translate to 99.9%. The under spending of R126 000 was due to in-sourcing of the implementation of the Sanitary Dignity framework. The project was initially planned to be outsourced.
Programme 3: Policy, Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management
The adjusted appropriation is R31.9 million for the programme with actual expenditure of R21.9 million which translate to 84.1%. The programme under spent by R6 million against the final appropriation and the under spending was due to unspent funds for additional posts that were not filled and approved in the staff establishment of the Department during the financial year under review. There was a decision to appointment contract workers to assist the Department with the development of the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework because the Department could not secure the services of an external service provider due to poor responses from the market and funds that were reprioritised for the procurement of the ICT network server. However the appointment could not be concluded due to challenges experienced with the SITA contract.
The Department highlighted the overall financial performance as year-per economic classification.
Compensation of employees
The final appropriation is R83.8 million with actual expenditure of R78.2 million which translated to 93.3%. The under spending on CoE was due to unspent funds for additional posts that were not filled and approved in the staff establishment of the Department during the financial year under review.
The Department obtained an unqualified audit with findings and there was a decrease in irregular expenditure in comparison to previous financial years.
The Department did not have adequate human resource capacity at management level in Supply Chain Management which led to the unit operating with junior Officials assisted by the Director of Finance and the Chief Financial Officer. Critical posts in the financial management of the chief directorate remain vacant and there was poor planning of public participation campaigns which resulted in irregular expenditure and deviations.
Ms Val Mathobela, Chief Director: ODG, DWYPD, clarified the targets reported which were achieved and found not to have been achieved in the AG and ARC reports. When the financial year ended, the Department produced an Annual Performance Report which highlights performance indicators for the whole Department. The Department had a serious challenge on the evidence provided which was supposed to be signed by the Minister. When the AG engaged with the Department’s planning and reporting policy it was found that the plans were not properly approved by the executive authority and the Department needed to revise the APR.
The Chairperson’s question was based on the South African Development Community (SADC) report on the political participation of women in South Africa, on the category that stated that only 11 females are DGs out of the 44 National DGs. ‘How is the Department going to influence government to ensure that more women are appointed as DGs because 11 is a shortcoming’? ‘Why is it that there are so few women DGs’? ‘What is the Departments role in ensuring that other ministers are influenced in appointing women as DGs’?
Ms Tshabalala replied that the key role of the Department in partnership with the Commission of Employment Equity and the Department of Labour is critical because the Department seeks their enforcement reports from a compliance perspective on employment equity and how they empower women in certain positions. It is an input that the Department has made with the MTSF, if it does not find a strategic path in the MTSF then the Department will make it part of the Department’s operational plan for constant monitoring. The Department has a precedent for the numbers of how many man and women are employed. Those numbers cannot overpower the other. It is good if the numbers are 50/50 but the reality is that men overpower the number of women. The Department with the Minister is constantly advocating for more women to be appointed. The fact that the DG of the Department is a Commissioner at the Employment Equity Commission gives her the opportunity to influence the processes when the commission demands the reports from the Department.
The Chairperson said that this is an issue that interests the Committee and they will be monitoring. When the term of the Members of the Committee comes to an end and the numbers of women in government positions are low, the Committee will be judged and accused of not caring.
The Deputy Minister said that when Departments recruit for their DG, they put positions of Senior Management to the panel and usually there is a concentration of women at the Chief Directorate level and the DDG level. The Department will then give a total percentage in terms of Senior Management which will be high because most Senior Management are women. The Department then uses that percentage to justify a DG who is a man. When the Minister reports to Cabinet and asks for endorsement, the Cabinet sees the DG as a minority because of the large number of women in Senior Management positions. People have a way of managing the system in such a way that it cannot be easily faltered.
The Department needs to look at capacity building of women who enter the system so that they will have the confidence to apply for the DG positions because in most instances most women do not even submit applications for the top positions. A clear strategy needs to be presented in a way that is acceptable throughout the system because even in Departments that had a Minister who was a woman does not guarantee that a woman will be a DG.
Ms Annette Griessel, Deputy Director General: Policy, DWYPD, said that the 25-year review report on women’s empowerment and gender equality was historical data or a representation of the issue of women in SMS. At the SMS level there has been an improvement since 2009 up until December 2018. If the back trend continues, only by 2027 will the Department be depurating. Part of what needs to happen at the SMS level is succession planning and recruitment. There is no clarity when recruiting not to mention the lack in number of women for a particular post in order to give preference to female applicants. If there are no women in SMS then the issue of women rising up to DG positions is affected.
The Department has developed what is called a Gender Equality Empowerment Policy Priority 2019/2024, and many of these policies will be in the MTSF and the high level of government as well. The Department is developing a more detailed document on gender policy priorities; a draft form is already in place. On the issue of the implementation of women in all government structures, the DPSA should also be promoting the mechanisms to ensure that the implementation of women in government structures takes place. The Performance Agreements signed by the Minister should include the employment equity in the public service at all levels.
Ms Masiko said that it is a problem that can be noted across government Departments as well and the Committee should deliberate on the issue when the Committee is doing its contributions and resolutions because the public sector on its own is not curable. The Committee should attempt to touch base in the private sector as well when making its contribution.
The Chairperson said that the Committee will work according to what Ms Masiko said because it is in the report. When an issue is in the report then it needs to be dealt with because the Department of Women must monitor all Departments, even the Provincial Departments on how it is appointing HODs, Municipal Managers etcetera as it is one of the Department’s responsibilities.
Ms Sharif asked what the Department has planned for Pride Month. She suggested if within Parliament a pride flag can be flown. In programme 2, only one out of five targets was achieved and it was a diagnostic report. It seems that the Department is able to meet targets when it simply has to write reports, draft frameworks and look at research project, but when it comes to implementation the Department falls flat. She sometimes feels like the Department is an island out in the sea that has no connection to what is happening on the ground because what they do does not translate into assisting anyone. This is problematic.
One out of the five targets was achieved but 99.4% of the money is spent. She asked where the money spent was if one target was achieved? ‘’Why was R4 million moved from Programme two to Programme one’? The Sanitary Dignitary Programme‘s framework has been in draft for four years and she was happy that it was finally completed. ‘How much money was spent in developing the framework’? ‘Who is responsible for rolling out the project’? ‘Who delivers the services of sanitary in the Department and who pays the bill for service delivery’? ‘What is the cost of implementation of the programme because the Department spoke about in-sourcing’? The answer must include cost for procurement and distribution. ‘The National Treasury says that the pilot should be done and rolled out nationally, when will that happen’?
