The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities presented its 2019/2020 Annual Report to the Committee.
The Department received an unqualified audit opinion for 2019/2020 financial year with 27 findings, an improvement from 2018/2019 that had 59 findings. On annual performance and set targets for 2019/2020 financial year, the Department achieved 32 targets (80%), while eight targets (20%) were not achieved. This was an increase of 11% from year 2018/2019. On the Department’s performance, out of 40 planned targets, 34 targets (85%) were achieved and six targets (12%) were not achieved.
The Committee was concerned about the inconsistencies in the Report. The Department was referred to as ‘Department of Women’ sometimes and ‘Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities’ at other times. Secondly, the number of outstanding cases reported was not consistent with the information received by the Committee. The account contained irregular expenditure, unauthorised expenditure, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and most of these irregularities were from previous years and not for the year under review.
The Committee also expressed concern on the lack of key officers within the Department, and observed that even though the Department boasted of many skilled officers, this was not reflected in the quality of its output.
Concerns of service delivery on disability matters were raised by the Department as well as the difficulties faced by persons with disabilities in accessing basic amenities such as access to buildings, transportation, and the Covid-19 relief grant. Particular emphasis was made on the benefits of allowing persons with disability speak on matters peculiar to them. The Committee wanted to know the role of the presidential working group on disability.
The Committee also noted that it had not received a report from the Minister in respect of the outstanding matter concerning the appointment of a Chief Directorate for persons with disabilities.
The Committee was also concerned about the Department’s inability to clear outstanding payments from the year 2017/18.
Opening Remarks by the Chairperson
The Chairperson opened the virtual meeting, welcoming Members, Committee support staff, Minister, Deputy Minister and officials from the Department of Women, Youth & Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) to the meeting. She stated that the audit risk committee, office of the Auditor-General could not attend; another meeting will be scheduled for them in the following week. She handed over to the Minister for her overview.
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities, recounted that the first interaction on the Department’s annual performance plan 2019/20, including the transitional arrangements with regards to youths and persons with disabilities, was held on 03 July 2019.
The Department of Women, which was later proclaimed to include youths & persons with disabilities, will present its Annual Report for the first three months of 2019. Although the Department received an unqualified report for 2019, it was still with 27 findings – a matter that the Department has to address with all honesty. The chairperson of the audit and risk committee, Ms A Mafuleka, as well as the DG, will elaborate on these 27 findings.
During the report under review, the Department’s budget was not increased despite receiving more responsibilities, and the additional office of the Deputy Minister. These constraints, as well as lack of human resources capacities, especially at the junior level, had an adverse effect on the Department’s ability to deliver on its mandate. With the guidance of the Portfolio Committee, the Department would strive to strengthen the work of the government in developing programmes that will empower women, youths and persons with disabilities. The constituency remains the most disadvantaged by poverty, inequality and unemployment.
Deputy Minister’s Comments
Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, Deputy Minister of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities, in addition, said that the Department would need the Committee’s intervention on the question of funding, because civil society organisations and many other partners do not tolerate situations where the Department has unfunded mandates.
DWYPD Annual Report 2019/20
Adv Mikateko Joyce Maluleke, Director-General, DWYPD, took the Committee through the presentation. She stated that the Department received an unqualified audit opinion for 2019/2020 financial year with 27 findings, and the report will be presented to the Committee when an audit action plan is prepared. This is a great improvement from the 2018/2019, when there were 59 findings. This shows an improvement and commitment on the part of the Department to achieve what is required by the law.
For 2019/2020, on annual performance and set targets, the Department achieved 32 targets (80%), while eight targets (20%) were not achieved. This is an increase of 11% from year 2018/2019.
Programme one, Administration, had 14 targets planned. A total of 11 (79%) targets were achieved, while three (21%) were not achieved. Indicators that were not achieved included: Payment of all valid invoices, implementation of external audit recommendations as well as internal resolution of all disciplinary cases.
Programme two, Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment, had seven targets planned. Five (79%) targets were achieved, while two (21%) targets were not achieved. Indicators not achieved included a report on the implementation of the Women’s Financial Inclusion Framework as well as the establishment of the National Council on Gender Based Violence.
