Integrated Medium-Term Strategic Framework Monitoring and Reporting System; with Deputy Ministers

Public Service and Administration, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

01 September 2021
Chairperson: Mr T James (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

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The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME/ the Department) briefed the Committee in a virtual meeting on the integrated Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) monitoring and reporting system that tracks progress and supports implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP).

The DPME's presentation covered the integrated monitoring; the 2019-2024 MTSF; the monitoring of the implementation of the MTSF; the integrated monitoring framework; monitoring and reporting systems to track progress and support implementation; monitoring the implementation of the MTSF reporting; Ministerial performance agreements; intervention support; and Operation Phakisa. All of these different systems and reports provided the DPME with different perspectives on performance and improvements within the whole public service, and ultimately contributed towards the Department’s achievement of its NDP and MTSF targets.

Members questioned if departments’ annual performance plans (APPs) and their targets were aligned with the needs of people on the ground, as there was still a serious lack of service delivery, especially in rural communities. They asked what interventions were being used to address service delivery.

Concern was raised that the presentation had not provided a comprehensive and holistic breakdown of the progress of individual government departments’ implementation of the MTSF at a national and provincial level, given that it was less than three years to 2024. Members questioned how these government departments were held accountable, and how the performance of Ministers was monitored.

The Committee claimed the DPME was still unable to identify which departments or municipalities were failing to achieve certain targets, and the reasons for their failures.

Deputy Minister Thembi Siweya responded to the Committee’s frustration with the DPME continuously reporting on its monitoring framework and implementation tools. She proposed that the Department should come back to brief the Committee on its successes with each intervention from July 2019 until 2021, which would enable the Committee to appreciate the work the Department was doing.

Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana confirmed that Minister Gungubele was embarking on reforms covering the whole value chain of planning, monitoring and evaluation. One of the immediate plans was to have a slot in the Forum of South African Directors-General, to share the District Development Model approach with them as part of their monitoring and evaluation programme.

The Committee undertook to invite the DPME back to address all the complaints received through  the Presidential Hotline, including the Department’s responses and actions it had taken to address them.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed all to the virtual meeting, and extended a special welcome to the two new Members of the Committee, Ms G Mukwevho (ANC) and Ms T Mgweba (ANC),.

He wished Ms R Lesoma (ANC) well in her new role, as she had been deployed to another committee.

Apologies were recorded from Mr Mondli Gungubele, the Minister in the Presidency, and Mr J McGluwa (DA).

The Chairperson said two agenda items were due to be discussed in this virtual meeting:

-A briefing by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) on the integrated medium-term strategic framework (MTSF) monitoring and reporting system that tracks progress and supports implementation; and

-A briefing by the Minister in the Presidency and the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) on the repositioning and progress regarding the merger of Brand South Africa and Tourism South Africa.

However, the Chairperson’s Office had received a letter from Minister Gungubele on 26 August, requesting a postponement of the second item. This was to allow him sufficient time to meet with the Brand SA Board to familiarise himself with the pros and cons of the proposed repositioning and merger. The Committee would reschedule this agenda item in the next quarter.

The Chairperson invited the Deputy Ministers (DMs) in the DPME to make opening remarks.

Deputy Minister’s opening remarks

Ms Thembi Siweya, DM in the Presidency, said she would lead the team. She acknowledged the presence of fellow DM in the Presidency, Ms Pinky Kekana, in the virtual meeting and greeted all colleagues and Members.

She said the Director-General (DG) and his team would lead the presentation. The report would look at the integrated MTSF, monitoring and reporting systems to track progress and support implementation; the monitoring of implementation of the MTSF reporting; the integrated monitoring framework, Ministerial performance agreements (MPAs), intervention support, Operation Phakisa, and the Presidential Hotline.

DM Siweya asked the DPME team to provide more details on this. She extended her welcome to the two new Members in the Committee, and handed over to the DG to provide further details.

DPME: Integrated MTSF monitoring and reporting system

Mr Robert Nkuna, DG, DPME, said he welcomed the opportunity to brief the Committee on this important matter. The focus of the presentation on integrated monitoring was one of the key deliverables of the Department.