‘When will the Women’s Financial Inclusion Framework - now that it has been developed and approved by Cabinet - be implemented’?
In terms of gender-based violence and Femicide, Ms Sharif said that she will continue to speak about it as she is representing a constituency of women and those who do not conform and face violence every day. The Department has spent time and money on hosting dialogues and taking into consideration what the DG said about why it’s important to host the dialogues and she understands. For example, the LGBTIQ circled a “nothing for us without us”. However, what has been the outcome of the dialogues and what has been the direct impact on the ground. South African women and those who do not conform are tired of pop-up events that the Department hosts. People need action. ‘What actual impact does the ‘365 days plan of action’ have on the young’? South African women have not felt any impact thus far. ‘What has the Department achieved in terms of Gender Based-Violence and Femicide’? She asked for a list from the Department.
‘Who is responsible for the National Strategic Plan (NSP)’? ‘If it is the Department when will the NSP be concluded and implemented’? ‘Where does the budget for the NSP and for National Council come from? How much has already been spent’? ‘What is the overall budget for the NSP and the National Council on GBV’? ‘What is the relationship between the Department and the interim steering committee other than the Minister being a co-chair’? ‘What other mandate falls within the Department when it comes to the NSP and National Council on GBV’? ‘Why does the Department have no targets for the NSP to monitor and evaluate the progress of NSP’?
‘In terms of Programme three, after five years, why has the Department not implemented Gender Responsive Budget planning’? There is no clarity on the GRPBMEA. The Presentation reported that the framework has been completed, when will the framework be implemented and how does the Department plan to monitor and evaluate the programme.
She asked the Department about the monitoring and evaluation report on “always keeping girls in school”. Always keeping girls in school is a programme that is headed by the NPO. ‘Why does the Department feel the need to spend limited money on the evaluation of the programme that is run by the NPO’? If the Department is going to choose one NPO, it might as well choose to monitor all the NPOs and spend the Departments money. ‘How much did the Department spend on evaluating the “always keeping girls in school” programme’? ‘What is the link between the Women Financial Inclusion Framework and the Young Women Empowerment Framework, how do the two meet with the NYBF? How is Department working with the NYBF’?
Ms Tshabalala replied to the question of who is responsible for the GBVF. Post the Summit, the President endorsed the resolutions arising from the Summit one of which was that a Council had to be established. Since a council cannot be immediately formed, there was an agreement to use a recurring steering Committee that will be starting with the building blocks while the Council is being established. The Interim Steering Committee comprises of representation from government and civil society so there is a clear balance. All government Departments are represented including key civil society opposition who among themselves agreed on the representatives. The Committee is co-chaired. The one chair is from the Presidency and the other chair is from the civil society. Whatever comes out of the steering Committee there will be no blame placed that the government failed to do something because it was everyone working together. Some of the key deliverables of the Committee was to produce a National Strategic Plan (NSP) which should be concluded by the 30th of October 2019.
Whilst the Department was working on the bigger NSP, it was faced with a spate of violence and there was state announcement from the President to create an Emergency Action Plan which is more than an emergency response action plan. The Department has drafted the plan and costed it.
The Department subsequently went with National Treasury, and the first thing that the National Treasury did was write to all the affected Departments to identify funds within their budgets that will be used immediately to fast track the implementation of the Emergency Action Plan. So far the Departments identified approximately an amount of R1.6 billion on their baseline spending that the Departments consider relevant for GBVF which was more than what was pronounced.
There is still further reprioritisation that is on-going. There are fiduciary processes that must happen before transferring the money around the MTBPS process towards the budget adjustment period where the actual shift will be done. For example, if social development decides to give a certain amount from their reprioritisation, then the steering committee will make an informed decision on where the money must go.
The key to the plan is access to justice, response care and support, changing norms and standards, prevention and communication throughout the whole year. These are the areas the Department would like to succeed on. The Emergency Action Plan is already starting to have an impact by attracting the media through SABC which is already on board, and stories are being written that are beginning to mention GBV related matters.
The relationship between the Department and the steering Committee is that some of the Department employees are members of the Interim Steering Committee. The Department is there to provide strategic guidance and leadership for the gender perspective on every decision that is made and the processes that are followed.
The Department will have the targets clearly outlined in the bigger NSP. For the Emergency Response Action Plan, the Department has gone further and developed an M&E framework which has clear targets and timeline indicators which will be monitored by the DPME on how the Department is fairing in the period of six months with the pronouncements that have been made.
The Department has responded adequately to the issue of GBV and will take it further through the National Gender Missionary (NGM) that has been revived to make sure that the Council once established will feed into the NGM in order to be a sub linkage in the reporting cycle.
The Department will be tabling its Cabinet memo as soon as the big picture of the NSP has been achieved, however the consultation session will still continue as key to the consultations with issues of traditional leaders. The Department has seen issues of GBV arising from non-sector bodies.
Ms Sharif asked where in government do the Council and the NSP fall. ‘Does it fall under the DWYPD or does it fall under the Presidents Department’? ‘Who in government is responsible’? ‘Who does the Committee hold accountable’?
Ms Tshabalala replied that when the Department presents to Cabinet, the Department will make recommendations, but ideally it should be allocated to the DWYPD including the Council. However, once the Department is done in presenting to Cabinet, the Ministers will advise and debate in order to endorse how and where it should be allocated.
The Deputy Minister said that the Summit was hosted by the President. The President decided to be the leader of the initiation of the process hence the Special Adviser Of Social Development become a Co-chair and the other chair was from the civil society organisations that had presented to the President. Logically when the Department was appointed, it would have been expected that the Department would take over, however the Department agreed that this was a strategic positioning of the issue because it calls for responses from critical Departments across government. The idea of the President remaining or seen as the chair will allow the Department better compliance. The consultation phase is about creating social impact between government and civil society and it is not always easy for a line-function Minister to get compliance from peers hence for most projects in the health sector the MHI had to go back to the President with the Minister of Health providing the Secretariat. The Department is providing a secretariat role because of the rich and historical information that the Department has had over the years which is why the Department has not been reporting on the process.