Programme three, Policy, Stakeholder and Knowledge Management, had 12 targets planned. Eleven (92%) targets were achieved, while one (8%) target was not achieved. Indicator not achieved included two performance monitoring review reports on women’s empowerment and gender equality.
Programme four, National Youth Development had four targets planned and all of them were achieved.
Programme five, Rights of Persons with Disabilities, had three targets planned. One (33%) target was achieved, while two (67%) targets were not achieved. Indicators not achieved included: Disability inclusion in Governments’ Institutional Arrangements as well as the development of an annual progress report on implementation of the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with disabilities.
In respect of the Department’s overall performance, out of 40 planned targets 34 targets (85%) were achieved and six targets (12%) were not achieved. This shows a decrease of 3% on targets achieved in year 2019/2020, compared to 2018/2019 financial year (88%).
The Chairperson thanked the DG for her Report. She pointed out that there were inconsistencies in the Report. She asked why the Department was referred to in some places as ‘Department of Women’, while in other places it was referred to as ‘Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities’. The Report stated that there is only one case outstanding, but there are other pending cases as far back as 2013, which have not yet been resolved. These cases were carried over to the new Administration but there has been no report on them. She said that the Portfolio Committee will write to the Department and to the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to investigate on these queries.
On the absence of a labour relations officer within the Department, the Chairperson said that the Department is developed and should have all its key officers. She wanted to know why a labour relations officer had not been appointed till date, and how the Department intends to deal with labour issues. She observed that the absence of a labour relations officer in a Department would give a negative impression about the Department. She also observed the inefficiencies on the part of the human resource department, and the critical post of the Deputy Director-General (DDG), in the disability division, that is still not filled.
When the President announced that the Department was going to be a department for women, youths and persons with disabilities, some compliance steps needed to have been taken by the Department. It is evident that the Department is currently violating the rights of disabled people because even the annual reports do not comprehensively cover issues on the disable people. The Annual Report should have included a report on social development and issues relating to their service delivery on disability. It is the Department’s responsibility to monitor the Department of Social Development on the services they render to persons with disabilities.
The Committee had informed the Department not to use any money allocated for disability, and it is the Departments’ duty to ensure that the disable people get serviced. It is an issue of concern for the Committee, and a report is expected on steps taken by the Department in respect of issues of disability.
The Committee was also concerned about the Department’s inability to clear outstanding payments from the year 2017/2018; a response is needed on why the Department has not made these payments and the reasons for the delay.
Ms T Masondo (ANC) wanted to know how the Department has contributed to the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) priorities in 2019/2020 based on the targets achieved; what were the key challenges experienced by the Department?
Mr L Mphithi (DA) asked the Minister for an update on the appointment of a Chief Director in the directorate of people living with disabilities. He observed that no report was received and the Minister was not present at the last Committee meeting when the matter was on the agenda. He also wanted to know what has been done since the allegations and revelations were received on the appointment of the Chief Director within the Department.
He noted that when the appointment was approved, the person in question had no experience or qualification for the position. The person in question was also the wife of another official in the Department, who at the time was very close to the human resource process. He asked what the Minister has said to the public on the matter, because many people in society, particularly those living with disabilities, have been raising concerns and have been expecting a response from the Department. People living with disabilities already feel excluded by the South African society and by the structure mechanisms across buildings that make access difficult; now they have to deal with their exclusion by the Department that should be protecting and advocating for them.
Mr Mphithi stated that the Minister has let a lot of people down in the country, particularly people living with disabilities, and people fighting daily to ease access and ensure that the plight of people living with disabilities is heard across and supported in meaningful ways. The Minister has not stood up for these people nor has she lent her voice to them. The Committee would therefore like to know what the Minister has said about these allegations, and what the Department is doing in the interim while investigations are carried out. What is the Department’s commitment to people living with disability across the country, people who want to hear the Minister admit that she has made a mistake, and failed them in the approval of this appointment by not given them the opportunity that was rightfully theirs? These people are the ones that understand the peculiarities of people living with disabilities and are the only people that can advocate for the community.
The Chairperson noted that Ms Mabelebele was hired by Mr Mbhazima Shiviti at the Department of Women, as the Director of Communication, but when the matter was investigated he denied that they had any relationship.
