The Portfolio Committee met with the Department of Public Service and Administration, the National School of Government, the Public Service Commission and the Centre for Public Service Innovation to receive briefings on the second and third quarter performance in the 2019/20 financial year. The Department was represented by the Deputy Minister.
All the reports showed a satisfactory or good performance. Where 2nd and 3rd quarter targets were missed, presenters were confident that all would be achieved by the end of the financial year
The Public Service Commission reported a 100% achievement rate on its 21 annual targets so far. No fruitless or wasteful expenditure was recorded, however, irregular expenditure was noted. One point of discussion was the Commission’s over-achievement in additional programmes outside of the Annual Performance Plan. The Committee asked why the Commission had pursued these additional programmes. Was this an indication of poor initial planning? How were these additional programmes were financed as they were not included in the annual budget? Additionally, the Committee asked for clarity on the policy around capped leave days which had resulted in the transfer of R1 million to two retired public servants.
The National School of Government reported that 16 out of 27 performance targets were achieved in quarter two, this represented a 62% achievement rate. 23 out 30 planned targets were achieved in quarter three, this represented a 77% achievement rate. An ongoing problem is that departments pay upfront for training courses, but their nominated candidates fail to register, or they drop out before completing the training. The Committee highlighted that there was a need for the School to provide training for Members of Parliament and Members of Provincial Legislatures who frequently lacked prior experience in government. What was the School doing to provide training opportunities at the local government level? Besides the Nyukela programme, which specifically targets senior managers, what efforts was the School making to capacitate employees at junior levels? The School reported that it would be undergoing a restructuring process where several posts would be abolished. The Committee asked what the reconfiguration would look like and how the School planned on ensuring that its structure was still in alignment with the Department.
The Centre for Public Service and Administration had a 67% and 75% target achievement rate in its second and third quarter. Reasons for underspending on staff included the vacancy of critical posts, these will not be filled by the end of the financial year due to ongoing discussions on the organisational placement of the Centre. Underspending in goods and services was due to Centre moving offices from its independent accommodation to the offices of the Department, where it no longer has a lease to pay, costs are now limited to infrastructural maintenance. The Centre will re-allocate saved funds once a conclusion has been reached on its organisational placement.
The Department itself achieved 92% of its targets in the second quarter and 77% in the third. It is confident that unmet targets will be achieved before the end of the year. The Department is currently drafting a White Paper on the Transformation and Modernisation of the Public Administration to update that of 1994. A priority of the Department is to improve the implementation of the Batho Pele principles. It is reviewing the entire Batho Pele framework to see how relevant it is and if it still impacts public servant behaviour.
The Committee asked what financial advice was offered for employees experiencing financial trouble? What housing programmes existed for employees who did not yet qualify bonds? The status of Thusong Centres was brought up.
The Department reported that it was engaging with the Auditor General to address the fact that senior employees sometimes receive performance bonuses whereas the department is not delivering on its mandate . There is a need to hold heads of departments more accountable for overall departmental performance. The Department hopes to give a full presentation on its findings in the following months.
Because of the length of presentations, there was not time for proper responses to Members’ concerns and questions. The Chairperson asked that written replies be sent to the Committee on these issues.
The Chairperson welcomed the Members and the Department of Public Service and Administration, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation to the meeting. Apologies were delivered for Minister Senzo Mchunu, who was attending a Cabinet meeting. Ms R Lesoma (ANC), informed the Committee that she would leave the meeting early in preparation for a discussion with the Parliamentary Security on the Section 25 public hearing. Apologies were also tendered for Mr M Maneli (ANC) and Dr L Schreiber (DA).
Presentation by the Public Service Commission (PSC)
The PSC reported on its Annual Performance for the 2nd and 3rd quarter of the 2019/20 financial year. It had a total of 21 annual performance targets for the year.
