Brand SA; 30 day payment of invoices; Performance Management Development System

Public Service and Administration, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

13 November 2019
Chairperson: Mr T James (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee was briefed by various government entities on their implementation and compliance with the performance management development system, adherence to the 30-day requirement for the payment of suppliers, and the introduction of a programme to stimulate interest in South Africa and its products both locally and abroad.

The Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) stressed the need for government departments to settle invoices within 30 days, particularly as small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), with their potential to create employment, were the most vulnerable to delayed payments. The departments with the poorest records were Water and Sanitation, and the provincial departments of health. A review of the current budget funding and allocation frameworks, as well as initiatives to reduce wastage and corruption in the health sector, was in the offing.

Members asked what steps were been taken by the DPME and Treasury to ensure that valid invoices were paid timeously? Had any accounting officer been held accountable so far for continually transgressing the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) laws?

The Departments of Human Settlements (DHS), Water and Sanitation (DWS) and Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) all reported on their implementation of the Employee Performance Management and Development System (EPMDS) since its inception on 1 April last year, indicating their various levels of compliance for the various employee salary levels, and the interventions to improve staff performance.

Members questioned each department on the process followed in determining performance bonuses, and the controls in place to ensure that all employees were treated fairly. Other issues were the steps taken to deal with poor performers, or those who did not comply with the requirements of their positions. When resources were inadequate for an employee to perform optimally, how did this affect his/her performance appraisal?

Brand SA said their mandate was to build South Africa’s reputation and global competitiveness, and their “Play Your Part” programme aimed to instil pride, patriotism and build social cohesion. To achieve this, it used brand ambassadors who embodied the corporate identity/essence of the programme in appearance, demeanour, values and ethics. Their role was to take responsibility for positively contributing towards nation building, influencing  their networks to buy into and adopt “Play Your Part” messages, supporting Brand SA on social media and most importantly, to walk an inspiring journey.

Members asked if Brand SA forged partnerships with local municipalities, because that was where they could make a big difference. They wanted to know whether compensation was paid to their brand ambassadors, and what criteria were used to select grassroots-based organisations for collaboration with Brand SA.

Meeting report

The Chairperson said the Committee would receive a briefing from the Department of Performance Management and Evaluation (DPME) on the payment of valid invoices to service providers within 30 days. This was important, because if invoices were not paid, it impacted negatively on the economy and destroyed business opportunities for small businesses. It was important for the DPME to monitor this compliance in particular. Three other departments had been invited to brief the Committee on the implementation of, and compliance with, the performance management development systems. The invitation was premised on the meeting held on 11 September with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) following their report, which had highlighted ‘red flags’ on these departments in relation to the performance management system, and where departments did not have performance systems in place amongst other issues. The last briefing would be from Brand SA on the “Play Your Part” and “Going the Extra Mile” programmes.

First Quarter Progress: 30-day payment

Mr Henk Serfontein, Chief Director (CD): Public Service Monitoring; DPME said Section 38(1) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) requires accounting officers to “settle all contractual obligations and pay all money owing, including intergovernmental claims, within the prescribed or agreed period.” This was further augmented by Treasury Regulation 8.3.2, which specifies the period referred to in the PFMA section as 30 days from the receipt of a valid invoice. Government had a stated objective to support small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), as non-payment of invoices was counter-productive to this objective.

Sections 81 and 83 of the PFMA stipulate that failure by an accounting officer and accounting authority, respectively, to comply with requirements of the Act, constitutes financial misconduct. Section 84(4) of the PFMA states that financial misconduct was a ground for dismissal or suspension.  An accounting officer or authority that failed to carry out the stipulated responsibilities was guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years (s86(1) & (2)).

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) contributed to the bulk of outstanding payments for national departments. The health sector continued to contribute to the bulk of outstanding payments for provincial departments.