Mr Henk Serfontein, Deputy Director-General (DDG): Frontline Monitoring, DPME, took the Committee through the presentation.

He said the introduction would outline the integrated monitoring tools that were used in the DPME. The DPME acknowledged that it could improve these systems and how it moved forward.

Some of its monitoring tools include:

  • The Programme of Action (POA) for monitoring the implementation of the MTSF.
  • The Operation Phakisa initiative, which was based on the Malaysian "big fast results" approach, to consider how the DPME could fast-track the development and improvement of service. It was about selecting a few key projects and then fast-tracking the implementation of those initiatives or projects.
  • The Local Government Management Improvement Model (LGMIM), to assess the capabilitiy of municipalities to deliver basic services. The DPME selects some municipalities every year to go through a process of analysis to assess its capabilities. It then develops improvement plans and monitors those improvements.
  • Institutional (national and provincial departments, public entities) and individual (Ministers and heads of departments) performance monitoring. For the HODs, the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) was responsible for the policy on their performance management, and the DPME implemented that policy.
  • Frontline service delivery monitoring (FSDM), including the Presidential Hotline, to assess the level and quality of services provided to citizens by state institutions.

Sector monitoring cluster products

The DPME intends to integrate all the reports listed below sector monitoring on slide 3 into its bi-annual MTSF report. The DPME was committed to undertake the gender-based violence (GBV) and the Covid-19 vaccination rollout reports. It had scorecards for Ministers that would be presented to the President, and Cabinet Memo briefings.

Sector monitoring and public sector monitoring (PSM) were the two branches within the DPME. The PSM looked at the capable state, which had particular reports and deliverables listed on slide 3.

Integrated Monitoring

All the reports and different systems would provide the DPME with different perspectives on performance and improvements within the whole public service. Its overall goal and strategy were to ensure implementation of the MTSF – all the tools and work would ultimately contribute towards the DPME’s achievement of its national development plan (NDP) and MTSF targets.

Typically, its sector branch with the programme of action (POA) report would speak directly to the MTSF targets, and its frontline reports and units would provide it with a perspective of the citizens. For instance, in the building of houses and schools, it would get the perspective through its frontline engagements to ascertain if citizens were in agreement with what the public service reports to the DPME. The frontline units would enable it to consider and verify issues such as whether schools were built in the right areas, or if there were issues with a school, or if the taps were installed, and so forth.

In the DPME’s institutional performance monitoring, it would try to assess if the state’s capabilities existed to deliver against the MTSF targets and indicators. Typically, a lot of MTSF targets were delivered by local government, and the DPME would then assess if the local government and municipalities were capable of implementing those targets. Through its local government management improvement model (LGMIM) system, it would try to understand the challenges and the reasons local government could not assist, and it would initiate interventions to assist to ensure local government had the capabilities to perform. All DPME systems therefore needed to contribute towards achieving its NDP and MTSF targets.  

2019-2024 MTSF

The MTSF was based on the NDP, and was the five-year plan for the implementation towards the NDP 2030 targets. A 25-year review was undertaken at the end of each term, which would inform the next five-year plan for implementation, and it was aligned with the elections.

The DPME manages the short-term and medium-term planning within departments, and it issues the framework and guidelines on how to undertake planning. These departments were required to adopt and factor these MTSF targets into their annual and strategic plans.

The Covid-19 pandemic required the diversion of some funding towards the economic support systems and the initiatives to cope with the pandemic. The DPME had had to reprioritise and relook at its MTSF for 2019-2024 in view of the pandemic and the unrest in July 2021.

Critical actions needed to be taken within the MTSF on the outputs that must be generated for the DPME to realise the outcomes and impact it foresees. The following seven priorities were set by the NDP, the 25-year review, and the electoral mandate which was confirmed in the State of the Nation Address (SONA):

  1. Preconditions for success (energy, water, rail, ports, climate change).
  2. Transforming the economy to serve the people.
  3. Advance social transformation.
  4. Build safer communities, fight corruption, and promote integrity.
  5. Strengthen governance and public institutions.
  6. Build national unity and embrace diversity.
  7. South Africa, Africa and the world.