Highlights of the report included:
- All 12 milestone targets due in Quarter Two were achieved
- All 11 milestone targets due in Quarter Three were achieved
- 72.07% budget expenditure was recorded; against a targeted 75%
- Transfers and subsidies had a budget spend of 113.80% against a targeted 75%, thus amounting to 38.8% overspent
- Payments for capital assets had a budget spend of 89.11% against a targeted 75%, thus amounting to 14.11% overspent
- The PSC reported on key outputs in addition to those approved in its Annual Performance Plan (APP)
- No fruitless and wasteful expenditure was recorded. A small amount of irregular expenditure was recorded, as a result of a previous tender problem.
The Commission explained it had experienced overall budget underspending for several reasons including; SITA delays in the procurement of video conference facility and accruals amounting to R2.161 million as of 31 December 2019. However, SITA has since completed the procurement of a video conference facility, thus expenditure is expected to even out. Work on targets due in the last quarter has already commenced meaning the PSC is set to achieve all of its targets set for the 2019/20 financial year.
Overspending was experienced in two areas; Transfers and subsidies and Payments for capital assets. The reason for overspending in transfers and subsidies was the compensation of two retired officials who had capped leave days. Compensation amounted to R574 000 and R389 000 for the respective individuals.
Overspending in Payments for capital assets resulted from the PSC’s upgrade of its security system, replacement of old laptops and the purchase of furniture following the Commission’s move into a new building.
Performance in programme areas:
- Programme 1 (Administration): 100% target achievement
- Programme 2 (Leadership Management and Practice): 100% target achievement
- Programme 3 (Monitoring and Evaluation): Exceeded
- Programme 4 (Integrity and Anti-Corruption): Exceeded
The Commission explained that upon the request of the Executive, stakeholders and Parliament, it had taken on additional projects beyond those in its APP. These include; the orientation of new Members of the Executive at both national and provincial levels to ensure officials understand the legislation underpinning their administrative roles, participation in a colloquium on the National Development Plan, promotion of the Code of Conduct for the Public Service at a national and provincial level and a leadership seminar held in partnership with the United Nations and Thembekile Mandela Foundation. Through these engagements the PSC aims to build a value-driven public service which is crucial for a developmental state.
Implementation of Audit Action Plan
The PSC reported that it had made significant progress towards addressing areas highlighted by the Auditor General South Africa (AGSA) in the previous financial year. It had implemented and achieved certain interventions, some were ongoing and would be achieved before the end of this financial year.
Irregular, Fruitless and Wasteful Expenditure
The PSC reported that it had recurring irregular expenditure amounting R370 000 in this period. This was as a result of a multi-year contract that was previously not procured through SITA. 2019/20 will be the last year that this expenditure is recorded. No fruitless and wasteful expenditure was recorded in the current period.
Ms N Ntuli (ANC) welcomed the presentation given by the PSC. She asked if the PSC had a mechanism for controlling the number of capped leave days that employees were entitled to compensation for. If in the past, as seen in this period, employees have been able to request compensation for up to 154 days, what has been done to ensure this does not happen again. She asked why the PSC required new furniture when it had moved into a building with smaller square footage. Why did the PSC not have a surplus of furniture instead of purchasing new items which resulted in overspending? She asked why the PSC took on additional programmes outside of the APP. Were these programmes meant to be included in the initial APP? She asked about the ethical values of the PSC, is it possible to include values associated with living like Mandela as these could contribute towards improved social cohesion?
Ms M Clarke (DA) echoed concern about overspending resulting from the compensation of capped leave days. Human Resources (HR) policies stipulate the number of days that must be taken in leave annually. She recognized that this is a difficult issue to contend with. However, in the current economic climate government needs to make cuts where it can. Is there any thinking towards re-evaluating the current policy governing capped leave days?
Ms B Maluleke (ANC) added to Ms Ntuli’s concern about the exceeding of targets, particularly those resulting from the PSC undertaking programmes not included in the APP. How do these additional programmes impact the budget, who is funding them? What was the outcome of the unannounced inspections performed by the PSC at Cecilia Makiwane (Mental Health Unit) and Frere Hospital (Nerina House Nurse’s Home)? What were the outcomes of the roundtable discussions on the expense and nature of contract appointments in the public service?
Ms V Malomane (ANC) asked about the PSC’s overachievement in certain programme areas the additional projects it had taken on. Was this an indication of poor planning? Did the PSC intentionally under plan so it could add on additional projects and overachieve? She asked if there were any challenges raised during the promotion of the Code of Conduct for Public Service given the drive by government to root out corruption.
