DPSA Annual Report; Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company A/B & Airports Company A/B: finalisation; with Minister

NCOP Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure

18 November 2020
Chairperson: Mr M Mmoiemang (ANC, Northern Cape)
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Meeting Summary

Video: Select Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure

2019/20 Annual Reports

In a virtual meeting, the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) presented its 2019/20 Annual Report to the Select Committee.

The Report indicated that the DPSA had achieved all of its targets across six programmes, except for one target not achieved in programme two. From its allocated budget of R993.343 million, it had spent R954.965 million (96.1%), and had achieved a clean audit opinion for the financial year. The vacancy rate of the Department was 13.4%, which was higher than the government’s prescribed 10%, because the filling of posts had been put on hold until the revised Departmental structure had been approved. The DPSA was working hard to reach its 50% target for the representation of women in the Department.

The Committee commended the DPSA on achieving its targets, the clean audit opinion and tackling issues on gender such as providing women with the opportunity to lead in key roles of government.

Members asked questions about the steps in place to ensure the protection of witnesses exposing corruption in government departments and entities, and why the DPSA had not completed the lifestyle audit.  The Department responded that they were engaging with the Western Cape government, which had already completed the lifestyle audit, for guidance.

Members raised issues about why disciplinary hearings were taking so long, and what the DPSA was doing to prevent political interference in these hearings. Had officials who had seen the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to steal government resources, been suspended? Other issues raised included the public service wage bill, the situation with the graduate recruitment programme in the various provinces, and action to prevent government officials from doing business with the state. They also asked when the programme of a single public service administration would be completed.

The Committee reports on Airports Company Amendment Bill [B5B - 2018] and the Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company Amendment Bill [B6B - 2018] were adopted, with the EFF recording its rejection of the reports. 

Meeting report

DPSA Annual Report 2019/20

Ms Yoliswa Makhasi, Director-General (DG), Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), said the Department had achieved a clean audit opinion. He reported on the performance of each of the programmes.

Programme one: Administration

The Programme had six annual targets, and all six were achieved. The Department had complied with regard to the following submissions, as regulated:

-The interim and annual financial statements were submitted to National Treasury.

-The bi-annual reports on the compliance with the broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) status level of contributors, as prescribed in the preferential procurement regulations 2017.

-Quarterly reports on the implementation of the annual performance plan (APP) were submitted to relevant authorities.

-Progress reports on the implementation of the internal audit and risk management plans, with a specific focus on the audit of human resources, asset management, supply chain management, financial statements and information technology.

-The reports on the DPSA’s compliance to financial management, human resources and labour relations prescripts were submitted. Among the matters covered in the reports were areas of compliance such as strategic management, audit and risk management.

-Quarterly reports on the implementation of the Department's bilateral and multilateral agreements and programmes were submitted.

Programme Two: Policy development, research and analysis

The programme had eight annual targets, and seven were achieved:

-The institutionalisation of selected aspects towards the draft regulations for the Office of Standards and Compliance (OSC) was conducted through consultations held with national departments.

-The business case on the structure and governance of the Office of Standards was compiled, as part of the approved structure the OSC had been created as a Chief Directorate.

-The report on support provided to departments to improve on areas of non-compliance with public service legislative and regulatory prescripts, as identified in the 2017/18 Auditor-General’s (AG’s) report, was developed.

-The report on the revised public administration performance information areas for inclusion in the Annual Report format for auditing by the AG was produced.

-The report on the implementation of recommendations made towards the establishment of a national administration to support the Public Administration Management Act (PAMA) was submitted.

-The report on linking the organisational productivity assessment with the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) was compiled.

-The report on the state of readiness of departments to the organisational functionality assessment tool was compiled.

The following annual target was not achieved: Further consultation with selected national and provincial departments towards the legislative drafting of the draft White Paper for the transformation and modernisation of public administration conducted.” The reason for non-achievement was that although the draft of the White Paper was produced, it was not timeously submitted to the Ministry of Public Service and Administration (MPSA) for approval before consultation on the document.

Programme Three: Public Service Employment and Conditions of Service 

The programme had achieved all seven of its annual targets.