Mr Serfontein clarified that the NDP embodied the impact and outcomes that the DPME sought to achieve, and the MTSF was the five-year plan. It also had sector plans, delivery agreements, performance agreements with individuals, and the NDP, where it endeavours to see the theory of change that it was producing the right outputs to ensure all of these plans were aligned.  

He unpacked the seven priorities, and the Cluster and Portfolio Department responsible for each target on slide 9.

Monitoring of implementation of MTSF

The DPME works with other core departments and utilises Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) for secondary data. These institutions provide the DPME with data that supports, confirms, or denies claims and the reports it receives from departments via the clusters mentioned in slide 9. The Department also goes out to the frontlines to verify if citizens and frontline staff share and support those findings reported by departments.

It started by embarking on tracking state-owned companies (SOCs) and public entities, as these were part of the capabilities of the state. In many cases, the DPME transfers the mandates and functions to entities to perform on behalf of departments. It was therefore working on improving these entities’ governance and performance through its monitoring.

The policy frameworks for women, people with disabilities, and youth development were all integrated into the DPME’s monitoring system. There was often a requirement to have gender budgets and plans in place within the DPME’s performance agreements with Ministers. This information would enable it to verify and triangulate its data to arrive at the correct point. It was also utilising some of the Government Communication and Information System's (GCIS’s) data to ensure it had the correct picture in place.

Integrated monitoring framework

The quarterly progress reporting (QPR) was a system where departments would report on a quarterly basis against their annual performance plans (APPs). If departments were capturing the MTSF targets into their APPs, the DPME was then able to monitor the implementation against those MTSF targets on a quarterly basis.

Ministerial performance agreements

The President concluded agreements with all ministers in October 2020. There were different responsibility areas in the Ministerial performance agreement (MPA), where the MTSF was the first key responsibility area, and the ministries directly contribute to the MTSF achievement of those targets.

The DPME was in the process of populating the report cards based on the performance until 31 March 2021, and on the bi-annual report that the DPME produced at the end of the last financial year. These report cards would be sent for consultation with the specific ministries and subsequent to finalising the analysis and reports, the DPME would then submit them to the President.

Intervention Support   

When the DPME undertakes the analysis and discovers challenges or blockages within the system, it goes through a whole process on how it could be supported to ensure it achieves its targets. This was done in collaboration with the relevant departments and the centre of government as it moves forward.

Operation Phakisa 

The government adopted this approach to accelerate delivery on the national priorities espoused in the NDP 2030, based on the DPME’s learnings obtained from the Malaysian Big Fast Results approach. It stimulates innovation and pioneering approaches, and importantly it brings all the relevant parties together, which accelerates the development of strategies and unblocking of obstacles.

Operation Phakisa would strengthen accountability and transparency, and especially accelerate service delivery. There were some achievements in the marine and ocean economy, as well as in other areas. The Minister was responsible to oversee this implementation.

The DPME concluded its presentation and handed back to the Chairperson.

Discussion

Ms M Ntuli (ANC) said the presentation on the MTSF was very critical of the public service, and the Government was in a position to ascertain if this box was ticked. She thanked the DPME for the informative report and for informing the Committee on what it was monitoring.

How closely did the DPME monitor departmental APPs? For her, the performance and reports should be determined by the service delivery on the ground, if the provinces and local government were meeting their APPs and targets. What tools did it use to scrutinise if departments were doing their work?

What referred to the local government impact that indicates that the DPME was able to reduce departments called by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA)? For instance, on the water supply by districts to local municipalities, this was still one of the challenges that people continued to experience on the ground. She clarified that her question was to ascertain if these APPs and targets met the needs of the people on the ground.

The Presidential Hotline was very important, as this was often the last resort for citizens. What interventions were done through this Hotline? She asked the DPME to provide examples of one or two provinces, to assure the Committee that the Presidential Hotline was working to serve South Africans and to reposition South Africa as a capable state. She recalled that some time between 2004 to 2009, the Chief Whip of the Opposition had brought a cake with one candle into the Chamber to mark his one-year anniversary of failing to meet the President.