Mr C Sibisi (NFP) commended the PSC for its performance in Programme 2, particularly its grievance management. He said that this was an area the DPSA previously lacked in.
Inkosi R Cebekhulu (IFP) asked if there were increases or decreases in the number senior management service staff enrolling in the Nyukela programme?
Ms C Motsepe (EFF) asked the PSC to clarify how capped leave is handled in the event employees still have remaining days?
Capped leave days
The issue of capped leave days emanates from the sunset clause negotiations which applied to civil servants that were previously employed under the pre-1994 administration. Their accumulated leave was transferred to the transition government and therefore had to be compensated. Public servants under the current administration do not fall under the sunset clause and are only entitled to 21 days leave per year, They therefore do not get compensated for excess capped leave.
The PSC said that prior to 1994, many civil servants had accumulated up to 300 days in capped leave. There was an agreement that employees should use these leave days but in the event they retired or left their posts, they had to be compensated for any remaining days. After 1994, it was recommended that employees use their leave days periodically and only claim for unused days via application. The previous practice that employees could freely accumulate as many leave days with the intention of claiming compensation is no longer allowed.
Overspending due to furniture purchase
The offices in the new building the PSC moved into are smaller than those it previously occupied, this was done as a means to reduce rental costs. PSC previously paid approximately R1.8 million in rental, this has been reduced by R800 000 following relocation and funds have been redirected towards programme areas. In some cases the larger furniture that was previously used did not fit and was given to other departments where appropriate. New furniture was only purchased where necessary.
Financing additional programmes
The additional programmes undertaken are funded by partner stakeholders such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and universities. The main budget is utilised to finance programmes stipulated in the APP, fundraising is used a means to compliment the budget. Additionally, the PSC falls under the budget of the DPSA and funds can be transferred to the Commission if need be, under the approval of National Treasury. When donor funding has been secured, it first passes through National Treasury which then transfers the funds to the PSC. All donor funding is declared and audited in the financial statements in accordance with Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) standards.
The reports on the visits made to Cecilia Makiwane, Frere hospital and 1 Military Hospital have now been released. The state of public health has deteriorated and noted outcomes were not positive. 1 Military hospital was previously used by Presidents, however, military personnel now insist on being treated in private hospitals, indicating a decline in standards. Nurses have reported that there is no medication in hospitals. Gauteng is facing R20 billion in medical negligence cases. The PSC said it is crucial to evaluate the state of public health, especially as the country moves towards the National Health Insurance (NHI).
A contract report was presented to the Committee therefore members have full information on the outcomes.
Code of Conduct
The PSC replied that the Code of Conduct covers a range of issues. It is promoted and distributed by the DPSA and School of Government. Induction courses are provided within departments to ensure employees have a good understanding. However, when analysed, it was apparent that there are some challenges. Oftentimes, senior officials have challenges when applying the Code of Conduct, disciplinary measures and precautionary suspensions. The PSC reported that there are officials who abuse the Code of Conduct for corrupt means. The PSC remains committed to promoting and providing training for the accurate use of the Code, however at this stage, it cannot say the Code is being well implemented and respected by officials.
Grievance management is a crucial element of the PSC to ensure that there is no abuse of power between senior management and junior management. However, it is not as effective as it should be. Ideally, the PSC would engage with all departments on how to improve labour relations and provide leadership, management and regulatory training, however, it lacks the capacity to do so. An increase in the number of grievances received is essentially an indication of failed management practices. This is an area that the PSC is not as effective in and needs further improvement.
Ms Clarke asked if there was a system in place to ensure the monitoring of outcomes during the promotion of the Code of Conduct. She requested a report and status update on officials who had been suspended for longer than 60 days.
Ms Ntuli assured the PSC that the Committee appreciates the programmes that it had achieved. She wanted to further discuss the importance of ethical leadership under the theme leading like Mandela. She asked if the PSC would make more efforts to ensure that such moral values trickled down from leadership to custodians. She said the leading and living like Mandela programme had potential to reap significant results.