-The report on the average percentage of funded vacant posts on the Personnel Administration System (PERSAL) was submitted.

-Policy implementation support was provided to national departments and provincial administrations on the implementation of the revised Senior Management Service (SMS) performance management and development system (PMDS) by a national workshop and nine provincial workshops conducted.

-The report on the graduate recruitment scheme framework (GRSF) was compiled

-The annual report on the appointment of persons into developmental programmes with the public service was completed.

-Quarterly analysis reports on the average number of days taken to resolve disciplinary cases and precautionary suspension cases by national and provincial departments, were compiled.

-Quarterly reports on the implementation of the Government Employee Housing Scheme (GEHS) were submitted.

-The report of the establishment of the housing finance solution for the GEHS was produced.

Programme Four: Government Chief Information Officer

The programme achieved all four of its annual targets as follows:

-The priority e-Government initiatives to support digital transformation for the public administration were submitted by the required deadlines.

-The Public Service Information Security Standard was submitted as required.

-The revised corporate governance of information communication technology (ICT) policy framework was also submitted.

-The report on ICT expenditure by all national and provincial departments in managing the cost related to information technology (IT) procurement within the public service indicated that above R40 billion had been spent since the 2015-2018/19 financial years. ICT expenditure in 2018/19 had recorded an increase of 11%, compared to the base ICT expenditure of 2017/18.

Programme Five: Service delivery support

The programme had achieved all six of its annual targets:

-The report on the implementation of the operations management framework by three prioritised departments -- Human Settlements, Energy and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), was developed

-The report on the institutionalisation of the framework for the establishment, promotion and maintenance of service centres, was submitted by the required deadlines.

-The service delivery model (SDM) for the public service was developed and submitted to the Director General.

-The report on the assessment of the implementation of the service delivery improvement plans (SDIPs) by all national and provincial departments was compiled.

-The report on implementation of the Batho Pele standards by all national and provincial departments was submitted.

-The report on the inspections and unannounced visits conducted at service sites was complied/

Programme Six: Governance of public administration

The programme had achieved all of its four annual targets:

-The proposal on the establishment of the Head of the National Administration and the Head of the Public Service was developed.

-The guidelines to support the implementation of the revised determination on other remunerative work were developed.

-The report on the adherence by public service employees in national and provincial departments to the directive on conducting business with an organ of state was completed.

-The report on the adherence by designated employees from national and provincial departments to the legislative framework regarding the electronic disclosure of financial interests (e-Disclosure system) was completed.

Financial Information

Total expenditure for each programme

-Programme one had an allocated budget of R244.349 million, and R232.381 million was spent. -Programme two had an allocated budget of R34.410 million, and R32.083 million was spent.

-Programme three had an allocated budget of R73.675 million, and R59.120 million was spent.

-Programme four had an allocated budget of R22.435 million, and R21.277 million was spent.

-Programme five had an allocated budget of R65. 956 million, and R60.886 million was spent.

-Programme six had an allocated budget of R47.947 million, and R44.647 million was spent.

Total expenditure for each economic classification

-The compensation of employees (CoE) had an allocated budget of R303.656 million, and R290.649 million was spent

-Goods and services had an allocated budget of R175.754 million, and R151.959 million was spent.

-Payment for Financial Assets had an allocated budget of R852 000, and R850 000 was spent.

-Transfers and subsidies had an allocated budget of R508.502 million, and R508.244 million was spent. Payment of capital assets had an allocated budget of R4.579 million, and R3.262 million was spent.

Transfers and subsidies

Expenditure as at the end of financial year amounted to R508.244 million, or 99.9% of the allocated budget of R508.502 million. These were mainly transfers to the National School of Government, the Public Service Commission, the Centre for Public Service Innovation, as well as transfers to foreign and international organisations. The transfers also included payments made to households in respect of the leave gratuities.

Payments for capital assets

Expenditure as at end of the financial year was R3.262 million, or 71.2% of the allocated budget of R4.579 million.

30-day payment of invoices

No payment exceeded the 30-day period during the 2019/20 financial year.

Unauthorised, fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure

No unauthorised, fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure was incurred during the 2019/20 financial year.