In terms of the end product, it is fair for the Department to proceed in a slow pace because the intensive consultation allows many voices to add value so that whatever position is taken at the end is endorsed by different people.
Unfortunately, there is a process to follow while there is a call from the public that’s looking at the budget of the DWYPD. Which is why there was a process at a high level to look at the resources across government departments that are earmarked for this purpose, and the Department is allowing that process to happen. The acting DG gets regular feedback from the National treasury regarding the status. When looking at key areas there is a determination where people might come and say to the Department to increase the numbers of police officers, magistrates, and training on the criminal justice system to ensure that they are equipped and strong. People might ask for expansion on the Thuthuzela Centres and Sexual Offences Court. It is a good thing that the matter is at the presidency level and that issues are continuously being flagged including the budget aspects. The determination will allow the Department to have a clear area of understanding on how much the Department will go in the value chain regarding what needs to be done to assist the survivors and those taking their matters to court. It is an intense process and the Committee will be briefed fully as soon as the matter has been handed fully to the Department.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would like to be briefed. When looking at the APP, the Justice Department has already allocated money for sexual offences. Departments have been requested by the President to contribute. ‘Has the Department contributed towards the R1.1 billion’? She asked for clarity as to where the money will be coming from and how it will be distributed.
Ms Tshabalala replied that the principle of reprioritisation is key in government when there is an issue that requires money. There is no money elsewhere waiting to be reimbursed, allocation has been done and budget votes have been supported. However Departments reprioritise and identify savings. Those savings will then be redirected to whatever project or programme needs money. This exercise is good because in the reprioritisation should there be additional funding after all the Departments have reprioritised, that additional amount will be redirected to other urgent projects because it is money earmarked as a savings. Accounting Officers are able to make decisions that will help the Department save money.
The Department will look into pride month and notify the Committee what the Department has decided.
Ms Griessel replied about the GRPBMEA. She apologised about the long acronym but it is important for the content perspective. She said that the Department is looking forward to the chance to report on the entire GRPBMEA framework to the Committee and Multiparty Women’s Committee which specifically requested the report.
In the presentation, the history of Gender Responsive Budgeting dates back to 1995 and there have been sporadic efforts with the Department of justice, Gauteng and the Western Cape etcetera to implement Gender Responsive Budgeting. Many of them have collapsed and an analysis of why is shown in the presentation. However, in a nutshell one of the reasons for the collapse is that attention tends to be placed on one Department or one individual champion and when that person leaves the whole thing collapses.
In 2018/19 the Department did a shift from Gender Responsive Budgeting and the Department said that there must be Gender Responsive Policy. The Gender Responsive Policy must be the starting point which will be discussed every day. Then those needs would have to be translated into plans. The GBV has a good example of what is being discussed. The Department can have many ideas, a policy on GBV etcetera but if there is not a clear programme design, budget and plans on what the budget will be used for, productive management etcetera, the Department will not achieve its development outcomes. The Gender Responsive Budget Planning is being implemented.
The Department developed a draft and presented it to the Government Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Forum which is chaired by the DPME which includes strategic planning, monitoring evaluation of the whole national government departments, provincial governments, municipalities and civil society representatives. That was an important initial consultation and had commission where a lot of feedback was provided.
Another milestone was the Gender Responsive Budgeting Summit at the end of November which was attended amongst others, by civil society and government. What was also useful was that there were delegations from other African countries, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Kenya. Some of the delegates asked the Department why it was at that point. Uganda delegates said that they learned from the Department and Uganda has one of the best systems with their equity commission which is like the CGE.
The Speaker can send it back to the Minister of Finance if they have not included gender sufficiently in their framework. Cabinet adopted the framework the end of March; the framework included the overall approach and a detailed implementation plan. For 2018/19 unlike 1995 and the end of 2001, South Africa currently has a well-developed planning, monitoring and evaluation system and budgeting system but there is room for growth in terms of developmental impact.
The Department decided that the first thing it must do is to ensure that every single instrument and system relating to planning, monitoring and budgeting must be gender responsive. The presentation highlights each of the systems. The Acting DG spoke about the MTSF which is very critical. The Department has been working on getting gender, impact, outcomes, targets, and baseline indicators in each of the seven priority areas. There are gender indicators in the MTSF. The Department said that the provincial evaluation plans, national evaluation plans and Departmental evaluation plans must be gender responsive. National evaluation plans must have programmes on empowering women and gender equality. Any evaluation should include questions relating to women. The Chairperson asked if the Departments were busy implementing it and if so then why was it busy with guidelines.
Ms Griessel replied that the Department made an input to the DPME framework of strategic planning and the APPs. The DPME informed the DWYPD that other Departments are asking for more explanations. For example, in the PFMA, the National Treasury will still do regulations that will demonstrate how certain aspects must be implemented. Therefore, the guidelines are there to assist the Department to do capacity building.
The Chairperson said that Ms Griessel’s explanation is confusing her. She said that she was under the impression that the Treasury made guidelines that tell the Departments how it must allocate resources etc. The Department is busy developing frameworks, guidelines and other things. She asked Ms Griessel to stick to answering the questions asked by the Members.
It was unfortunate that the Department was not present in the previous meeting when CGE was presenting on how it does monitoring and evaluations. The Department would understand the mind-set the Committee is moving towards because the Committee would like the Department to engage with the CGE to learn its tools of monitoring and evaluating as it will assist the Department. The Department is currently putting the Committee in a situation where it has to probe with more questions. Sometimes the Department must acknowledge where their weaknesses are and how the situation will improve so that the Committee will not feel like its authority is being undermined.
The Chairperson asked the Department to stick to answering the questions raised by the Members.