Ms Lesoma said she hoped the National School of Government (NSG) had paid attention to the presentation delivered by the PSC. A gap in senior management training in labour related issues and implementation indicates a need for a review of the NSG’s curriculum so that it includes a continuous induction. Additionally, there should be a joint report done with the DPSA on pending disciplinary issues. DPSA is said to have a special committee that can assist on disciplinary cases depending on the level at which they occur, this should be utilised to sped up the turnaround on case resolutions.
The Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga (ANC), thanked the Committee for affording the DPSA the opportunity to present its quarter two and three performance. She tendered apologies for the Minister who was attending a Cabinet meeting. In the near future the Minister is expected to introduce a newly appointed Director-General (DG) and School of Government principal. It was important for the DPSA and Committee to be attentive to the budget speech to be given by Mr Tito Mboweni; Minister of Finance. The work of the Department would be fundamental in prioritising the development of a capable and capacitated state. Another matter requiring the attention of the DPSA is litigation cases. On a visit to a clinic the previous day, the Deputy Minister noted that the clinic had staffing issues. Under normal circumstances, it should have three professional nurses, three staff nurses and two nursing assistants who typically perform basic tasks like weighing patients and taking blood samples. However, it had seven professional nurses and one staff nurse doing tasks that could be done by junior staff, this has significant impact on expenditure towards salaries.
She spoke about the weaknesses within the public health sector and commented that these are always at the forefront whereas some success is seen when patients are successfully treated and discharged. She said there was a need to evaluate instances where hospitals had reduced in size, yet staff organograms had not changed. These discrepancies need to be looked at. She cited an incident reported in the media whereby a pregnant woman had died in Limpopo while awaiting to be transferred to a different hospital for a caesarean section. Under normal circumstances, a patient is not transferred for this procedure as all hospitals have the capacity to perform it. She later found out that the patient had a dire pregnancy condition leading to the failure of her organs and ultimately, death. What was reported in the media reflected badly on the state of public health, yet it was based on inaccurate information.
Presentation by the National School of Government
Ms Phindile Mkwanazi, Acting Principal of the National School of Government, gave a presentation on the NSG’s second and third quarter performance for the 2019/20 financial year.
Highlights of the report included:
- 16 out of 27 (62%) APP targets were achieved in quarter two, 23 out 30 (77%) planned targets were achieved in quarter three
- Enrolment of approximately 440 individuals in the Nyukela Programme for Senior Management Service
- Training of 1490 officials on the Theory of Change in collaboration with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) to enhance planning efforts
Quarter three performance in programme areas:
- Programme 1: 62% targets achieved, 38% unachieved
- Programme 2: 83% targets achieved, 17% unachieved
The NSG had a total annual budget of R187 905 million. During the April to December period R123 million out of a targeted R140 million was spent, R16 million was therefore underspent. Reasons for underspending were mainly the compensation of employees as the NSG had not appointed a new principal and Deputy Director General at the time. Procurement issues led to delays in projects, ultimately resulting in underspending of goods and services. The NSG is confident that these issues will be resolved, and expenditure will be normalised before the end of the financial year.
The Deputy Minister commended the NSG on successfully paying suppliers timeously and on the demographic representation in its staffing. The main challenge for the NSG has been the low uptake of courses by clients. Departments were asked to pay upfront for the tuition costs of training. However, even when this is done, participants fail to show up or do not complete the course. The Department is engaging on how best the address this issue, even if it means naming individuals who fail to attend and complete courses. These uptake issues carry significant implications for the NSG’s planning.
Ms Lesoma asked if there is a way of measuring the value added by employees who successfully complete the training and upskilling courses provided by the NSG. She asked about the NSG’s configuration pertaining to human resource capital and the abolishing of unfunded posts. Will this still be aligned with the DPSA configuration? She asked why the NSG makes targets that it knows are beyond its control. This has been an ongoing problem. Has the NSG managed to collaborate with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) in providing training?