Human resource management

 As at March 2020, the Department had a vacancy rate of 13.4%, which was above the 10% which government prescribes. The vacancy rate had fluctuated as a result of retirements, transfers, resignations, staff being discharged due to ill-health, and dismissals 

In addition, due to the reduction of the compensation budget by the National Treasury, the Department had prioritised fewer posts to be filled.

The high vacancy was as a result of the filling of posts being put hold until the revised structure had been approved.

After the approval of the macro organisational structure by the Minister in December 2019, the Department had developed a recruitment plan for the filling of all the vacant posts. Significant progress had been made to date on the filling of the posts, in line with the recruitment during the current medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) period. The targeting of senior management service (SMS) posts for women’s appointments was being prioritised, to achieve the national target of 50%.

50%.

Discussion

Mr Senzo Mchunu, Minister of Public Service and Administration, commended the officials who had played a role in the achievement of the clean audit. The DPSA accepted the findings and criticisms of the AG, and noted that there was room for improvement. They were committed to improving as a Department, although this would not be easy, and the Select Committee must give their inputs in the areas of reviewing legislation and a single public administration. The DPSA was concerned about the targets not achieved, and was working hard on improving this.

Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KZN) was concerned about the average time it took to complete a disciplinary enquiry, and the non-availability of chairpersons and initiators. He was aware that there was an initiative to address the issue of their non-availability, and asked the DPSA why it took so long to address this issue because his experience of disciplinary matters told him that one could not start a disciplinary procedure if a chairperson was not available.

He asked the DPSA what political interference they were referring to that delayed disciplinary enquiries, and what were they doing to remove these political interferences. What steps were being put into place to protect witnesses in these enquiries? He requested the DPSA to present the Committee with a full report on the staff doing business with the state, because they needed to know what was happening, as this was draining the resources of the state to a point where they would run out of money. Could they could give the Committee an actual date of when they would conduct a lifestyle audit, because the Western Cape (WC) provincial government had already completed a this audit, and he suggested that the DPSA ask the WC for assistance on this matter.

Mr E Landsman (ANC, North West) asked the DPSA to respond to the issue of the Public Service wage bill, and asked for an update on the graduate entry recruitment in the various provinces. He asked for a detailed response from the DPSA on the implementation of Section 100 in the North West, because it was causing a lot of administration issues.

Ms M Moshodi (ANC, Free State) commended the DPSA for tackling issues on gender by employing almost 50% of women in the Department. She asked the DSPA what the monthly allowance for rent for its employees was, how many employees were overpaid, and why they were overpaid.

The Secretary of the Select Committee read the questions of Ms B Mathevula (EFF, Limpopo). She asked if there were public servants who had seen Covid-19 as an opportunity to steal state resources who had already had been suspended, and how many there were. What was the Department doing to deal with political interference, especially in fraud and corruption cases? She asked what the Department was doing to give women the opportunity to have a leading role in the public sector.

The Chairperson commended the DPSA for achieving a clean audit through achieving its annual targets, but said there was still room for improvement in one of the targets that was not achieved. He asked the DPSA when the programme of a single public service administration would be completed. He wanted clarity on the percentage of women employed, asking if this percentage was a reflection of women employed across the DPSA, and if it included all the provinces. He stressed the importance of programme five, urging that all departments should work together towards the priorities the President had outlined in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) about service delivery. He highlighted the high unemployment rate among graduates, and asked the DPSA about the progress made regarding the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), which was very important considering the country’s role in the African Union. He asked what the status of the Community Work Programme (CWP) was, and if the DPSA had made any engagements to improve this programme.

DPSA’s response

The Minister replied to the questions of Mr Brauteseth on disciplinary enquiries, saying that in the past they had sent out letters reminding executive authorities (EAs), but had now decided to be more proactive. With the help of the National Development Plan (NDP) and the governing body that deals with ethical issues, the DPSA’s arm had been strengthened because they identified issues in the public service and told it where to intervene. The DPSA had had four meetings with premiers and their administrations in the provinces to point out these issues in three departments. Nationally, they needed a group of senior and junior officials -- DGs, DDGs and prosecutors -- to address the issue of chairpersons being unavailable for hearings. This issue arose because of suspending officials before any work was done, and just because one was suspicious of corruption, one suspended officials before the hearings.