Provincial analysis illustrates that the Gauteng province had drastically reduced the amount in rand value of unpaid invoices, from R 3.1 billion in Q1 of 2018/19, to R1.5 billion in Q1 of 2019/20. Other provinces that had shown an improvement in terms of rand value owed to suppliers were Limpopo, North West and Northern Cape. The rand value of unpaid invoices by the Eastern Cape had increased substantially, from R436 million in Q1 of 2018/19, to R1.8 billion in Q1 of the 2019/20 financial year 

Measures to address challenges of non-payments were:

  • Review of the current budget funding and allocation frameworks.
  • Measures were being implemented to address the impact and abuse of medico-legal litigation, including the amendment of the State Liability Act; mediation measures; contingency fees; the common law rule of “once and for all”; the periodic or staggered payment instead of a lump sum payment.
  • Identification of measures to improve revenue collection in the health sector by ensuring that patients who have the means to pay, do pay, and effective collection of fees from medical aids.
  • Initiatives for the achievement of greater efficiencies, reduction of wastage and corruption in the health sector.
  • 30-day payment forms part of the Heads of Departments (HODs) Performance Management and Development System (PMDS).

Mr Serfontein listed the following recommendations:

  • Note and support the moving of the payment of suppliers function back to the National Treasury, in line with its legislative mandate to monitor and enforce compliance with the PFMA. This would be effective from 1 April 2020.
  • Note and support the continued role of the DPME to monitor progress with the implementation of measures to address systemic challenges.
  • Note the utilisation of the Presidential Hotline, as a transitional measure to log cases whilst the National Treasury puts in place internal mechanisms.
  • Note that the DPME, in collaboration with the National Treasury, would continue to work with other departments to bring about improvements and would monitor and report on progress.
  • Support measures to hold accounting officers accountable for non-compliance with the PFMA requirements to pay suppliers within the stipulated timeframe

Discussion

Ms M Ntuli (ANC) reiterated that government’s objective was to support small and medium enterprises. The worry was that if they were not paid on time, then government objectives would be defeated. There had been an increase in the rand value of unpaid invoices, so what steps had been taken by this Department and Treasury to assist in paying invoices timeously? Since the Department had agreed to transfer the monitoring of payment of suppliers to the Treasury, would Treasury continue monitoring of the compliance to the 30-day payment, as this used to be a priority of the Presidency?

Ms M Kibi (ANC) said one had to be upfront in telling the Department that the presentation was not really pleasant. This was because the departments mentioned in the presentation that were defaulting in paying suppliers within 30 days all had targets, yet their annual performance reports indicated good audit outcomes year after year. Did the DPME really have teeth to bite? They could just not be there as an organisation that begs for compliance, and just barks. That the DPME would support and recommend that Treasury take over the monitoring and enforcement of compliance to 30-day payment, was unfortunate. It would solve nothing because Treasury would not be immune to this scourge of non-payment. The two Departments should rather work together on this. The last recommendation of holding accounting officers responsible for non-compliance should be enforced vigorously.

Ms M Clarke (DA) recommended that the biggest transgressors according to the report presented today be called to this Committee to account for why this was happening, and measures put in place to facilitate compliance. As someone who had served a long time as a Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) in Gauteng, the problems in that province were well known. Had any accounting officer been held accountable so far? Had any disciplinary measures taken against any accounting officer who continued to transgress the PFMA laws?

Ms C Motsepe EFF) wanted to know whether some adjustments could be made in places where a department was over budget? Would it not be wise to prioritise the budget? Regarding legal claims, which claims were being referred to?

Mr C Sibisi (NFP) said the concern was that most of the culprits were in the health sector. How far had the DPME gone in holding the health sector accountable? The hospitals seemed to be the problematic area, and most of the litigation was coming from medico-legal cases and non-payment from the hospitals. If there were patients with the means to pay, what was being done to ensure that they pay? Managers and chief executive officers (CEOs) of hospitals needed to come up with turnaround strategies on how to address these problems.

DPME’s response

Mr Serfontein said that in the public service, they found that administration was not very good and there were a lot of delays in processing invoices. The DPME had identified some departments and created tracking systems to ensure that invoices were paid on time, and had shared those experiences with departments that were still struggling, and that seemed to have paid off.

In the health sector, when it came to cash flow, the focus was on Gauteng, as they were by far the biggest contributor to unpaid invoices. Some of the lessons learned in Gauteng would be replicated in the Eastern Cape and other struggling provinces. Everything was also linked to the fact that the DPME had no teeth to bite. Disciplinary procedures and their application was a departmental procedure, and the Public Service Act did not allow them to charge someone in a department. They could only prepare and submit reports to this Committee, amongst others. Legally, the DPME had no legal teeth, and this Committee had more teeth than the Department.