What measures had been implemented to address window dressing APPs and targets? Departments would present sophisticated documents on their measures and plans in place, but they often failed to meet such targets.   

Ms T Mgweba (ANC) welcomed the detailed presentation and the DPME’s work in progress. The Department had highlighted a challenge of alignment between the medium-term and short-term plans of the NDP and sector plans. What mechanisms were put in place to assist the sector departments, including municipalities, to ensure all government plans were aligned with the NPD?

On the monitoring of implementation in the MTSF report slide, the service delivery challenges facing the state highlighted the need for government to use reasonable methods to monitor and evaluate the performance of public institutions against the implementation of the NDP’s MTSF. With the existence of the NDP, how did the DPME manage data collection and the monitoring of performance information of the NDP? How did it intend to deliver the objectives of the Vision 2030?

In view of the MPA against the implementation of the NDP, were the MPAs aligned with those of the HODs and the implementation of the NDP’s MTSF?  What was the integration between the integrated monitoring framework and the MPA in performance indicators?

Ms C Motsepe (EFF) asked if the integrated monitoring framework was used in all provinces. How often was the website updated? Was the DPME certain that all rural areas were familiar with the website? What was the status on the progress, specifically in the rural areas? Were there adequate facilities and resources in these rural areas to utilise this tool? The NDP had been in existence for over nine years -- how was the DPME collecting data? What were the grounds to improve or change its methods?  

Mr M Malatsi (DA) said his question was about what the DPME could do in its compilation of the review and performance of the MTSF and the NDP. Given that Ministers were appointed at the pleasure of the President, what went into the reporting? To clarify, what went into it that went towards the presence in the review of the targets set out in the performance agreements, and the performance of the Ministers in their departments.

What happened in cases where there was under-performance against those targets? What was the thought process on the framing of such recommendations towards the Presidency on areas of under-performance?

What could be done to ensure the performance was aligned with the MTSF timeline and the execution of the NDP goals, to ensure that these performance agreements did not become a box-ticking exercise? Those agreements were public, but the reviews on them was not. What informed departments through their monitoring and tracking of under-delivery, where it existed, and its recommendations on how that under-delivery could move at the right pace to ensure the set targets were achieved? Most importantly, what happened when those targets were not met for the period under review?

Ms R Komane (EFF) echoed Mr Malatsi’s comments, as the Ministers acknowledged that they were appointed through the pleasure of the President. However, she questioned the DPME’s trust in monitoring the performance of these Ministers. How was the under-performance or the non-performance of those Ministers measured?

The presentation indicated the DPME tracks whether the plans are translated into service delivery programmes, especially in provinces and municipalities. In view of the serious issue of service delivery, how did it monitor this? Was the DPME also part of the planning process? What measures were used in monitoring? What interventions were used to address service delivery?

Given that the DPME tracks the performance of state entities, how does it track the performance of those SOCs to assist them? How was it preventing these SOCs from under-performing and going into liquidation?

What was the progress on the mainstreaming and tracking the implementation of policy frameworks to monitor women, people with disabilities, and youth development, as this was a very serious issue?

Dr M Gondwe (DA) had expected the Committee to receive a comprehensive and a holistic breakdown of how the individual government departments, at the national and provincial level, were progressing in the implementation of the MTSF. It was less than three years to 2024, and there was still no understanding on this, which was informed by the NDP – the blueprint for the country’s development. She was concerned that this had still not been communicated clearly in the presentation. In the absence of this, how could the President be expected to measure and assess the performance of the various Ministers? How would these government departments be accountable? It was imperative for these departments to ensure that whatever they were doing was aligned to the MTSF and that they achieved the objectives of the MTSF NDP.

How did the DPME gauge the effectiveness of its various monitoring tools and systems? She questioned if it was really feeling the benefit of these monitoring and assessment tools.   

Given the two branches within the DPME that were charged with monitoring, could the Department provide specific details on these branches and their core responsibilities? How did it ensure there was synergy and coordination between these two branches within the DPME?