He responded to the question of the protection of witnesses by saying that there were two opinions on this matter. The first opinion was around the security cluster, which felt there was not enough legislation to protect witnesses. While they had the legislative framework to protect witnesses, the issue was to manage the protection of witnesses. The second opinion was that they needed to revise and strengthen the provisions of guaranteeing the protection of witnesses, and progress had been made on revising the provisions.

He responded to the question of political interference by saying that crime was “a hard act” which required another hard act to remove it. The implementation of the anti-corruption strategy would prevent EAs from interfering in the administration leading to fraud and corruption, and would rely on law enforcement agencies to ensure that people did not get away with corruption. The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) would assist them with corruption inquiries.

He commented that the Department would use the final court outcome of the case against the Transnet official who had stolen large sums of money to enhance his lifestyle, as an example to show other officials who tried to steal money that this would be the outcome if they tried to do the same.

The Minister responded to the question about the public service wage bill by saying that the Department was trying finalise a plan on how to deal with the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council’s Resolution 1 of 2018 outlining the agreement on the salary adjustments and improvements on conditions of service in the public service, because National Treasury (NT) had said there was no money to cover this particular undertaking. The Department would try anything to come up with a solution to resolve this resolution before the case in the Labour Court on 2 December, and would inform the Committee about its plans at a later stage.

He responded to the question about political interference by saying that the Department was engaging with EAs about their role in the disciplinary procedures, and if they did not do what they were supposed to, they would be held accountable. The EA’s role in disciplinary matters was to check on the progress of the hearings and assist the Department, and not to determine whether or not the official in the hearing was guilty. When the DPSA officials report to the Committee that there had been instances of political interference, this was an indication of what the Department had encountered at the provincial level.

He said the Department was doing everything to promote women into leading roles such as Ministers, Deputy Ministers, DGs and DDGs. It had appointed a new DDG who was female, because there was always a risk that the workforce would be dominated by males.

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) procedures had been disrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and they were busy resuming the programme. In the last month, they had held three conferences. The role of the APRM in the AU was to promote good governance on the continent, to stop any wrong doing, to allow the governments on the continent to be transparent, and to hold the different governments accountable. They were preparing a second generation review, because South Africa was one of the countries due for a second review as it had agreed to be reassessed by the AU. They were on track because the national governing council (NGC) was the governing body handling the affairs of the second generation review.

Ms Makhasi responded to Mr Brauteseth’s question, of bysaying that these issues were due to suspensions, and that the Department relied on reports from human resources (HR) regarding incidents in the provinces. The timelines on disciplinary hearings were clear -- when one suspends an official, one has 60 days to charge them and 90 days to complete the hearing. Disciplinary hearings were delayed because of issues out of the Department’s control, such as employees saying their representative was not available or the employee saying they were sick. The government did not follow procedure, because they suspend officials when there was no case to suspend them, and the Department was investigating the possibility of putting a system in place which made it possible for departments and provinces to alert the DPSA before they suspended officials in order for it to have a reference for each suspension without an intention to interfere, and could therefore still advise the departments on the hearings because of this reference.

The DG responded further to Mr Brauteseth, saying that government processes could be frustrating. In 2014, legislation passed on the Public Administration and Management Act (PAMA). This Act was useless without the regulations that empowered implementation, because it was constructed in a way that there had to be agreement between the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs on any of the regulations that affected public administration. The DPSA had completed its role regarding these regulations and submitted a report, and the matter was being handled by the Minister of the DPSA. He was committed to visiting these ministers to secure their agreement on the regulations.

On the issue of government employees doing business with the state, their had been an improvement in the work being done, especially by the South African Police Service (SAPS), because in the past the DPSA had submitted cases and nothing had been done about them. They received reports and analysis of the files that they sent to the SAPS, and were happy with the progress made. They were sure that the officials working for the state would be held accountable. SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had flagged an issue that the cases were new crimes, and the procedures they followed had caused some delay.

She responded to the question about lifestyle audits by saying that the WC government had contracted a private sector partner to assist with the audit, and the DPSA was engaging with the WC government on how they could complete their lifestyle audit.