On the monitoring of National Treasury, DPME would still monitor the 30-day payment, but would not be involved in trying to resolve individual cases. A case in point was yesterday, when someone who was owed R4 000 by one of the entities had come to the DPME offices, and it dawned on the Department that if she was not paid the money, it would determine whether the business would continue to function or close. In a nutshell, strategic monitoring of Treasury’s 30-day payments would be undertaken to see if individual cases were being attended to. More focus would also be placed on the Eastern Cape and the Department of Water and Sanitation.

The Committee would be supported if they wished to call transgressors to attend before them. Holding people accountable was now part of the performance agreement, and the first round of formal evaluations would take place in February next year. For a non-delivery department, it was easy to re-prioritise the budget, but in departments that were committed to service delivery it was a bit difficult not to overspend. The health sector was constantly moving budgets from maintenance and infrastructure to cover the medical legal claims, medical supplies and pharmaceuticals. Most of the claims from the health sector were also the medical legal claims which seemed to emanate from where some babies suffer from oxygen deprivation at birth, which was due to negligence.

Ms B Maluleke (ANC) in a follow-up question, asked who was given the report after it was compiled. Was it given to the officials or executive authority? Maybe if it was given to someone higher up, it might spur them into action.

Ms V Malomane (ANC) said the presentation revealed that the DWS had a large number of unpaid invoices. Since it was their duty to monitor and evaluate compliance; had they gone to that Department to find out why it was so, and proffered solutions?

Ms Kibi said from the response given by the DPME, it was clear that most of the claims were from the Department of Health. What was actually being done to correct this anomaly, and what was the reason for this negligence? It was important to find answers so that the further non-payment of invoices could be averted. This Committee also had to come up with policies to strengthen the DPME’s hand so that there would be consequences for non-payment of invoices.

Mr Serfontein responded that the DPME could not take money and pay some of the suppliers, but rather had to work with other departments to ensure that they paid, because such funds were already in their budgets. It was also important to point out that the numbers presented were only on legitimate claims where services had been provided. There were also cases where services had been extended contrary to the agreements signed. For example, someone would be legally contracted to build 100 houses, but would then be asked to build an extra 50, not minding that contracts could not be necessarily adjusted just like that.

On the legal claims, there were cases where the Department was at fault as a result of malpractice, and there were also indefensible cases because record keeping was not good. Cases like that involved case files that were missing, so the DPME was trying to assist and share best practices on filing systems. It provides reports to the Presidential Coordinating Committee (PCC), where Premiers also attend -- and the blame and shaming approach did seem to work in some cases.

Ms Clarke suggested that when recommendations were put to the Committee, they should be formulated and served as a document at every Committee meeting so that Members could keep track of them.  

The Chairperson promised that this would be done by the secretariat.

Department of Human Settlements: Implementation and compliance -- PMDS

Mr Nyameko Mbengo, Acting Deputy Director General (DDG): Department of Human Settlements (DHS), said that the revised Employee Performance Management and Development System (EPMDS) determination and directive seeks to integrate the management of individual performance with organisational performance through a combination of management control tools. These include:

  • The departmental strategic annual report;
  • The Auditor General’s (AG’s) findings and opinions;
  • ensuring maximum alignment of committed targets between the departmental annual performance plans (APPs);
  • The performance agreements (PAs) of senior management service (SMS) members and staff; and
  • Linking the main employee deliverables to the departmental strategy, APP and operational plan.

Since the inception of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) determination and directive on the EPMDS on 1 April 2018, the Department had fully complied for all staff salary levels from 2 to 12, Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) and SMS, including:

  • Staff submission of mandatory Annual Performance Agreements, Mid Term Review Reports and Annual Performance Assessment Reports, as per prescribed Directives Dates;
  • Capturing all submitted EPMDS documents on PERSAL;
  • Implementing consequence management for non-compliant staff, including forfeiture of performance bonuses and annual notch progressions.

Employee Developmental Interventions

The Department had implemented various training interventions towards enhancing employees’ skills, competencies and inherent job requirements, including:

  • Training interventions, as per the approved Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) and staff Personal Development Plans (PDPs);
  • A bursary programme, to improve staff skills and qualifications;
  • Specific EPMDS staff training to increase compliance levels;
  • Focused developmental and counselling interventions for staff, who were deemed as partially or not effective, before implementation of punitive measures.