Inkosi R Cebekhulu (IFP) raised concern that the Committee had been fed with reports that the Department was monitoring the performance of provinces and local government, only to discover that things were still not going as expected. By now, it should be in a position to identify which departments or municipalities were failing to achieve certain targets and the reasons for this, instead of merely stating it was monitoring, without achieving any positive outcomes.

For quite a long time now, there had been a complaint about the water services in municipalities in rural areas. Reports that emerged from the Department of Water and Sanitation in previous years had claimed that the local governments were utilising the services of water tankers to provide water in rural areas. While there was infrastructure in these areas, it endeavoured to ensure the continuous use of the water tankers. In some municipalities, there were contracts to provide water in the area, but they would end up paying for more than that. For instance, six were contracted to work, but 12 or 15 trucks were used and paid for, to provide those services. What was the DPME doing in view of these kinds of practices by certain municipalities, where the funds were being squandered to provide kickbacks to colleagues?

There was an ongoing practice where the provinces were claiming it was taking Parliament to the people by hiring catering companies and offering big tenders. Those funds should instead be utilised for proper service delivery, yet they were often channelled to enrich those connected to the people in power.

The issue of security in the country was concerning. On the DPME’s role in building safer communities and fighting corruption in the country, was it doing a proper job in monitoring and reporting to the Presidency on the steps that were being taken to quell those unnecessary wasteful expenditures?

DPME's responses

DM Siweya

DM Siweya responded to Ms Ntuli’s question on the Presidential Hotline. In most cases, when the DPME conducts a surprise or a planned frontline monitoring, it took the concerns from the Hotline. For instance, the DPME might intervene because there was no water in a particular community. It would then go back at a specific time to re-check and alert the relevant department to follow-up. A more recent example was when the Department went to the Randburg Magistrates Court two weeks ago, as it had received a complaint from the Presidential Hotline that victims of GBV stood in queues for a long time and were not given attention. It also did a surprise monitoring visit which addressed the question of corruption in the departments and of counsellors. It had therefore been able to intervene, and it could share some of these success stories. Another example was where it had received a complaint from the Hotline that a councillor had been given a Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) house and had demolished it to build a double-storey structure. The Department was able to verify if it was true to inform the police to escalate this matter, and let the law take its course.

In this sixth administration, the DPME had seven priorities that it derived from the NDP. It had to assess what the fifth administration had been doing and to review where the shortfalls were. This therefore informed the seven priorities expressed in the MTSF. Unfortunately, the MTSF had had to be reviewed because of unforeseen circumstances. The two major reasons that informed the DPME to review the MTSF involved the July 2021 riots and the Covid-19 pandemic, which the Department had not foreseen. This process was under way, so that the Department was able to respond to the current challenges from the MTSF, and could then guide departments in their planning from the seven priorities. For instance, with the Department of Health or Water and Sanitation, the DPME could indicate what the seven priorities involved in each case were so that it could produce its APPs.

DM Siweya asked the DPME team to simplify their language to avoid misunderstandings. The frameworks in the report, through an internal channel in the DPME, should guide it to consider if departments’ APPs were aligned, and if it could follow-up on it. This also meant the performance of DGs were aligned with the APPs and, most importantly for the MTSF, it could respond directly to the targets and the NDP.

On the MTSF and the NDP challenges of alignment by Ms Mgweba, she said there was not necessarily a challenge of alignment. The DPME had had to review the MTSF because of the pandemic. In 2020, there had been a review of the tabling of the NDP to check the DPME’s progress halfway through the nine years. This alignment had continued to happen, so it could assist this sixth administration. It was important to note that the NDP had many targets was when it was established. However, the DPME had managed to reduce these over time as it continued to reflect on its progress in achieving the targets, and where it could improve. Departmental programmes were therefore aligned to the NDP in this context.

On the integrated monitoring tool referred to by Ms Motsepe, given the three spheres of government, this involved the same process mentioned earlier. When departments understand the MTSF and how its APPs should be, they are then able to cascade it to the local sphere. For instance, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) could go to a local government or municipality to ensure there was alignment. This reporting model and system existed in every department, which went back to the national department to ensure alignment.