She referred to the graduate programme, and said it was still being implemented. The number of graduates entering the programme was declining because National Treasury (NT) had introduced budget cuts, and the DPSA was contracting the interns for 24 months.

She responded to the question on the interventions in terms of section 100 in the North West, and said the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs was working on these interventions, and they would be the right people to report to the Committee on the matter.

The DPSA was committed ensuring that 50% of their workforce was women, but it was hard to maintain this objective because of the recruitment process, and officials moving from department to department.

Regarding the allowances of DPSA’s employees, she said employees who bought a house and applied for an allowance received R1 500 a month. In 2015, the agreement with the unions removed the obligation of the DPSA to give employees who were renting houses an allowance, because they wanted to encourage the employees to own their houses. This group of employees who received allowances before 2015 had continued to receive an allowance of R900 a month, and the remaining amount of R600 was being saved for them by NT. The amount of the savings was R8.4 billion.

S did not know at the moment how many officials had been suspended for using Covid-19 as an opportunity to steal state resources, but the DPSA was engaging with the SIU in gaining access to the information on its database, because the SIU had opened investigations into the officials accused of stealing state resources.

She responded to a question about the Community Work Programme (CWP) by saying that the DPSA would support the programme at policy level, but could not be involved in its implementation because it was a service delivery programme, and would best be handled by the departments that were involved in service delivery.

The Chairperson expressed his gratitude towards the DPSA, the Minister and DM for honouring their commitment, informing the Committee on the progress made on its six programmes. He commended the work they were doing in pointing out officials who were doing business with the state. The DPSA was on the correct track, and the Committee would await the report of the lifestyle audit.

Adoption of Bills

Report of the Select Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure on the Airports Company Amendment Bill [B \5B - 2018] 

The Select Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure, having considered the subject of the Airports Company Amendment Bill [B5B - 2018] (National Assembly – s75), referred to it, and reports that it had agreed to the Bill without amendments.

A. Process followed by the Committee:

-The Bill was referred to the Committee on 3 March 2020

-The Department of Transport briefed the Committee on 26 August 2020.

-The Committee invited the public to submit written submissions by means of advertisements in two national newspapers from 11 October – 2 November 2020. In addition, social media platforms and Parliament’s website were used to invite written comment in all official languages. The Committee did not receive any written submissions on the Bill.

-On 4 November 2020, the Committee deliberated on the Bill. 

-On 18 November 2020, the Committee agreed to the Bill as referred to it.

B. Recommendation

The Select Committee on Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure recommends that the Council adopts this report.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were not in favour of the Bill, nor the Committee’s report thereon.

Ms Mathevula noted that the report was short on the aspect of tightening up its ownership to ensure that it remained a truly South African company because the company was over 70% state-owned, with an Italian company as minority shareholder. In that case, she did not support the report.

The report was adopted.

Report of the Select Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure on the Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company Amendment Bill [B 6B - 2018]

The Select Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure, having considered the subject of the Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company Amendment Bill [B6B - 2018] (National Assembly – s75), referred to it, reports that it had agreed to the Bill without amendments.

A. Process followed by the Committee

-The Bill was referred to the Committee on 3 March 2020.

-The Department of Transport briefed the Committee on 26 August 2020.

-The Committee invited the public to submit written submissions by means of advertisements in two national newspapers from 11 October to 2 November 2020. In addition, social media platforms and Parliament’s website were used to invite written comment in all official languages. The Committee did not receive any written submissions on the Bill.

-On 4 November 2020, the Committee deliberated on the Bill. 

-On 18 November 2020, the Committee agreed to the Bill as referred to it.

B. Recommendation

The Select Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure recommends that the Council adopts this report.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were not in favour of the Bill, nor the Committee’s report thereon.

Ms Mathevula noted that the report did not say much about investment in the expansion of the aviation industry in order to encourage more passengers to use air transport. In that case she did not support the report.

The report was adopted.

Committee minutes

 

The Secretary of the Committee took the Members through the minutes of 21 October, 4 November and 10 November 2020. The minutes were considered and adopted without any amendments.

 

The meeting was adjourned.

 

 

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