Dr Nontsikelelo Manzini-Matebula, Deputy Director-General: Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment, DWYPD, said that in October 2017, the Department presented the framework to Cabinet where the Department was advised to revise the framework. The Department needed to revise renaming the policy as an implementation framework instead of a policy, include existing policy work on sexual and reproductive health together with sanitary dignity, develop a plan to test the authenticity of the policy by government before its rolled out and it needed to be in three rural provinces which was the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. The Department had to make sure it become a funded mandate because the Department could not pilot it without being funded and needed to implement it incrementally. Cabinet also had advised the Department to engage with the private sector particularly businesses that manufactured and supplied sanitary towels and cosmetics on how it can contribute by selling the products at an affordable price. The Department needed to look at the entire value system and include alternative sanitary dignity products and consider zero vat on sanitary towels to increase affordability. Cabinet advised the Department to come back after consultations to provide it with a report and with financial implications with the National Treasury. Based on these recommendations to revise the framework, the Department spent 2018/19 undertaking research and looking into the design and the budget. The Department’s focus was three schools for 2018/19. The Department submitted its proposal to National Treasury for funding.
The ‘Keeping Girls at School’ programme was one of the models the Department was considering because it was already being implemented in other provinces like Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, which is why the Department undertook the evaluation because the Department wanted to inform the design of the pilot.
The framework was undertaken by events because the Department needed to implement effectively from the 1st of April 2019 which was why the framework was not finalised by the time the implementation started. The Department had to fast-track it and the challenges the Department was having with provinces was that the province was required to implement the framework but the framework was not finalised. The idea for 2019/20 was to pilot the framework and then submit it to Cabinet for approval however that did not happen.
The framework has been approved by Cabinet but it goes back to the implementation stage. In January 2019 the Department presented to provincial treasuries on how it wanted the framework to be implemented, but the HODs from the provincial treasuries said that it already has existing models on the ground so the Department was to align the framework to the provincial treasuries existing programmes which has been nightmare. With that said, one of the challenges the Department is facing is that the letter that the National Treasury sent to provinces indicates that provinces need to align their programmes to the sanitary dignitary framework but because the framework was yet to be approved by Cabinet and the money not coming directly from the DWYPD, provinces were not linking their programmes to the Department. The Department struggled in trying to enforce the framework on provinces. Recently the Department has written to the HODs and DGs. There are two Departments that are implementing namely Social Development and Basic Education. The Department has developed a monitoring framework and had capacity building workshops but still provinces are not adhering to the framework. In some instances the Department’s Minister has had to write a letter to the Premiers stating that it was not aligning with the framework particularly in terms of involving women, youth and persons with disabilities.
The Chairperson mentioned Limpopo.
Dr Manzini-Mathebula said yes. The Department with Limpopo first focused on Officials by giving samples of the bids that spoke to procurement. The framework is clear on how procurement should be done but provinces are doing their own thing. The Department analysed the bid and highlighted that the evaluation criteria excluded women and needed a large amount of money and a manufacturing plant. The Department spoke to the officials about it and the officials did not do anything. The Department had to write to the DG of the province, and HOD of the Department of Education, and still the Department did not receive a response. The Minister then had to write to the Premier which also was not response to.
When the Department spoke to the Official, the Official informed the Department that it had done everything above board from an SCM perspective. The Department replied that from a sanitary dignitary framework the official had not done everything because the women, youth and persons with disabilities were not included. On the 8th of October 2019 the Department received a phone call from the Premier’s office asking the Department what it had done about the Limpopo bid. The Department had replied that that it was still waiting for the response from the Premier regarding the letter that the Department had written.
The Department has indicated to the National Treasury the challenges it was facing, the biggest challenge being that the funds are earmarked and it is not a Conditional Grant. The Department had advised the National Treasury that it must be a Conditional Grant.
The Department has a quarterly report to share with the Committee on what is happening with the Sanitary Dignitary Framework. The Department said that the one of the biggest challenges of the framework is that it was not piloted. The Western Cape has taken a different turn, it decided to pilot before having a national rollout.
The Chairperson said that after all the explanations given, what is the Department’s solution’?
Dr Manzini-Matebula replied that now that Cabinet has approved the framework, the Department will request to present it to all provincial executives because some of the problems on the ground are coming from the provincial authorities because provinces sometimes state that it does not answer to the Department but to its Principals. The Department’s strategy is to ensure a buy-in from the provinces
Ms Sharif asked how much provinces were given to distribute.
Dr Manzini-Matebula replied that provinces were given R157 million. For 2019/20, allocation for the Eastern Cape was R23 million, Free State R15 million, Gauteng R18 million (Gauteng allocated R52 million from its own pocket) KwaZulu-Natal R27 million, Limpopo R21 million, Mpumalanga R16 million, Northern Cape R10.5 million, North West R14.9 million and Western Cape R11.2 million. The Western Cape, Gauteng and Free State will also have allocations from their Provincial Treasury.
Ms Sharif asked if the amounts are for procurement.
Dr Manzini-Matebula replied it is for procurement and distribution.
Ms Tshabalala said that she believes that the Department has covered the issues extensively. She also replied that the impact of the dialogue is meaningful engagements with young man and young women as the issues affect the whole of society and it is about empowering young man and women regarding Gender Based Violence and gender equality. That is where dialogues begin to change norms and behaviour. During the dialogues various speakers are invited to present and then there is participation with the public. The dialogues about community orientated solutions are based on lived experience that informs planning and budgeting as mentioned earlier. Lastly it is about enhanced community involvement in GBVF because it is a societal problem that is led by the Department in taking the support from civil society. Some of the proposal civil society make are things do not require money but it is a social coercion issue, issues that relate to Priority number three of government around safer communities. During the dialogues practical solutions are being raised like walking with someone when its dark and that does not require money. It is like a ‘take charge’ campaign on society’s side regarding these issues. The Department provides technical assistance to Departments in order for the Departments to take up the issues.
Chairperson said that after listening to the challenges the Department is facing it comes down to the Sanitary Dignitary Framework and GBV. She suggested that the Department must not distribute it if it is not sure who must do what and how it must be utilised. She commented that Ms Khawula had informed her that the province of KwaZulu-Natal had advised the Department on the issue of sanitary towels. Now the Department does not have control over provinces. She expressed that this issue is nonsensical and it is damage that has already happened and the Department does not know how to deal with it. A solution must be found before other provinces deal with this issue. She emphasised that the Department has to find a solution.
Ms Sharif asked where the R157 million was coming from because it is not in the Department’s budget. ‘Who is overseeing the distribution of the money to the different provinces’?