How often did the DPME update the website? It updated it daily. For instance, it had released a statement sometime between 31 August 2021 and early 1 September 2021. The website would indicate the performance of Ministers and Deputy Ministers with the President through the work they had done. The DPME had decided to publish this online so that the public could hold its officials accountable. DM Siweya said she did not understand Ms Motsepe’s question as to how rural areas utilised this tool.

How did the DPME collect data? It had different institutions that collect data, such as Stats SA and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). However, it also collects data itself. Most importantly, it decided to digitalise the Presidential Hotline. Previously, people could send only an email or call when the Hotline was founded, but with the digitalisation, they were now given an unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) number. This meant that even if people were in a rural area and did not have a smartphone, they were still able to lodge a complaint via the USSD code. This process ensured that the DPME interacts with the people who may not be able to provide it with data through the use of technology, or via information communication technology (ICT).

Through this digitalisation, the DPME had launched the Khawuleza mobile App, as people, especially young people, were mostly on their cellphones. For instance, a person had posted a complaint in the app of a picture of the queue at the Randburg Magistrates Court, noted the time they were there, and stated that it was their third day of waiting. This form of evidence had assisted the DPME, and it continued to receive compliments and complaints through this process. DM Siweya emphasised that the Department should respond in simplified terms, as it also had its own internal capacity and outcome facilitators for different sectors such as health and so forth.

In all of this, Members should note that the DPME assists departments, collects reports, and goes back to those departments to show it where they need to correct. It was the departments and the political principals’ responsibility to ensure that the DPME’s reports were implemented. The DPME could assist only by writing and informing them, as well as through its monitoring framework, to ensure they achieves their targets. It would also remind the political principals, who were aware of their agreement, about their commitment to ensure that they implement the recommendations pointed out by the DPME. If they did not implement them, they had to account to their employer – the President.

In response to Mr Malatsi’s question on what went into the reporting of Ministers, this had already been explained. In the DPME for instance, DM Siweya had been given the responsibility for frontline monitoring of entities such as Brand SA and Stats SA. The MTSF would then stipulate, for instance, under the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), where community radio stations were found, its plans to redress the past, funding for those who had not been funded, and so forth. This was the DM’s performance requirement, and the Department would assess her on this when it conducted its assessment. She confirmed that this was credible, as the DPME was independent regardless of her ability to perform. The performance of the DPME therefore depended on her role as the DM and through the correct laws in the institution, to enable it to perform well. It was important for her to have APPs and quarterly financial reports to reflect on her team’s ability to live up to the expectations.

On the under-performance of ministers, the employer – the President -- would decide if the DM was under-performing. The DPME continued to write honest reports and submits them to the relevant departments.

The NDP goals with the seven priorities of the sixth administration were an expression that was found in the NDP. It was aware that the end of the NDP was approaching, and it questioned where it could strengthen and improve. This informed the seven priorities which were found in the DPME’s agreement in the MTSF. Even with the review of the MTSF and given the impact of Covid-19 and those seven priorities, the DPME could assist departments on where it required improvement due to the pandemic. For instance, the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) was a product of reviewing the MTSF due to Covid-19 and the areas in departments that required attention so that it could ultimately achieve the targets of the NDP.  

In response to Ms Komane’s question on the DPME’s trust in monitoring performance, the DPME trusted that it was able to write the reports and that they would be taken to the relevant department, and it trusted the complaints of the Presidential Hotline. For instance, if there were complaints that a teacher was stealing food parcels, it trusted that this problem would be escalated to the relevant department to address it.

DM Siweya asked the team to unpack slide 15 on the intervention monitoring support. Members would note this was a second slide that contained all the measures that the DPME undertakes. For instance, if a Child Protection Act was tabled, the DPME could review it to see if it covered what it sought to address, and would thereafter inform the department where it should improve. Departments were also able to approach the DPME to request it to review its implementation of a particular Act, and to identify the shortfalls. However, the responsibility remained with the departments if the legislation needed to be strengthened, given that the DPME had informed it.