Recommendations

It was recommended that the Portfolio Committee note that the National Department of Human Settlement had fully complied with provisions of the DPSA 2018 EPMDS determination and directive since its inception on 1 April 2018.

Department of Water and Sanitation: Implementation and compliance -- PMDS

Ms Marcia Maraka, Chief Director, Construction Management, Department of Water and Sanitation; said the Department currently used three PMDS systems for the various categories of employees, such as the Public Service Act for employees at levels 2 to 12, based on the DPSA framework; Public Service Act managers (SMS), based on Chapter 4 of the SMS handbook; and employees employed in terms of section 76 of the National Water Act (construction unit), based on the conditions of service for section 76 employees.

The due date for annual assessment submission was 31 May annually. The assessments were checked for quality and alignment with the PA, and mid-term assessments were captured on Persal, and a calculator for the final performance score was done to determine the type of reward for the official. In cases when the rewards exceed the allocated budget, a factor was calculated for officials to benefit equally. A factor was applied by decreasing the percentage performance bonus to employees, thereby ensuring that the budget limits were not exceeded, and outcomes letters were distributed to officials.

For the management of poor performance, guidelines on management of poor performance had been developed, and affected officials and supervisors were informed about the poor performance in writing. Managers analysed reasons for poor performance and implemented interventions to address them. Human resources department (HRD) monitors the implementation of interventions, and where training is required, the HRD coordinates the process.

Department of Public Works and Infrastructure: Implementation and compliance -- PMDS

Mr Solly Mwanza, Director, Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), said the Department managed the performance of staff on salary levels 2 to 12 in terms of the Departmental PMDS policy which had been ratified by the appropriate structures and approved for implementation with effect from 1 April 2018. The PMDS for SMS members was managed in terms of Chapter 4 of the SMS handbook, as well as DPSA determinations/directives. Employees, newly appointed or promoted, sign PAs within three calendar months after assumption of duty and thereafter within two months of the beginning of each financial cycle. Existing employees sign and submit to the director of human resources management their PAs on or before 31 May of each PMDS cycle, starting from 1 April to 31 March of the following year. The Department enforces the Public Service Regulations (PSR) 2016 requirement which states that “no employee shall qualify for performance rewards if he or she does not sign a PA within the period contemplated above, but would still be subjected to performance reviews.”

The written six months’ performance review was compulsory, and it was concluded linked to the following timeframes:

  • Written first six months performance review, April to September;
  • Written second six months performance review, October to March;
  • Poor performance for SMS members is reported to the DPSA after every six months, in line with the reporting framework.

Based on the outcome of the annual performance assessment and the outcome of the Departmental moderating committee, the Department may reward performance according to the rewards structure, and may where appropriate provide training and development for employees, and would manage poor performance.

At the conclusion of performance cycles, all reasonable measures had been taken by both the DPW and the Property Management Trading Entity (PMTE) to ensure that the payment of performance bonuses remained within the 1.5% limits across the board, by either setting tighter standards or scaling down the possible benefits to be considered,

The Ministry of Public Service and Administration (MPSA) had directed that executive authorities no longer had the authority to exceed the prescribed cap for the payment of performance bonuses (1.5% of the annual remuneration budget in this instance), even if the circumstances were justifiable.

Discussion

Inkosi R Cebekhulu (IFP) referred to consequence management for non-compliant staff, and asked the DHS what percentage of those who had not performed had not received any benefits as a result.  Why had the DPW”s compliance on PAs received dropped in 2017/18 in particular? If the Department capped the payment of performance bonuses at 1.5%, what about those who had performed exceedingly well in their duties? Were they not then discouraging people to perform exceedingly well, and were they denying them recognition and remuneration for their performance?

Ms Motsepe asked the DWS if organised labour had challenged the EPMDS policy on particular issues and if so, what were those issues? How were the issues resolved? What contributed to senior management at the DPWI signing performance agreements before being issued warning letters?

Mr Sibisi asked the DWS why was it that levels 2 to12 had achieved 94% of performance rates for submission of compliance agreements, while SMS had achieved only 81%. If senior managers were reluctant to submit their EPMDS, what control measures were there to encourage them to do so? They should lead by example, and should be achieving 100%.