Ms B Maluleke (ANC) expressed displeasure about the performance of the Department. In terms of the audit report, she wanted to know why people express a level of skill at the point of recruitment, but once employed they are unable to perform their duties. This means that there are flaws with the recruitment strategy. Chief Financial Officers who are recruited fail to understand the supply chain management. The accounts show irregular expenditure, unauthorised expenditure, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. More concerning is the fact that most of these irregularities are from previous years. What then is the Department doing to solve these issues? Are there no procedures to ensure that irregular expenditures are regularised? Are there no processes to ensure that unauthorised expenditures are laid off so that in the next financial year, when the Auditor-General (AG) is auditing the Department, reference will not be made to the previous year’s audit outcomes? What is hindering the Department from clearing outstanding issues that have been raised in the previous years by the AG in order to get a clean audit?
The Chairperson asked the Department to confirm its position on only one outstanding case. Is the Department referring to the case of Mr Derick Mahapa or are there other outstanding cases? According to the information received by the Department, Mr Mahapa was the husband of Ms Mabelebe’s sister. What is the update on this case, because the last update received by the Committee was that the matter was before the Labour Court?
Mr S Ngcobo (DA) asked for clarity on the programme that deals with the rights of persons with disability. What is the role of the presidential working group on disability? What work relationship exists between the presidential working group on disability and the Department?
How is the Department going to ensure that lack of capacity is not cited in future as the reason for not meeting its targets, especially for programme five which deal with the rights of persons with disabilities? The Chairperson was right that persons with disabilities in South Africa are still down trodden, and their rights are still not being protection. The Department states that the purpose of the programme is to oversee the implementation of programmes pertaining to the rights of persons with disabilities. However, when someone visits the Department of Health, or a local clinic, and requests for a wheel chair for a child, they will still need to wait for months before the chair can be collected. What then is the Department overseeing, exactly?
The Chairperson said that over the weekend before this meeting, she conducted an oversight visit to two Post Offices to check whether the people are getting grants. She repeatedly visited Kempton Park and another one, and she observed that they had not received the Covid-19 grant money. She also received complaints from her neighbours that they were at the Post Office and they did not receive their relief grants because there was no money at the Post Office. The Chairperson stated that she called the Deputy Minister, the DG, the MEC for Social Development in Gauteng and the officials of Social Development. She also sent a message to the Minister about the long queues, and that disabled people were also on the queues; they were not getting their grants. She, however, could not get the Acting DG for Social Development.
The Chairperson stated that her visit to the Post Office revealed that there was actually no money at those Post Offices. What they were using to pay for the grant was money paid for licences. The communities were fighting with the officials of the Post Office, and it took her intervention to address them and calm them down. The Chairperson wanted to know what is happening in respect to monitoring and whether people were actually getting the relief grants. It is important that monitoring is done, and the Department of Social Development (DSD) must be informed that the officials responsible for the disbursement of money to the Post Offices must be compelled to do their job.
Ms T Mgweba (ANC) pointed out that the issue of unfunded mandate has been an ongoing matter raised by the Department, and the Committee would need to note this. For a Department to deliver its services, part of its mandate is to get enough money. In previous Portfolio Committee meetings, it was raised by the Department and the Committee must take it very seriously. When the Committee expresses its views, it is also important to take into consideration the Department’s weaknesses as a result of inadequate funding.
On programme five, particularly on the framework on disability rights awareness campaign, the Department achieved only one target. The Committee has not received any policy instrument as it relates to persons with disabilities. What improvements can the Department can make in the next financial year, so as to close the existing gaps in the area of vulnerable groups, especially persons with disabilities? It is important that a framework or instrument is completed by the Department in the next financial year.
On the Departments’ budget, there was an underspending in terms of program three, especially on vacancies. Why is there an underspending in terms of vacancies, and why is the Department struggling to fill vacancies within the Department?
The Department stated that funds allocated towards replacing laptops had not been used. She wanted to know why funds allocated towards replacing laptops, which were needed to deal with economic issues related to women and vulnerable persons, have not been used. More concerning is the fact that Covid-19 has made it evident that technology is very important in delivering services.
The Chairperson asked the DG to confirm if the plan to be presented will address irregular and fruitless expenditures. The DG confirmed that a full report on the audit outcomes by the Auditor-General’s office will also be presented.