She asked the DG and the team to note Ms Komane’s question and take it to the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) to provide information on the specific numbers and some of the programmes it was implementing. The DPME would come back to the Committee with the correct information, as this ministry was with Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

In response to Dr Gondwe, DM Siweya proposed that the DPME should come back another day and spend two hours briefing the Committee on its successes of each of its intervention from July 2019 until 2021. She noted the Committee’s frustration with the DPME continuously reporting on its monitoring framework and implementation tools, and addressing the same questions, but this was because Members kept asking the same questions. Unpacking the DPME’s intervention support and successes would enable the Committee to appreciate the work the Department was undertaking, as it was doing a lot.

On the two branches within the DPME, there was the frontline service delivery monitoring (FSDM), under which the Presidential Hotline falls in the structure of the Department’s organogram. The DG and his team would expand more on the two branches and their effectiveness.

The DPME noted Inkosi Cebekhulu's concerns. There was a DPME unit or component in each Office of the Premier (OTP) in the provinces. However, it was not called the DPME in other institutions -- it was referred to as something else. Those units were directly linked, and reported to outcome facilitators who were based at the head office – in this case, in the Presidency in the DPME. They conducted the same service of dealing with complaints, and so forth. In Limpopo’s OTP, for instance, the province has a hotline; a DPME unit; it undertakes frontline monitoring and collects complaints from the public; and it assists its provincial departments with planning, producing documents, and with producing its own APPs to align its targets to the MTSF’s targets, which then informs the seven priorities and subsequently the planning of departments. This coordination was brought back to the DPME to assist. In other instances, the DPME also assists in policy intervention. For instance, the section 100 intervention in the North West province came through a channel of a concern that escalated to the National Department. This had assisted the national DPME to decide on placing the department under section 100.   

DM Siweya invited DM Kekana to make additional comments, which would then be followed by the DPME team to provide more details. She reiterated that her team should simplify the presentation so that the Committee could understand it clearly.   

Deputy Minister Kekana

Given Members’ concerns, DM Kekana said she would provide the reforms that Minister Gungubele wanted the DPME to discuss. While Members were aware that it was almost in the middle of its MTSF implementation, Cabinet had adopted the District Development Model (DDM) that would assist the three spheres of government to integrate its service delivery programme. The DPME’s integrated MTSF monitoring and reporting should also institutionalise the DDM.

She said Minister Gungubele was embarking on reforms throughout the whole value chain of planning, monitoring, and evaluation. One of the immediate things he wanted to embark on was to have a slot in the Forum of South African Directors-General (FOSAD) in order to share the approach with the DGs on how they should integrate the DDM as part of the DPME’s monitoring and evaluation programme. He had said the DPME needed to have a national perspective on things that had to be done. It was aware of the seven priorities, and all of them should address issues such as poverty, inequality and unemployment, for example. This also speaks to what the NDP addresses. Fortunately, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Agenda 2063 issues find expression in the NDP. The Minister had said that in using unemployment, inequality and poverty as part of what the seven priorities should respond to, it would also speak to Members’ concerns -- for instance, on how women’s’ challenges would be addressed, the unemployment of young people and people with disabilities. That call indicated that all departments’ plans must respond to the call.

The Minister’s directive was for the DPME to reposition itself and become an authentication station. Everything that the President said and the pronouncements that he made in the SONA must always find expression in departments’ plans and APPs. This would ensure that when the DPME monitors and evaluates, it was certain that those targets were aligned to the seven priorities and the President’s pronouncements, so that it could hold everyone accountable.

Minister Gungubele’s approach in the past few weeks had been a call for the DPME to interrogate its plans and their implementation internally so that it could ultimately see and feel the impact. The DPME’s bi-annual report should also indicate if it was making an impact or not, even before Stats SA or any other institution was able to provide this information. The DPME wanted to reposition itself to lead better in planning, monitoring, and evaluation. It maintained that the reforms the Minister spoke to would prepare the Department for the next APP so that it was better positioned and aware of the impact at the end of the MTSF. This would ensure that it was responding to the key issues that all South Africans participated in when this blueprint was established, as it continued to implement the NDP.