Mr S Malatsi (DA) asked the DWS for insights into the core performance at the SMS level. What had been the key findings and the common trends that were indicated? At the DHS, the figures for appeals for performance rewards were a source of curiosity, compared to the figures paid out – what were the driving factors in terms of the appeals? At the DWS, anomalies in the payment of performance bonuses in the past two financial years needed to be clarified.  

Ms Malomane said the DPW’s) report was not consistent. It was understood that in 2018/19, the conclusion of the performance cycles was not finalised, but in the 2017/18 totals, the levels and beneficiaries were all missing. Also, the signing of performance agreements spoke only about the SMS levels alone, but nothing about levels 2 to 12. The moderating committee also did not include organised labour as part of this committee -- why was that? For all the departments, there were some times when employers did not provide the resources to enable employees to perform -- how were such issues dealt with by the departments in terms of performance management?

Ms Kibi asked if the DWS bursary programme to improve staff skills and qualifications included full time or part-time study. Was there a limit to the number of staff who could go on full time study, or was every applicant that qualified allowed to study?  For Public Works, on the signing of performance agreements, it was stated that the heads of departments were taking appropriate disciplinary steps and also issuing warning letters. Apart from warning letters and the withholding of incentives, if they still failed to comply, what steps were taken to ensure they complied? Was the system working?

Ms Clarke said her question covered all three departments. If performance assessments had not been submitted, did staffs still get paid their performance bonuses? If projects had not been finalised, were performance bonuses still paid to Sec 76 employees? It was difficult also to assess the performance of employees based on the current assessment tool.

Ms Ntuli’s question went to the DHS. To deal with poor performance after consequence management, they had a system of motivation interventions, such as workshops and trainings.  Was the Department able to pick up the root causes of poor performances? Who monitored those who had undergone the interventions so as to ascertain if they were yielding positive results? What happened to those who had forfeited their benefits, even after the interventions took place?

Departments’ responses

Public Works and Infrastructure

Mr Jabulani Nkwanyana, Chief Director: DPWI, referred to the sudden drop of overall compliance from 2017, and said that year had been a crazy one for the Department. Firstly, the new organisational structure had been finalised, so it was also a year of transition because of the change in Ministers and a lot of employee’s contracts had also terminated, which all impacted on the level of compliance. After that year, the Department had stabilised and picked up.

The 1.5% was in reality the total cap, put against the total budget which must not be exceeded by the Department on bonuses, so the amount shown was just to calculate what that 1.5% means. It did not necessarily mean that the Department pays the total amount against the 1.5%, but ensures that an excessive amount was not paid. Linked to this question, if there was a high performer, that person would be disadvantaged, and that was the function of the moderation Committee. In moderating, they look at the total number of those who fall in the category of bonuses which were over and above the capped increase of 1.5%. All employees who had complied with the processes qualify for the 1.5% notch increase. High performers fall within a category of bonuses which must not exceed 1.5% of the total budget. The moderation committee, in the case of high performers, would make a determination.

Another issue was the signing of performance agreements and the level of non-performance. The Department was very strict with this process and once people had not complied, the officials responsible for assessing and receiving PAs would consistently, from the period of the cut-off date, sit on those branches which had not complied till they complied. Those who failed to comply would also receive warning letters and not benefit from performance bonuses. There was a big argument about this, because some of the employees did not submit through any fault of their own, but because of their supervisors not ensuring that there were two signatures on their documents. A system had been devised to ensure that an employee did not suffer the consequences because of their manager’s ineptitude. What is done in this case is that they are allowed to submit, even if it is a single signature in the document before the deadline, and also submit it to their supervisors.

On whether the root causes of poor performance were picked up, luckily the Department had not encountered major cases of non-performance, as three years back there was only one case of non-performance in the SMS category, and two in the 2017/18 financial year, which were not all related to work.

Mr Mwanza, answering the question on how the lack of resources was dealt with, said that if for instance a secretary’s phone lines were down -- which was a matter beyond the worker’s control – the worker could not be penalised for that, but at the same could not be over compensated. An average score would have to be given in a matter like that, which would reflect that the work achieved a score of three. If an employee gets a three all through, that employee would qualify for a notch increase, as opposed to a performance bonus.