Dr Manzini-Matebula replied that the National Treasury sent the money to the Provincial Treasuries who then distributed it to the various departments, either to the Department Social Development or the Department of Basic Education. That is why the Department does not have control of the money.
The Deputy Minister said that the fact that things went off track must be noted mainly because the Department was either slow or did not have capacity to produce a clear directive as to how the money should have been spent and the criteria. These were all the things a line function Department has to do once money has been allocated. The National Treasury must have been under pressure to take the money out of its books and thought the best way was to distribute the money to provinces. The way government functions one has to be cautious when defending a particular policy guideline. Sometimes quiet diplomacy does not work well in government because other people will misuse the money. The Department has learned a lesson from this problem. With the anticipated hope for R1 billion, it is not yet clear whether any money will be allocated to any Department or if there will be a criterion for the usage of the money whether towards prevention and Thuthuzela Centre and so forth. The Department will have to ensure that it develops a clear policy and guidelines, address them through Cabinet and mobilise the support of the Portfolio Committee. All these things are happening because the Department has not had a discussion on capacity because without the capacity objectives will not be achieved especially when it comes to strategic issues where cooperating with other Departments or provinces that are well resourced is concerned. The acting DG has to be stubborn and consistent in pushing the manufacturing line that will add value throughout the value chain. If the Department defends, monitors and fight for the manufacturing line that the DG started then the Department will bring the matter back on track. The Department needs to put pressure on the Premiers not to ignore something that has been accepted by Cabinet. The Department just needs capacity in order to keep monitoring.
Ms Tshabalala said that the framework was approved by the Cabinet. The framework has been shared to provinces and the Department will compel the provinces to comply with it. The Provincial Treasuries will deal with the monitoring of the funds as they received the funds. The Department will also receive the reports that are submitted to the Provincial Treasury in order for the Department to do its own analysis and provide strategic guidance and leadership.
Ms Shariff reminded the Department failed to respond to her question of where programme two money was spent if one out of five targets was achieved. The report states that 99.4% of the budget was spent, where did the money go when the Department did not achieve the majority of the target.
Ms Tshabalala replied that earlier she had explained that all the work has been done. The Department has done everything in accordance with the DPP, the only issue was when the matter that the programme was not signed by the required personal become a ‘no achieved’ matter. The work has been done; women were empowered. The Department did everything other than having the paperwork signed off.
The Department is propagating the money now that the framework has been allocated a conditional grand in order to avoid a situation where anyone can use the money for purposes other than for sanitary towels. The Department noted that the value chain and the first part of empowerment on the value chain has been done when the Department visited the Western Cape.
The Chairperson said that that will help the Department to avoid paying salaries with the money allocated for sanitary towels.
Mr Ngcobo said that the Auditor-General noted a number of non-compliance areas in the Department. The Department failed to come up with steps to prevent irregular, wastefulness and fruitless expenditure. The other concern raised by the AG was that the Quarterly Report was not submitted to the executive authority as was required by Treasury regulation 3.1.13. Despite the failures to comply with the regulations and prospects of the PFMA, the Department still decided to issue performance awards to some of its employees. ‘What is the Department awarding’? ‘Given the poor performance in Programme 2 and given the AGs findings of Supply Chain Management, irregular, wastefulness and fruitless expenditure who were the individuals that received the awards’?
The Chairperson noted that the presentation shows that part of the Department delegation were Members of Parliament, she asked if they were under the Department.
Ms Tshabalala replied that the Department included those for which the Department incurred financial cost.
Ms A Hlongo (ANC) asked why the Department struggled to produce a complete Annual Financial Statement for the ARC from Programme one. From Programme two, what besides the national rollout of the sanitary dignitary framework - with intervention - did the Department focus on in meeting strategic targets for social participation and empowerment? ‘Why did the Department take a year to consult on the Country Gender Indicator Framework? ‘What will guide the Department in the collection of data, monitoring and evaluation of the country’s compliance to treaties in the interim’?
Ms Mgweba’s question was based on the findings of the AG report. On procurement and contract management, there is an issue of goods and services with a transaction that are shown on the presentation as R500 000 procured without retaining the required price quotations as required by Treasury regulations. ‘What happened there’? ‘What is the Department doing to ensure government officials adhere to the supply chain management policies and procedures’? ‘How is the Department justifying giving people performance awards and why’? The presentation states that the Department makes use of consultants but employees are being given commendations.
‘Why has the draft information, communication, and Technology Business Continuity Plan not yet been approved by the Department’? The National Development Plan (NDP) in terms of the presentation is not clearly indicating the attainment of the Department’s current 21 targets achieved for 2018/19. ‘Why is this not clearly indicated’?
Ms Masiko asked for clarity on the explanations that the Committee is receiving for non-achievement, AG auditing and the documents that required signatures. Her understanding is that for every piece of performance information the Department should have description manuals that will state what needs to be done in order for a target to be achieved. ‘What does the Department’s description manual say about targets that have not been achieved’? ‘Does it indicate that the document must be signed by the Executive Authority’? When the auditor audits, it will follow what the description manual says and what the Department presents. She asked for clarity in this regard.
‘If there was wrongdoing regarding incorrectly employing someone, what is the consequence around that and who approved the employment of the individual’? ‘Under which programme did the wrongdoing take place’?
In terms of the revised draft for Sanitary Dignitary and Implementation- one must echo the sentiments of the resolutions passed by the Committee in the previous meeting that the Committee needs to urgently undertake oversight on the Department’s programmes because it is clear that the Department has pulled the cart before the horse and the programme is underway in provinces whether the money is there or not. For example, in KwaZulu-Natal when the programme was implemented outside the framework it presented a number of challenges, the SADTU indicated that the programme was not implemented correctly, a huge batch of sanitary towels was delivered to primary schools instead of high schools were the need is greater. There have been a number of challenges found in programme.
‘When the Department started with the development of the framework, did the Department go to provinces where the programme has already been implemented like for example in KZN’?
‘Did the Department consider implementation that happened without the framework when it developed the framework’? ‘How much did the Department spend in developing the framework’? ‘With the amount that the National Treasury allocated for the sanitary dignitary programme, how much has the Department committed for the programme for the next five years’?