Ms F Masiko (ANC) noted and commended the improvements made by the Department. There was an overall improvement in performance between the financial year of 2018/2019, where the Department reported a financial performance of 69%, and the improvement in the 2019/2020 financial year – where it reported 80% meeting of target.
The mission of the Department states that it provides strategic leadership, coordination and oversight. She asked the Department to explain how this mission has been achieved, and how has the Department provided strategic leadership and coordination to government departments. Certain key deliverables are still reported as being in a draft phase, some as not yet finalised, while others have not received Cabinet’s approval. How then will the Department fulfil its mission in terms of providing strategic leadership when such issues are still being reported? What were the key challenges that hindered the Department from fulfilling its mission and vision?
On the 32 targets that were reported as achieved during the 2019/2020 financial year, which of these targets were achieved or done by external service providers? What were the costs incurred from procuring external service providers to meet the 32 targets? This is in view of previous reports by the Department on challenges that they are experiencing in the area of human resource.
On programme one, it was reported that one of the irregular expenditures incurred was linked to the prior year security contract. Ms Masiko wanted to know whether or not the security contract has been resolved, and if not, why has it not been done.
On programme two, the Department had reported in a previous meeting that there were outstanding provinces of Free State, Gauteng and Mpumalanga – where they awaited the establishment of Provincial Sanitary Dignitary Committee (PSDC). What is the current status of PSDC’s? Issues of corruption were noted in the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), and the Committee pointed out the issue of lack of monitoring and evaluation and enforcement of the frameworks and guidelines. What progress has been made in addressing the said corruption in KZN, and is the Department is also monitoring the investigation established by the province?
Ms M Hlengwa (IFP) wanted clarification on the issue of over-expenditure and payment for the Former Minister. On programme three, there is under spending and the vacancies that are not filled. She asked why those posts are not filled.
Ms Hlengwa wanted to know why it takes so long for disciplinary cases to be resolved. She also wanted to know why there are skilled people in the Department, who can do the work but are not doing it, and the Department has to go out and consult. What was the outcome of the consulting done by the Department? She noted that consulting was part of the fruitless expenditures recorded in terms of persons with disabilities, but there is no proper idea or plan for them, and people with disability are just neglected. She concurred with the Chairperson’s comment about the long queues at the Post Office for collection of grants and the fact that after enduring the queues, the people, comprising of women, youths and persons with disabilities, still cannot access this money.
Ms P Sonti (EFF) reckoned that persons with disabilities are not recognised by the Department. Most of them are still struggling to get wheelchairs, and some have not been able to access special skills schools, etc. Those in the rural areas endure more challenging situations in respect to transportation. There should be special transport for these people. In the work place, persons with disabilities are not getting the right positions which they deserve according to their qualifications.
On the Covid-19 relief fund, she said that people go to the Post Office every day and do not get this money. Some have quit and stopped going because they have to stand for the whole day and at the end there will be no money. Also, most of the officials helping the people standing will request for R50 before they can get the money.
Why is the department failing to reach all its targets? The Department need to close all gaps.
Ms A Hlongo (ANC) wanted to know what the 365 days programme-of-action of the Department entails, and how the Department ensures sustainability of programmes in the medium to long term. What impact and outcomes did this initiative yield?
The Chairperson told the Minister, Deputy Minister and DG to ask its officials to give them the report on the cases which she mentioned at the meeting.
Ms N Sharif (DA) reiterated her concern on the issue of the compensation of employees, particularly considering the number of these employees who are at senior management levels. How can there be so many senior level employees and the Department still lacks the capacity to draft frameworks? Do oversight and ensure that other Departments are doing what they are supposed to be doing through monitoring and evaluation.
The issue of the mission and mandate of the Department, as stated by Ms Masiko, is very important. It is usually assumed that the mission, vision and mandate are just legalities to be complied with. The mandate is meant to be complied with to make things easier for the people. However, the Department continuously fail to meet its mandate. What response should be given to members of the constituency when they comment on the Department’s failure? There is no use having a department that cannot do anything for the people.