When a person did not submit a PA, they did not qualify for either a performance bonus or notch increase. The level of compliance was calculated on the due date for submission.  All submissions made on the due date, which was 31 May, were captured on the Persal system, and that was where the percentage was calculated from. Labour was part of the process, even if they were not reflected in the report. There had been some omissions when the report was being compiled, and the Department apologises for it.

In 2016/17, the DPW had a staff complement of 5 341 from levels 2 to 12. Of this number, 3 188 got either a performance bonus or a notch increase, or both. For SMS members, out of 289, about 42 benefited from a performance bonus, notch increase, or both. For this cycle, the number was 5 613 in total, of which 3 230 benefited.

For 2015/16, out of a total 5 512, for level 2 to 12, a total 3 069 officials benefitted. For SMS the number was 270, of which 16 benefited. The combined figure was 5 782 , and 3 085 benefitted.

For 2014/15, the total was 7 501 for levels 2 to 12, and 3 297 benefited. SMS officials were 197, and no one got a performance bonus, so the total was 3 297 out of a total staff complement of 7 698.

The entry level was supposed to be level 1 to 12, but because of union activities over the years urging the reform of entry level staff, the lowest level now was level 2 officially. It still starts from level one, but practically it was from level two.

On what was done over and above warning letters to those not complying, a special directorate ensures that training was provided on an annual basis to all so that no one could complain that they did not receive the necessary help they needed to perform and comply. Because compliance had a financial incentive component, people were always working hard to comply. Levels 2 to 12 comply fully because every year there was a financial reward for them. SMS members did not always comply as much as the junior staff, because sometimes a collective decision had been taken not to pay them bonuses, but only a notch increase.

Department of Human Settlements

Mr Joseph Leshabane, Acting Director-General and Cabinet Liaison: DHS, said the performance management system was designed in such a way that it aims to extract performance out of an employee, and the reward that comes with it is a separate issue. On compliance, if people complied only because people were chasing them, then something was wrong with that culture. The system was such that timelines, schedules and timeframes were given and reminders, so that every employee and supervisor had the opportunity and the correct instruments to participate and comply. Non-compliance was an offence that was subject to disciplinary action, and the warning letters were the beginning of disciplinary procedures. If the situation was not corrected, it was escalated to a final warning and then to full scale disciplinary proceedings.

The common thread in the level of appeals that the Department received was based on employees feeling that their supervisor did not represent them well. Alternatively, it might be resources that the employee was lacking, or there were no appropriate motivations, and if the grounds were reasonable, cases were reviewed and outcomes reversed.

Bursaries for employees were part-time because they still had to do their jobs, and financial support was provided merely so they could improve their qualifications. The Department had no ability to offer full time study leave and no employee in recent years had studied full time because of the bursary. Instead they were allowed study leave when required, which was consistent with the conditions of employment. It was vital to state that should an employee consistently under-perform, either the employee was in the wrong job, or that employee was incapable. When development interventions were carried out, they were aimed at extracting the best out of employees and where there were difficulties -- out of work related, like family issues -- employee wellness programmes take over. Performance bonuses were also not paid if assessments were not done, because there would be no basis for them.

Mr Mbengo added that 425 performance agreements were submitted out of a total of 433 in 2017/18.  Eight had failed to comply, and in 2018/19 the total was 17.

Ms Ntuli asked, in terms of compliance by senior management, if they had come across situations where employees were suppressed by their senior managers, and where people who did not merit it were being favoured and getting better scores in order to earn performance bonuses? In such cases, what strategies were applied?

Inkosi Cebekhulu said the DWS had a construction unit that was not being deployed to do its work, and instead the Department engages outside service providers to do the work. How were those who were fully employed but not given any work to perform treated? He asked the DHS what percentage had not been given performance bonuses because of poor performance.

Ms Clarke repeated her earlier question to the DWS -- if a project was not completed within a set deadline, did the staff in that unit qualify for performance bonuses?

Ms Kibi said head of departments were expected to be like teachers in the classroom, and should understand their workers and not bite them at every turn. They should not be bosses, but leaders who understood their employees.