‘When is the Department planning to address the Sanitary Dignitary Programme in tertiary institutions’? There is under spending in the previous financial year of R126 000 under Programme two, and the reason given is that the under spending is due to in sourcing of the implementation of the Sanitary Dignitary Framework. ‘What does the Department mean by in-sourcing of implementation’? In her understanding officials are employed by the Department from a chief director level as well as the support staff under the programmes with the responsibility of developing the programmes. ‘What does the Department mean by the term in-sourcing’?
She agreed with the Chairperson with the question raised regarding performance awards. Performance bonus/awards are usually given on the basis of achievements, the scoring is based on that. A performance bonus in the public sector is something that is very difficult to get, one has to motivate, and provide a portfolio evidence of performance. ‘How did the Department end up giving performance bonuses in programmes that have under achieved’?
The Chairperson said that the Committee is interested in the progress regarding the ICT issue. The chairperson of ARC tried to provide an answer however did not have a detailed answer in terms of this and this question is a priority for the Committee.
Ms Tshabalala replied that the performance bonus was for 2017/18 up until 2019. The performance still needs to be assessed in terms of whether people performed or not.
The tertiary students are currently receiving R275 per month to empower them to use the money as a personal allowance. It has been earmarked.
In terms of the question of how much has been committed for the next five years, she replied that the National Treasury has made an allocation which will soon be done in writing. The Department is still waiting for the actual amount from the National Treasury.
The spending that was done in Programme two was mainly to compensate employees.
Ms Tshabalala raised a concern to the Committee that the Department is structured differently compared to other Departments. The Department does not have a Chief Directory, but just a Directory. The Department has two people, Dr Manzini-Matebula and Mr Matshoba who is the Director and the other employees are Support Staff. The two people are expected to service the country. Dr Manzini-Matebula is expected to do all the strategic work she is responsible for as an Accounting Officer in HR financing, deliverables etcetera. She commented that this practice is not suitable for strong mental health. Nonetheless, tasks are executed.
The Chairperson said that Ms Tshabalala should have raised the issue of being short staffed to the ARC in order for the ARC to put it into their recommendation because the Committee does not know how the Department is structured, the Committee only asks questions on what it is being given. She said that it was right for Ms Tshabalala to raise it because the Committee will be able to make recommendations.
Ms Tshabalala said that recommendations would be appreciated by the Department because it is applicable to the governance programme which deals with Gender-Based Violence, especially now with the hype around GBVF. The workload is getting more intense. The GBVF has taken so much of the Departments time that it finds itself thinly stretched; however under those circumstances the Department is striving to achieve everything.
When the Sanitary Dignitary Framework was developed it was meant to come up with norms and minimum standards in order for provinces to be guided and to operate on the same level. The Department has learned something from other provinces, Gauteng being one of them. The Department is using the Officials when visiting the some of the provinces to benchmark and for provinces to share their experiences.
The Department can no longer debate the issue of the money as to whether it should have been given to the Department or not. The Department immediately regrouped and discussed how it will provide guidance to the provinces. The Department took the initiative to work with the provinces including the DTI and the Department of Economic Empowerment to send guidelines and the relevant prescripts that the provinces can refer to when dealing with disbursement. The Department will hold an account regarding the M&E Framework in order for provinces not to deviate and if there are deviations, the Department will report them accordingly.
The Department did make a request to the National Treasury that when allocating the money; it should be allocated to one Department. However the Department does not have control over those decisions. Provinces have their own Premiers who allocate the responsibility where they deem fit, however this makes things difficult because if the Minister were to pursue the money, she will have to liaise with the management of the Departments of Social development and of Basic Education, and sometimes the Departments will not even meet with each other. The Department will continue to advocate that the programme be standardised with either of the two departments.
She replied that the secretary was employed by the Minister’s office. There was the issue that arose around the issue of approval. In her understanding the approval was equally delegated to the Chief of Staff and the Acting DG. The Chief of Staff authorised the appointment however it was later discovered that the DG did not approve. Before any appointment currently everything must be endorsed by the Acting DG or the DG supported by HR. The appointments the Department have made are clear and the Department will not deviate from the processes dealing with employment.
When the Department realised that it was facing some challenges with regard to ICT, the Department appointed a chairperson who is from another Department and who was also an expert. The Department requested the individual to come up with a schedule of meetings. This person had to be given the reports on the audit findings in order to start working and following through on the deliverables. These deliverables had to feed into the report that would go to MANCO to be reported by the senior person that reported to MANCO. This is how the Department has tried to solve the ICT matter.
The Chairperson said the reason why Members asked about why performance bonuses were paid was because looking at the 2017/18 financial year, performance was at 59%. It is bad that people who performed at 59% were awarded performance bonuses.
Ms Tshabalala replied that the bonuses were meant for level one to 12 and not SMS members. The bonuses are informed by the portfolio parameters. If an employee reported that she/he had two KPAs, one had to produce the APP and the other had to produce a framework. The employee signed a document providing proof with the portfolio. If the employee showed what he/she has done what was not within her/his scope of work and say they were in disservice and provided evidence thereof to the Department, the Department would then debate and decide whether to make the endorsement. The bonuses as mentioned earlier are for 2017/18. The Department will provide the names of the people who received the performance bonus.
Ms Legwale replied that the Department struggled to produce financial statements on time due to capacity issues that exist in the office of the CFO. During the preparation of the financial statement the CFO office had to ensure that the day to day operation of the Department was attended to. The Department did meet the timeline as outlined in the PFMA, the only challenge being that the ARC did not have adequate time to review the financial statement. Hence there was a special ARC meeting which was done through a teleconference for the ARC to give final inputs to the financial statement.
On the R500 000 that led to irregularities, most of the transaction emanated outside the Supply Chain Management framework however those that were as a result of the SCM were linked to process issues. The Department has conducted a doctrine on the SCM Officials especially around the allocation of BBBEE. The Department did a thorough verification from the service providers as to find out when the Department procured commodities that required service providers to disclose their local content for designated sectors. To date, the Department has not procured such transactions, however when a need arises the Department will do due diligence before orders are issued to service providers.
Around the issue of in-sourcing, the Department had initially planned to appoint an external service provider to undertake the work. Because of the poor responses received from the market on the RFQ issued, the Department made the decision to appoint contract workers to assist in the development of the framework, hence there was under spending under goods and services. The budget that was earmarked for the payment of a service provider is in goods and services. The contract workers were paid from the Compensation of Employment budget of the Department.