Mr Mphithi asked the DG about the appointments in the Department which raised concerns about staff morale, staff members in the Department being abused by certain staff members, and the unruly behaviour of some staff members with no consequences for their actions, cases of staff members facing mental breakdown because of abuse from managers, and so on. These issues need to be addressed because if some members of the Department are facing abuse, it will affect the overall ability of the Department to carry out its mandate. Are officials assisted when they report issues with managers and directors? Are there cases of ‘super employees’ who influence decisions and oppress other staff members? How has the Department addressed the issue of officials who are increasing losing motivation because of certain managers and directors who think they are above their own work responsibilities?
Responses by the Department
The Minister thanked the Committee for the commendations for the Department’s unqualified audit. She stated that the Department had hoped that when the cut was announced, the Department will be saved. Most of the political issues raised by Members are really about advocacy and also monitoring. Currently, there are four officials of the Department assigned to work with the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) on the roads, because the taxi operators have been informed about the plight of women in the face of the 60 days of activism against gender violence and femicide. The taxi operators have pledged to work with the Department. Some organisations have also volunteered and indicated their support to the Department. One organisation which has shown the Department a lot of support is “Progressive Professionals”. They schedule virtual meetings every Sunday and have launched their support groups with people they call ambassadors and chairpersons in every province.
On unresolved issues before 2017, the Minister said that the chairperson of the audit risk committee would report on that. The Minister could not fully provide an account on issues that happened before her appointment. However, she is willing to look into any matter on the request of the Committee.
In respect of her absence in the last meeting, the Minister stated that she sent a written apology to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee. A detailed report was also sent to the Chairperson. She was requested to be with the President on an official working visit of a visiting country.
The Minister assured Members that there was no irregular appointment to the post of chief director, advocacy and mainstreaming rights of disable persons in the department; there was also no nepotism or corruption on the appointment. Such allegations are unfounded, malicious and aimed at discrediting the image of the Department, the leadership and that of the incumbent. The Department followed the due process as was guided by the prescriptions of the public service and administration. There is no law that prohibits anyone from applying for a post in the public service as long as the prescripts are followed. The selection process was in line with the guidelines of the Department of Labour, particularly the relevant clauses contained in the code of good practice of employment of persons with disabilities.
She stated further that the Department is responsible for three sectors, mainly women, youth and persons with disabilities. When she assumed responsibility as Minister, she inherited a department with many vacant positions, and she made it a priority to restore the Department and fill the vacancies, especially at senior management level.
Mr Mphithi noted that the Minister’s said that there was no problem of nepotism in the Department. However, it has been observed that certain officials have powers to ensure that a person is appointed in a position that they have influence in. He asked the Minister to exercise some caution as it puts her directly in contempt of the particular matter. When the Minister appointed the particular individual, she should have sought for all the necessary information that would enable her act correctly.
As the political head, the Minister may not be fully involved in administrative matters. However, the accountability of what happens in the Department will still rest on her. He noted that the Minister had taken full responsibility of the process and that she has confirmed that there was no wrongfulness taken in the appointment of this position and in other positions. The Minister’s statement is on record, and the Committee will proceed to investigate the situation, and as indicated by the Chairperson, the Committee’s request for investigation has been sent. However, more care needs to be taken in respect of officials in the Department, and as stated by the Deputy Minister, it is important that officials feel motivated to come to work and allegations of abuse are addressed because these officials are relied on for services.
The Minister added that it was her responsibility to sign off the appointments including that of the DG. In respect of staff morale, it is a very stressful space and she called on the support of the Committee, because it is a societal matter. The Department has absolutely nothing to hide. She thanked the Committee for its support.
The Chairperson interjected and asked the DG to investigate the vacancies that were filled before the lockdown and confirm what the contracts were for, and details of the contracts that were given out.
The DG’s presentation indicated that the Department reported on an integrated APP, which includes target of the rights of people with disabilities and youth programmes. During the audit, the AG raised concerns that integration was supposed to be effected after the National Macro Organisation of Government (NMOG) is finalised. Most of the issues raised and the report were affected by the fact that the Department integrated the report before NMOG was finalised and the report was presented to the Committee before it was submitted to the AG.
On the Department referring to itself as Department of Women and at other times Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, the DG explained that the vote of the Department is still Department of Women vote 13. It has not yet been amended. Until it is rectified, reports made on financials will be on Department of Women vote 13 even though it will include all the other groups.