Mr Leshabane said that the performance management process was such that it required the employee to self-assess, and the supervisor could concur with that, or defer with reasons proffered.  This was then subjected to moderation, which seeks to remove the subjectivity – “because I feel good about my work, I score myself 5 out of 5, but I have no objective evidence to support the claim.” It was moderation that seeks to understand the objective motivation and the portfolio of evidence that supports the claim. It then could adjust and moderate upwards or downwards and ensures balance and objectivity in the assessment process. Even in the event that supervisors score themselves higher, moderation looks and maintains a balance.

The DHS had not seen any suppression of junior staff, but in some cases supervisors were strict and may penalise employees, but the system seeks to balance out any inconsistencies should they arise.

Department of Water and Sanitation

Ms Nthabiseng Fundakubi, Chief Operations Officer, DWS, responding to the question as to whether labour challenged the PDMS policy, said the policy was still in the bargaining council for discussion, and labour’s input was still being awaited.

On measures put in place to encourage the SMS to comply, awareness campaigns were ongoing and the guidelines on performance development systems put in place were being enforced. If non-compliance persisted, then disciplinary processes were activated.

There were a number of factors contributing to the increase in poor performance. There were issues such as personal circumstances that inhibited performance, and in those cases interventions were made active through the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), although that required the willingness of the employee to participate. Another issue was interpersonal relations between employees and their supervisors, which impacted on employee relations. Generally no performance bonuses were awarded when assessment processes had not been finalised.

Mr Conrad Greve, Chief Director, Human Resources Management, DWS, said that in recruitment and other policies, the Department was doing job evaluation, and organised labour had indicated that they would like to observe the process of moderation, and the Department had agreed to include them into those forums as far as observation status was concerned.

With regards to compliance up to level 12 and SMS, and the difference between 94 and 12, the question on controls in place to ensure compliance had already been answered by other departments, and meaningful engagements had taken place with the Office of the Public Service Commission (PSC) over the past year. There did not seem to be proper compliance in this Department as far PMDS was concerned, especially at the SMS level. Awareness sessions had been conducted by the PSC themselves and a good uptake was experienced at theSMS level.

On why there was poor performance experienced from 2016 to 2018, it could be attributed to senior managers attending these sessions and taking performance management more seriously than before.

The accelerated grade progression was linked to the performance management system. It had been well dealt with as a result of assessments. With OSD employees, there was a provision that if a person was performing above average for three years, after 12 years that person could progress from one grade to another, and if persistently performing in an average or satisfactory level, that person could progress after fifteen years, and this was implemented in the Department. There quite a number of OSD employees in the DWS.

Mr Malatsi repeated his earlier question about the need for clarification on the percentage of bonuses  paid in the past two years.

Ms Maraka responded that while the answer to that question was being figured out, they would like to respond on whether bonuses were paid, even if the project was poorly performing. The answer was yes, but the Department had now realised that it could not continue with this anomaly and that was why the conditions of service were unbundled with the PMDS in order to finalise it separately. Another thing done was to confine Sec 76 employees to the limit of 1.5% of the total compensation of employees (COE), because they initially fell outside it and were working on a zero budget, as expenses they spent on travelling and accommodation came from the budget.

Ms Malomane asked whether the moderation committee had the power to change the scores of employees if they disagreed with their employers.

Mr Sibisi said his worry with the EPMDS was that the focus was on bonuses and notch progressions, while the DGs were forgetting that it should twofold -- evaluating the performance and helping those failing to improve by the use of interventions.

Ms Fundakubi, clarifying the question about performance bonuses, said 63% of members received bonuses in 2017/18 financial year, while it was 15% in 2018/19. The numbers could be the same as the number of staff, but they were not correlated to each other.

The Chairperson asked for the answer to the question to be further clarified.

Mr Leshabane said the role of the moderating committee was to review assessments. It took into account what would have been in the agreements, the Department’s performance, and the consistency of the scoring across the branches and divisions of the Department. W here discrepancies were found, the committee would be able to either refer it back those units so that they could recalibrate, or alternatively it would make recommendations on the calibrated outcomes. It did not necessarily change the scores as much it reviewed it, so that there was balance. That was the role of the moderating committee.

The Chairperson said that since the questions asked about discrepancy in figures had not been answered satisfactorily and time was not on the Committee’s side, the Department of Water and Sanitation would be called back sometime to Parliament.

Brand SA programmes

Ms Thulisile Manzini, Acting CEO, Brand SA, said the organisation was the official custodian of the national brand appointed to market and promote South Africa’s image and manage its reputation. It existed to contribute indirectly towards job creation, poverty alleviation, social cohesion and economic growth.