Ms Griessel replied on the Country Gender Framework. The Country Gender Framework was developed last year and is directly linked to the GRPBMEA framework. It is the content of what goes into all the planning of budgeting instruments. The Department did develop a Country Gender Framework last year which was aligned to the 14 outcomes. The Department is realigning the framework with the seven priorities of the new administration. The acting DG indicated earlier that this would be finalised once the MTSF was finalised. It is due to the new eventual mandate with the new priorities of government. There is a lot of consultation that needs to happen before setting up indicators for different Departments.
The Chairperson commented on the Always Keeping Girls in School (AKGIS) campaign. The Department worked in partnership with an NPO in dealing with the AKGIS programme. ‘Did the Department get value for money’?
Dr Manzini- Matebula replied that earlier she had alluded to the work that the Department has conducted in the provinces. The AKGIS programme had to be evaluated because it was one of the models the Department was looking at in order to adapt and have a national model for the implementation of the Sanitary Dignitary Framework. The Department did get value for money.
The Chairperson said that Facebook states that AKGIS has been inactive for the past 11 months.
Dr Manzini-Matebula replied that partly it could be because of the national programme. The AKGIS campaign was also implemented in quintiles in one to three schools and it received resources from Proctor & Gamble. The Department has not checked whether the schools that were receiving sanitary pads from Footprints Foundations were still receiving them. One of the things that the Department is looking at is advising provinces to check that the schools it selects were not funded by the Imbuba Foundation.
Ms Griessel said that there was value for money because of M&E working together on the Sanitary Dignitary Framework. The full evaluation report used the standard evaluation methodology and it was done in-house. The Department did not spent money on the actual evaluation.
On the issue raised as to why the Department was doing an NPO, she replied that it is implemented in partnership with the Departments of Basic Education and Health and the provinces. It was critical for the Department before launching any model on sanitary dignitary to take into account the existing models and learn from them as to what works and what does not. The issue of a monitoring system at the site level where implementation takes place was a key finding of the evaluation that directly informs how the Sanitary Dignitary Campaign will run.
As the programme is being rolled out, the Department will be able to say if the framework increases attendance at schools and the education outcomes for girls. In order for the Department to provide the evidence it needs the monitoring system.
Dr Manzini- Matebula replied that the Department’s role in terms of the Sanitary Dignity Implementation Framework (SDIF) is the development of norms and standards. The Department has been working with the in-sourcing agents, developing wash standards, sanitation and hygiene. The SDIF is not only about the pads but also the disposal system and waste management. One of the problems the Department is facing on the ground is the disposal of pads in schools. The Department is currently developing a WASH proposal in order to get funding to start looking into that. The funding from the National Treasury was only for procurement and distribution. The Department is now focusing on the disposal systems, if there are incinerators at schools and so forth. That is one element enabling the infrastructure, working with the Department of Public Works and the DBE. The Department is targeting girls from grade four to 12. Life Skills Education regarding puberty is offered from grade 7. Comprehensive education on sexuality comes with a lot of controversy however the Department is advising schools to produce pamphlets to give to the girls so that they can learn about menstruation and puberty.
The Department did develop implementation guidelines. As soon as the money was allocated to provinces, the Department sent the implementation guidelines to the provinces. Unfortunately the provinces ignored the guidelines,
The Department is working closely with the SA Bureau of Standards (SABS). One of the things that Cabinet asked the Department to look at was a product mix so that the Department does not only focus on sanitary pads but also looked at the Menstrual Cup, and other products that are reusable. The Department knew very little about those products.
The issue that the Department is facing is the standard. The standard that was developed and that was sent out for public comments in July is the work that it is done in collaboration with SABS, the Department of Women, the DTI and Small Business Development.
Local manufactures have been saying that their pads are SABS approved while no local product is SABS approved. The Department is busy auditing, visiting with SABS and the DTI has allocated money to help local manufacturers. There is a lot that is happening that is helping the SDP.
The Department also does advocacy and awareness raising and conducts workshops for best practice because provinces are at different stages. The Department wants the provinces to learn from each other. KwaZulu-Natal never had any M&E systems and there were a lot of gaps in their programme and the Department is working closely with the province to improve its programme.
Ms Masiko said that in her understanding the Department of Basic Education had said nothing about the Sanitary Dignity Programme (SDP) for Basic Education in provinces. ‘How does the Department expect the Department of Basic Education to implement the programme when it does not appear in their APP’? ‘How will the Committee keep the Department of Basic Education accountable if the plan is not in its APP’?
Ms Manzini-Mathebula replied that the Department of Basic Education has something that the Department calls Care, and Support for Teaching and Learning and the Integrated School Health Programme. This was where the SDP fits in even though it might not be called the SDP. One of the objectives of the framework is to be integrated into existing programmes and that is where the DBE needs to facilitate integration. The Departments of Basic Education in the provinces are currently integrating SDP into their existing programmes because it does have that programme as part of the Care and Support for Teaching and Learning programme.
Ms Masiko commented that the Department of Basic Education will get off with not doing anything and doing whatever it does incorrectly if the Department does not correctly capture the programme in the APPs.
Ms Manzini-Mathebula replied that what come up from the Department’s trustee meetings is that the DG wrote a letter to the Department of Basic Education as they have been attending the meetings because the provinces are not getting any information from the National Department but are getting the information from the regional Department. The comment raised is something that the Department will factor in in its conversation with the DG.
Mr Mphiti expressed how much he appreciated the Acting DG for being present while she is ill and wished her a speedy recovery.
He expressed his disappointment about the absence of the Minister and Deputy Minister. A discussion is underway regarding the report presented by the AG and this does not happen in other Committees. It is problematic having important discussions without the Minister and the Deputy Minister who just walked out of the meeting without informing the Committee.
The Chairperson replied that the Deputy Minister did inform the Committee at the beginning of the meeting that she will leave at 5 pm.
Mr Mphiti replied that the Deputy Minister made the request only to the Chairperson. He said that the Committee and Department must have the discussion but now no political head will be part of the discussions. He strongly expressed how problematic this was. The Committee was discussing the administration but ultimately the buck stops with the Minister and the Deputy Minister. The fact that the Minister attends the meeting for a short amount of time is not happening for the first time, it is something that continues to happen. He said that this is a problem and he doubts this type of action happens in other Committees. He said that he will inquire from his colleagues that are part of other Committees.