Ms Ntuli commented on the training and capacity of local government councillors. She said recurring protests indicated shortcomings in their ability to perform their jobs despite the training they already received. What effort can the NSG make to better qualify local government officials? Given that the Nyukela programme was specifically for senior management, could the NSG provide compulsory training for officials at all levels? Can a performance audit be done? She asked if it was possible to establish a commitment from [training participants from] other countries, in the event they did not come, they forfeit their payment. In the case where senior officials attend international training, does the NSG promote knowledge sharing throughout the rest of the organisation?
Ms Malomane asked for an update on the 30 vacant posts: which of these did the NSG plan on abolishing and which were already funded? The NSG has started local government development programmes, specifically with the University of Johannesburg. Can these programmes be implemented in all municipalities as this would assist ward councillors?
Ms Clarke said there was a need to provide training for Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Provincial Legislatures (MPLs) who did not have a background in local government. This would assist them to their jobs properly.
Ms Lesoma asked about the extension of the internship period from 12 to 24 months. She said all departments must be assisted to augment their budgets to accommodate this change.
The Deputy Minister said the NSG was happy to discuss the issue of each department establishing their own school, this is something to be taken up with departments.
Regarding targets beyond the NSG’s control, this speaks to whether or not targets are SMART [specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based] or feasible. It is difficult for the NSG to address all issues because certain institutions like schools have to plan for themselves and the resources they need to attract from departments. Once funding is secured for training, it is difficult for the NSG to follow-up on the number of individuals which have been trained.
Training of politicians
Providing a course that is appropriate for Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MPs and MPLs is something the NSG would have to look into. However, Parliament and provincial legislatures would have to finance these programmes as there is no existing budget. The NSG agrees that this is crucial because officials are appointed and assume roles without any prior training on legislation and expectations.
Alignment with DPSA
The NSG reported that once it had come up with a plan on how it intends to restructure, this would be approved by the DPSA before implementation to ensure compliance.
Collaboration with SALGA
The NSG has been working closely with SALGA in providing training programmes. They recently collaborated during the training of new ward councillors and met during the Ministers and Members of Executive Councils Meeting (MINMEC) for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) to discuss rolling out more programmes targeting local government. They are currently piloting a programme for traditional leaders on how to engage with communities, fundraise and write proposals to reduce protests. There is demand for this programme to be expanded to all other ward councillors.
Compulsory programmes and overseas training
The NSG already has an induction programme that is compulsory for all officials, other programmes targeting specific skills and levels (e.g. finance, supply chain management) are available and will be made effective in the next financial year. Upon return from overseas training, officials are required to host a seminar with officials who did not attend in order to facilitate knowledge sharing.
Abolishing of posts
The NSG has three posts that needed abolishing in Programme 1, these are awaiting finalisation following consultation with the DPSA on how best to pursue restructuring. Eight posts have been prioritised for filling under Programme 2, three posts have been filled since December.
Presentation by the Centre of Public Service Innovation
The Centre of Public Service Innovation (CPSI) gave a presentation on its second and third quarter performance for the 2019/20 financial year.
The Deputy Minister highlighted that CPSI was able to pay all suppliers within the recommended 30 days and had not incurred any unauthorised or fruitless and wasteful expenditure. There is work being done regarding the placement of the CPSI, a feasibility study is underway to establish if the centre should be placed within the DPSA. No decision has been made yet.
Highlights of the report included:
- Four out of six targets were met in the second quarter, representing a 67% achievement rate
- Three out of four targets were met in the third quarter, representing a 75% achievement rate
- CPSI hosted a public sector innovation and design thinking conference, training sessions were provided for improved service delivery
- Unachieved targets will be met by the end of the fourth quarter
- 100% of external audit recommendations have been implemented successfully
Expenditure for the period 1 April to 31 December 2019 amounted to R22.941 million or 59.68% of the appropriation of R 38.347 million for the year. Based on norms expenditure is usually 67% at this point of the year. Reasons for underspending included the vacancy of critical posts, these will not be filled by the end of the financial year due to ongoing discussions on the placement of the CPSI.
Underspending in goods and services was noted. This is due to CPSI moving offices from its independent accommodation to the DPSA. This has resulted in R4 million being underspent as the CPSI no longer has a lease to pay, costs are now limited to infrastructural maintenance. The CPSI intends on reprioritising these funds once a conclusion has been reached on its placement within the DPSA.