The South African story revealed a country from which its people and the world drew inspiration -- to find new paths, new solutions, new possibilities, new experiences, new ideas and the will to make it happen. They did this by working together and encouraging all to play their part, building on their achievements, using their own competitive advantages and key positive attributes to make a positive mark.

Play Your Part programme

The “Play Your Part” (PYP) programme was a call to action social movement that showcased ordinary South Africans doing the extra-ordinary, and was created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in South Africa. It aimed to encourage South Africans to use some of their time, money, skills or goods to contribute to a better future for all. PYP was aimed at all South Africans -- government, business, civil society, media and general citizens (including SA expats) -- to engender positive social change in the country.

For South Africans living both at home and abroad, “Play Your Part” contributes towards:

  • Celebratory moments;
  • A call to action towards socio- economic challenges;
  • Positive nation brand reputation and image building;
  • Active citizenship;
  • National brand pride and patriotism;
  • National brand advocacy.

Other impact indicators included:

  • Empowerment on how to start a business (entrepreneurship skills);
  • Brand South Africa providing stationery to more than 6 000 school children since the school activation drive.
  • Providing PYP ambassadors to be mentors to school learners, dealing with education and socio-economic challenges.
  • Assistance with tertiary registrations for the University of Limpopo.
  • Providing meals to students.

Through radio collaboration, Brand South Africa had created 50 job leads in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) through “a 30-sec job voice note” on East Coast Radio.

Play Your Part ambassadors

A brand ambassador was a marketing term for a person employed by an organisation or company to promote its products, services, or image towards nation brand marketing. The brand ambassador was meant to embody the corporate identity/essence of the programme in appearance, demeanour, values and ethics.  Brand SA ambassadors take a responsibility for positively contributing towards nation building and in achieving their vision. They participate in PYP programmes, influence networks to buy into and adopt Play Your Part messages, attend briefing sessions on programmes to support Brand SA on social media, and most importantly walk, an inspiring journey.

Brand SA offers in return:

  • Profiling of PYP ambassadors on existing media partners (print, unpaid for media, and messaging adoption).
  • Sharing of its research content.
  • Invitations to Brand South Africa programmes, participation in the media programmes and representing Brand SA on initiatives linked to PYP.
  • Drive awareness via www.southafrica.info.
  • Award of a Play Your Part certificate

Discussion

Ms Kibi said since the organisation was in the business of promoting SA to attract foreign investments, it should also promote locally made products. Had any partnerships been established with local municipalities, because that was where it could make a big difference? The indication was that Play Your Part had impacted positively on people’s lives – had any evaluation been done by the organisation to measure this impact?

Ms Ntuli wanted to know if there were incentives for people who wanted to play some part for Brand SA in the rural areas. What was the provision for grass roots people to take part, as this was important for Parliament?

Mr Malatsi asked if there was any kind of compensation for the ambassadors, considering their terms of reference.  What had gone into considering the grassroots-based organisations for collaboration with Brand SA? Was it with the organisations themselves, or the individuals in those organisations? Looking at trend,s there seems to be an emphasis placed on macro influencers, but brands these days target micro influencers in communities to raise that brand awareness. This seemed a place to locate one’s brand, especially when looking at critical issues such as gender-based violence (GBV), in order to reach constituencies one would want to identify with one’s brand.

Mr Sibisi had a concern, saying PYP was diverse and needed to guide developments without overlooking innovative ideas from the citizens. Would Brand SA consider reviewing its policies in order to ensure value for money, so that citizens could understand its expectations?

Ms Malomane wanted the organisation to go more into their constituencies to present their programmes so that everyone could play their part. How many ambassadors were there in the whole nine provinces? How many jobs were created by the PYP programme?

Ms Clarke said after the World Cup Rugby win and the presentation, everyone felt inspired in SA. One worrying issue was that there were so many young people emigrating from SA. Was there any programme that the PYP could get involved with, for young people to understand that there was a wonderful vibe in this country? There was work to be done, but there were also good prospects here and every leader had to be involved in playing their part.

The Chairperson said that because of the lack of time to engage further, Brand SA should respond to all the questions by the means of a written reply.

The meeting was adjourned.

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