On the issue of staff morale, she stated that when she resumed at the Department she observed that a lot of people refused to come to come to work, despite the reduction to lockdown level one. They refused to work, not because they have co-morbidities, but just because they are not used to work. However, at the strategic workshops she received feedback that since she resumed duty, things are better at the Department and people are respected now. She stated that anyone who reports to the Committee that they are abused is not a representation of the majority of the Department. The DG stated that she has met twice with displeased unions, and they are now happy. The Minister confirmed that the salaries of certain officials were stopped because they refused to resume work despite the ultimatum which she gave them to resume. Some of them give false excuses of being sick so as not to go to work. Those would be the set of people who could state that they are not happy. However, most people are now motivated and have shown increased interest to work.
On the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Reports (BRRR) 2019/2020, the recommendations have not been implemented. The report on the BRRR is done on quarterly basis, and the Department has endeavoured to implement the recommendations. The Department is, however, ready to address any of the Committee’s recommendations.
The performance of the Department has improved, but its mandate is very huge and it is unfortunately structured to fail. A Department that has 1% legal services, 2% internal audit, compared to other departments, lacks resources and is structured to fail. The report on the vacant posts filled included the ministry administration, but in terms of programmes there are few personnel.
On the matter of irregular expenditure, the DG stated that when she resumed at the Department, internal audit complained that people refused to be interviewed and provide an explanation on what happened. A secular was thereafter issued stating that anyone who refused to be interviewed will be considered as guilty and charged. The Committee will get a report on this very soon.
The DG stated that the issues that were raised by the Chairperson on the Flakmans (?) report and the 2013 cases are new to her, but she will make enquiry about it so that she will be able to respond.
The Chairperson responded that the information will be forwarded to the DG by the Committee’s researchers.
The DG stated further that the provincial committee is chaired by the Premier; the national committee is chaired by the Chief Director of the Department of Women, Youths & Persons with Disabilities. The provincial committee meet on a quarterly basis and they report to the national committee.
On the corruption in KZN, the DG responded that the programme of the Department started in 2019, whereas the issue of that corruption started before and was based on the provincial funds and initiated by KZN, with its own budget. From that programme a DDG, a Chief Director and Director were suspended because of the corruption.
Ms Val Mathobela, Chief Director: Strategic Management, DWYPD, reminded the Committee that the mission and vision of the Department was reviewed during the integration process. When the annual report was being prepared, the Department was advised that there should be an alignment with the strategic plan 2015-2020. In 2019/2020, the Committee had issues with the use of the word ‘oversight’, and the Department decided to adopt the words ‘monitoring’ and ‘evaluation’ to qualify its duties to other departments in ensuring the right of women, youths and persons with disabilities.
Mr Benny Palime, Director: Rights of Persons with Disabilities, DWYPD, said that the Department serves as the secretariat of the Presidential Working Group; the group consists of 45 members but currently has 38. Their term of office started 2015 when he started the group and will end in December 2020. Next year, the names of the new nominations will be submitted to the Committee for its further instructions. The Group advises the President on policy matters, legislation, service delivery matters, as well as financial and treasury-related matters on disability. The Department serves as the secretariat, prepares all the documents, drafts the agenda, agrees with the Minister in terms of how the meeting will be approached and keeps minutes of the Presidential Working Group, and the decision matrix.
The frameworks have been sent to Parliament, and it seems the office has not distributed the frameworks to Members. The frameworks sent include the self-representation framework and awareness raising campaigns framework.
On service delivery, Mr Palime said that because the Department is merged with Social Development, the branch rights of persons with disabilities included services to persons with disabilities. Therefore, the Department had to report under that model but the Department stopped reporting because they thought it now belonged to Social Development. He will review the merits and demerits and report back to the Committee.
On standard operating procedure and the targets, Mr Palime stated that the standard operating procedure of Social Development differs from the standard operating procedure of the Department. He confirmed that the Public Financial Management Act PFMA and The Audit Act requires the Department to report on all financial matters pertaining to 2019/2020 financial year, and that he will review this with internal audit and report back to the Committee.
The Department requires that persons with disabilities are given the opportunity to speak for themselves. It is unacceptable that a Member of Parliament has to wait for more than two weeks to get a wheel chair to give to someone. He was, however, grateful for the good work being done by Parliament on this regard, but the Department will write to the Department of Health on this issue. The Industrial Development Corporation has informed the Department of persons with disabilities that they would like to assist it to buy wheel chairs.