Terms of reference have been issued on the training of public servants in design thinking, this is compatible with Batho Pele principles. The CPSI intends on working with the NSG to train employees on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and on how to solve problems based on core design thinking principles.
Presentation by the Department of Public Service and Administration
The Deputy Minister informed the Committee that the second and third quarter reports had been internally audited and submitted to the Minister, National Treasury and the DPME. In his state of the nation address, the President had said the main priority was to build a capable and capacitated state, this applies to all of government at all levels. The DPSA draws its mandate from the Constitution and the National Development Plan which set out the basic values that the public service functions on. It is critical that targets and performance are aligned with this.
Highlights of the report included:
- 24 out of 26, (92%) targets were met in quarter two
- 20 out of 26, (77%) targets were met in quarter three
- Government Employee Housing Scheme (GEHS) continues to be implemented, 651 776 employees have utilised allowances towards home ownership
The DPSA continues to monitor progress towards targets that were not achieved in the respective quarters, it is confident these will be met by the end of the year.
Programme 1 is responsible for the implementation of over 100 policies. In this quarter, the DPSA had several vacancies in HR which led to some targets related to compliance not being met. DPSA has since filled all posts and expects targets to be met.
The DPSA is currently implementing work around the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), which is now chaired by the Minister. The government has appointed new members into the National Governing Council which is the key structure of the APRM. DPSA is currently engaging with National Treasury to secure funds for the review which was postponed due to the national election.
Programme 2: Policy Development, Research and Analysis
The DPSA has engaged with National Treasury, DPME and COGTA to see how best to coordinate policy implementation and monitoring and evaluation. This was done to address the lack of coherence in policies. DPSA is developing a White Paper on the Transformation and Modernisation of the Public Administration. This process will include a review of the old goals that were set in the White Paper of 1994 and a review of the current status of the public sector. Information technology will be one of the areas evaluated.
Consultations on the draft regulations to support the standards setting process for the Office of Standards and Compliance were not held with COGTA and SALGA as the regulations on the Office of Standards were gazetted in November 2019 before consultations were undertaken.
The DPSA is engaging with the Auditor General to address inconsistencies between departmental performance and individual performance. It has been noted that oftentimes employees receive performance bonuses whereas the department is not delivering its mandate as best as it should. The study aims to see how to hold heads of departments more accountable for overall departmental performance. DPSA hopes to give a full presentation on its findings in the following months.
Programme 3: Public Service employment and conditions of service
All targets in this programme area were met. DPSA acknowledged the Committee’s recommendation to have more integration between the reports of the Department and the PSC. A challenge that was previously noted was the time taken for dispute resolution. Ideally, it should take 90 days or less, the DPSA reported taking up to 224 days in the past. It has since resolved half of its dispute cases within the recommended 90-day period. Precautionary suspensions continue to be a problem. Employees have been off work for up to three years under paid suspension. This has significant financial implications for the Department. The DPSA is exploring other methods within the disciplinary space such as lifestyle audits.
651,776 employees have used the GEHS to pursue home ownership. The programme was designed to assist public servants to overcome challenges associated with indebtedness, poor credit scores and blacklisting in order for them to eventually purchase homes.
Programme 4: Government Chief Information Officer
DPSA has been promoting greater use of e-government initiatives. They have partnered with the Presidential Council on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. DPSA is working to capacitate Information Technology (IT) officers and to ensure that spending is directed towards building IT systems where services can be provided to the public online. Current IT expenditure is R36 billion annually across the public service, however this does not translate to online service provision. DPSA is working in the area of IT safety and security, legislation has been developed around how to make government IT systems more secure.
Programme 5: Service Delivery Support
DPSA had six quarterly targets in this area, five of which were met. These included supporting departments in the implementation of the operation management framework, which helps government map out business management processes and how to engineer these to offer services timeously.
The piloting of the Maponya Mall was done to evaluate how best to establish and maintain Thusong Centres. DPSA is workshopping this framework in different provinces for eventual approval by Cabinet. This will then give guidance on how Thusong Service Centres will be developed and managed on a provincial and municipal level.