He asked the Chairperson to intervene in that regard on behalf of the Committee. The Committee Members take time to read through the documents as there is a lot of information contained in them in order to engage and ask critical questions to the Department. He asked the Chairperson to intervene.
He said that the Department has been speaking about capacity. The Committee had asked about the organogram and has not received it after four months of waiting. The Department is complaining about capacity, the Committee is unable to express that it understands without the organogram. How will the Committee understand that issue?
The structure of the Department will speak to the strategy. The Committee does not want to ask the Department to go beyond its means because if the Department has 24 employees within the administration for example and unable to meet targets that were set, that becomes problematic because the Committee is there to hold the Department to account. If the Department comes to the Committee to say that it is not possible to achieve its goals because of capacity, how does the Committee engage with that?
The frameworks that the Department puts together must be followed by other Departments when it comes to empowering women and to rolling out the Sanitary Dignity Programme. The Department is not implementing its own frameworks referring to internal controls, policies etcetera. The Department cannot pick and choose what to implement. It cannot expect other Departments to follow the frameworks while the DWYPD is not implementing/following its own frameworks.
He directed the question on consequence management to the Acting DG. There needs to be some form of discussion on issues that have been raised by the AG report and issues that have happened within the Department where investigations are still on-going. ‘Is the Department taking immediate measures in terms of consequence management’? The AG report stated that the Department has a problem enforcing consequence management because of the leadership in the Department. ‘What is the situation in the Department in terms of consequence management’?
In terms of performance awards, he said that he receives the answer provided but if it’s the 2017/18 year, the document goes to the line manager then to the accounting officer. If the issue is from 2017/18 the issue should have been resolved by now. He said that it is a simple management issue.
At what point does the Accounting Officer say that there is a problem within that financial year that resulted in seven deviations? The deviations are for catering, suppliers. In terms of the difference on what the AG and Department said in terms of the reports, the Committee must not get to a point that it questions the reports that it is provided with because when the Committee read the report, they expect the information to be accurate. It is a problem when a number of issues are being pointed out as contradictory. The Department reported that it has resolved all disciplinary cases, and the AG states that there is no evidence to support that.
The Department said the audit action plans were approved while it has not been approved. It was only approved in February 2019. This is another issue of contradiction.
The Committee will now start to question the report regarding its truthfulness.
The issue of capacity, while looking at the report on vacancies of the Department - it states that in the administration there are 54 posts filled and five that are unfilled.
He asked for clarity on when the Department says that capacity is an issue because it has used capacity as a justification for most of the issues raised. ‘How exactly is it an issue’?
The Department spoke about the Supply Chain Management Programme two not meeting its targets with internal controls not being implemented because of capacity issues. ‘To what point will the capacity issue be used to justify the failures of the Department’?
There needs to be a point where the Department is comfortable to say that it failed in achieving its goals and that it will improve. There is nothing wrong about admitting failure and saying that it will improve. This is why there is a relationship of accountability with the Committee. There must be a relationship of openness between the Department and Committee in order for the Department to feel comfortable to admit when it has failed at something instead of finding ways to justify the unjustifiable.
The Committee Members must also encourage the Department when it has done well and not always berate the Department and making them feel defeated when they came to report to the Committee. This is a lesson that the Committee must note.
He wants the Committee and the Department to do something great for the people this Department is serving. He encouraged everyone to try their very best to get things done. The Department needs to change and learn from past mistakes.
Ms Khawula spoke in Zulu and it was not translated.
Ms Masiko commented on how one of the mandates of the Department is advocacy. She asked the Department to highlight what work it is doing around issues of advocacy. ‘In terms of the Gender Response Framework, does the Department have an implementation plan in place’? ‘Beyond the NSP, what are direct interventions that the Department is responsible for in the reduction of Gender-Based Violence’? The total cost of the performance reward is R127 000 and R18 000 on average per employee however on page 147 the Department has an amount of R1.2 million for employee benefits. She asked the CFO to clarify these expenses.
The Chairperson said all Members were in agreement about the issues of incompetency and non-performance according to what the DG has raised in terms of the shortage of staff, and the inadequate allocation of funds by the National Treasury. This concerns the Committee because if the Department is under-funded, the posts of Directors and Deputy Directors will not be filled and this is a problem. There is a need for the Committee to make recommendations to the National Treasury for it to look at its budget allocation for the Department. The recommendation will assist the Department to work at the level of excellence that is expected by the Committee.
The Chairperson asked if the Department gets a 13th cheque.
Ms Legwale replied that the Department does make provision for performance bonuses and page 135 reflects the amount that would have been paid to Officials.
The Chairperson said that it is important for the Department to explain what the amounts relate to.
Ms Legwale noted what the Chairperson said.
Ms Griessel replied that all the core programmes have a strong advocacy component in the work that they do. The Minister, Deputy Minister and all Senior Officials in achieving the roles and objectives of the programme were advocating for what had to be done when particular programmes were at play. The Department is always putting forward the importance of the programmes. In terms of the Sanitary Dignity Programme, a lot of advocacy on the GBV part of the dialogues mentioned earlier focuses on public advocacy in changing perspectives and behaviour. If the Department wants to transform gender relations then advocacy is critical. The LGBTQIA dialogue was important because it included advocacy.
The campaigns that get held by the Department are not just about dialogues but campaigns that are there to reach everyone. The implementation plan of the Gender Responsive Framework was adopted by Cabinet in March and the Department has added more detail as more components were added.
The Chairperson said that she thought the Department abandoned the green and red robots.
Ms Shariff asked when the Department would provide a report-back on the stakeholder meeting that the Department had attended.
Ms Griessel replied that the report is in the process of being done and it will need to be approved by the Minister first before distribution.
Ms Tshabalala said that the Department is liaising with the Department of Public Works to identify buildings. If the Department starts with one building, then it is a start in the right direction. If things do not go as planned the Department will fall back on using the Green doors and White doors as it feels that they are not being utilised in full.
Ms Tshabalala said finally that the Department through advocacy is getting government buildings.
The meeting was adjourned.
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