Ms Annette Griessel, DDG: Policy, Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management, DWYPD, stated that the Department is focused on government, while planning monitoring evaluation. The Department has identified its regulatory role, and its framework was developed in house with no consultants. It was approved by Cabinet in March 2019 and there has been a lot of implementation despite capacity issues. The Department did a monitoring framework and a data collection of all national departments as well as provincial offices of the Premier. A rapid evaluation was done, and the recommendations of that report are supported by the three DG clusters. The country’s Gender Indicative Framework provides departments with actual gender responsive indicators across board, that they can then use for integration in their strategic plans and in their APP. The frameworks are then expected to be converted into department plans, and this process is ongoing but more support is needed from a number of departments. The DG has had meetings with other DG’s; the Department is also working with DPME to get the latest performance indicator and undertake a gender, youths and persons with disabilities analysis on the performance of the various departments and the recommendations. Weekly presentation, advocacy and trainings are conducted by the Department with the National School of Governance. At all levels, DG’s are taking these matters more seriously because they also know that it is going to be part of their performance agreement and that they would be held accountable. The Department is also doing central/programme M&E focusing on the country level, and also doing the Covid-19 reports on the extent in which women are benefitting from the Covid-19 social/economic relief packages.
On the 365 days campaign, there were a lot of miscommunications in the past, but there are very useful dialogues ongoing on the issue of gender-based violence and femicide. The development of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) as well as the related structures, including the IMC, has shared a different perspective on the 365 days campaign. The campaign is now directly linked to the NSP itself – to the pragmatic implementation aspect of the NSP. Part of the NSP is about behaviour change campaign where a lot of work has been done to work with creatives, media houses, and women on a sustained behaviour change campaign. Even the taxi campaign which the Minister referred to, of training of taxi drivers, is part of the 365 days campaign so that social norms and behaviour can be changed at every level of the society.
The Chairperson asked how many people the Department has helped with hearing aids.
Ms Desree Legwale, Chief Financial Officer, DWYPD, responded to the question relating to consultants. She said that the Department spent an overall of R722 000 in comparison to R2.4m that was spent in 2018/2019. About R93 000 from the R722 000 was for a service that was outsourced; R293.000 was for payment of members who sat on the gender advisory committee and the payment for members of the ANC. These amounts were in accordance with the fees set by the National Treasury Regulation.
On the question on the purchase of machinery and laptops, she responded that the Department could not proceed with the appointment of the service provider even though successful in the evaluation process. He did not respond to the Department on the issue of quarantine and this could put the Department in possible risk in the event that the laptops are not functional within a minimal period after purchase.
The issue of payment for 2017, which was paid during the 2019 financial year, relates to funds that the Department should have received in respect of international travels. The process has been improved on and the Department is no longer having long outstanding to be processed.
Chairperson’s closing remarks
The Chairperson said that the next presentation by the risk and audit committee would be rescheduled because the time was far spent. She asked the Committee’s secretariat to check for a convenient date. She asked that the report of the risk and audit committee should cover the work of the Department from the last meeting.
The Chairperson commended the DG for her efforts to correct the many challenges that she faces, and she stated that she is certain that the DG is dealing with all issues as they arise. She commended the DG’s action on those that were not working and were still being paid, and said that the Committee will want to know more about what is happening in the Department. All whistle blowers who have contacted the Committee are appreciated. The Committee is passionate about the work done by the Department.
Matters of people with disabilities will now be the Committee’s priority, as it continues to deal with issues of women since the beginning of the Committee’s tenure. Follow up will be carried out on all the reports made.
She thanked the DG for getting officials account in the branches where they are located, and is hopeful that in three weeks the DG will report on the posts that were filled during the COVID-19 era. The report should include how those people interviewed, what positions they filled, what their contract states and why were they employed during the Covid-19 period when every other person was at home.
She thanked the Minister, Deputy Minister, DG and all Members of the Committee for attending the meeting; she also affirmed that the Committee will continue to ensure that the Department delivers on its mandates. The Department of Social Development can also be contacted to know the issues they are dealing with, especially in the area of persons with disability.
The meeting was adjourned.
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.