A priority of the DPSA is to improve the implementation of Batho Pele. It has developed service delivery standards associated with each principle against which departments will be assessed. DPSA is in the process of reviewing the entire Batho Pele framework to see how relevant it is and if it still impacts public servant behaviour.
DPSA was unable to achieve its target on the service delivery model for the public service. DPSA has been responsible for supporting departments on the implementation of service delivery improvement plans over the past 10 years. However, this model was not appropriate for all departments due to varying service delivery typologies. The DPSA has since redesigned the model according to departmental sectors.
Programme 6: Governance of Public Administration
The programme achieved 100% of its targets which was the establishment of the Head of the National Administration and Head of the Public Service. The placement of the Head of National Administration is still being debated.
DPSA had a total budget of R993,343 million of which R676,452 million (68.1%) had been spent by 31 December 2019. Ideally, expenditure should have been approximately 75%. This is mainly due to underspending in the area of administration and public service employment and conditions of service. Expenditure in other programme areas is in line with expectations.
No payment exceeded the 30-day period during the third quarter of the financial year. The average payment period is 18 days. There were no cases of unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. In the second quarter there was an amount of R2,600 recorded as fruitless and wasteful expenditure resulting from an employee who missed a shuttle ride. This has since been recovered from the salary of the employee following investigation.
Discussion on DPSA and CPSI
Ms M Kibi (ANC) raised concern over employees who are unable to get houses due to indebtedness and blacklisting. Does the DPSA have a program providing financial advice for employees? She asked about cases where Director Generals (DGs) have taken Ministers to court for disputes, which is usually overseen by the President. Does this apply to provincial DGs or is it only at the national level? Internal audit and risk management had shown that there were instances where procurement contracts were not checked. How was this allowed to happen when efforts are being made to eliminate corruption and bad governance? Have these contracts been investigated? She asked about the design and online publication of the pocket guide which was outsourced due to limited design capabilities within the Department. Will this outsourcing not cause budgetary challenges and when will the Centre have its design capacity restored? What initiated discussions around the placement of the CPSI, is the centre shutting down? Will the DPSA be able to perform the functions currently done by the Centre?
Ms Lesoma suggested that the NSG interview the DPSA CFO on to implement changes suggested by the Auditor-General. She congratulated the DPSA on the work it had done and said this provided an opportunity for mutual learning. On employee compensation, she requested a presentation from SALGA on its impact on public service pension fund. She requested information on the types of disabilities employees had. She asked about the transfer of DGs and said there was a need to evaluate performance.
Ms Ntuli spoke in isiZulu regarding the CPSI. She raised concern over senior managers receiving performance based bonuses despite poor overall departmental performance. Why were bonuses being given if performance could not be matched by departmental performance? She said the working environments of departments needed to be looked at as some individuals got bonuses based on favouritism and not performance. She highlighted the need to promote peer review across departments. The DPSA’s financial performance and lack of fruitless expenditure indicates the Department is leading by example.
Ms Clarke requested a report from the DPSA on departments which had given out bonuses. During oversight visits at Thusong Centres it was clear that a lot of work still needed to be done. A majority of the centres are not listed on the website. Oversight visits in Mgababa, Kwa-Zulu Natal showed that the centre was not serving communities as it should. No service level agreements (SLAs) and rental agreements had been put in place. Many kiosks were not opened, and government employees had not arrived by nine o’clock. When restructuring is done, SLAs and lease agreements need to be prioritised and accountability between government employees needs to be addressed. She expressed her passion about ensuring that centres perform the function they are meant to, which is serving the people.
Ms Motsepe asked about increases in the level requirements for employees to receive bonds. She suggested that this be revised as RDP (Reconstruction and Development Plan) housing caters for those who are unemployed and the level requirement to receive a bond is so high that it disqualifies many employees who are in need of housing finance, leaving many in a limbo. She said performance management of Heads of Departments (HODs) is one area where the Department cannot lack.
The Chairperson suggested that outstanding answers to the concerns raised by the Committee be sent in writing as another meeting was scheduled for the same venue and time had run out. The meeting was then declared adjourned.
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