Director-General

Mr Nkuna said most of the issues had been covered by the two DMs.

In response to Inkosi Cebekhulu on the anti-corruption effort, a lot of work had been done. The DPME had adopted the national anti-corruption strategy which had gone through Cabinet, the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), and other forums of partners. This strategy was currently being implemented, and the DPME was introducing the establishment of an anti-corruption advisory council as one of the interventions, as announced by the President in the SONA. It was taking a countrywide approach so that it was not only a government effort, but also involved other stakeholders in society.

The other issue on corruption was the work the DPME was doing on the vaccine rollout. A lot of work was being done to mitigate the challenges it may face, using earlier experiences in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE). It had a mechanism that had been institutionalised, working together with many organisations internally and outside of government, including Corruption Watch. The DPME reported regularly to the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), chaired by the Deputy President, Mr David Mabuza, and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was also involved in the process. A lot of communication went out to indicate the SIU’s progress in dealing with some of the cases that had been identified. National Treasury was also doing a lot of work to mitigate challenges. Overall, the DPME had a foolproof mechanism to mitigate corruption in the vaccine rollout. While there may be occasional challenges, it believed that it had what was required.

In response to Dr Gondwe, he said the DPME could bring the first quarter report to indicate its progress in the performance of individual government departments. Its last report, which focused on the last financial year, had been presented to Cabinet in June, but the DPME could come back to the Committee if it required specific details. The Department assessed its tools, hence the discussions on reforming the system to operate optimally. The DPME could indicate what it had done the next time it presented before the Committee.

Responding to Ms Komane, he said the DPME mainly monitored the work of those who were charged with ensuring that SOCs worked better. While there were government departments that were responsible for SOC oversight, the DPME exercised oversight on departments, as it did not want to duplicate the work of those government departments. The departments therefore assessed the entities, and the DPME assesses the work the departments were doing, and it could share more details on what it identified. Mr Nkuna confirmed that many of the SOCs were facing challenges, and the DPME had to move with the necessary speed to repurpose most them. The President had led by example in the way that the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) was being reformed to enhance efficiency in that space. Learning from the President’s example with the TNPA, the DPME believed it could also have similar approaches in other areas, as most of its SOCs were facing challenges.

In response to Ms Ntuli, he said the DPME worked in the provinces and had been meeting with all the provinces to address the alignment issues. It also checked the APPs of provinces to ensure there was alignment with what the DPME was doing at the national level, as well as throughout the value chain. This work was very important for the DDM, as it was not only about local government but rather about all spheres working together. The DPME was intervening decisively to ensure the three spheres were aligned in its plans. It had therefore developed due referencing guidelines to ensure that all projects that were implemented by the different spheres of government were adequately referenced. The DPME was willing to share that information on the projects that had been referenced, but it was aware that some of the departments had not completed the due referencing of projects.

On the issue of the ministerial performance raised by Ms Mgweba, he said one of the requirements for Ministers was to ensure that their departments performed. If departments did not perform, this then became part of the scorecard of a particular Minister. Members should note that this was the first time the DPME had done this. It was currently working on the first report that would go to the President in the next few weeks, which would account for the performance of departments. The report would also indicate pointers of the extent that the performance aligned with the DPME’s commitments in the MTSF. After the conclusion of the entire process, the President would give an indication to the public on what had happened, and the state of performance of the Executive.   

Mr Nkuna handed over to Mr Serfontein to respond to Ms Motsepe’s question on citizens’ monitoring. He commented that Mr Malatsi’s question on the performance of Ministers had been addressed, and said Dr Neeta Behari, (Head: Presidential Frontline Service Delivery Monitoring and Support), would address the question on the Presidential Hotline.

The Chairperson interjected. On the Presidential Hotline, DM Siweya had already indicated that she would come back to take the Committee through the complaints reported on the Hotline, and the actions the DPME had taken to address those complaints. Due to time, he asked Mr Serfontein not to address this matter in this meeting, as the Committee would invite the DPME to specifically address all the complaints in the Presidential Hotline and the Department’s responses and actions it had taken.

Mr Nkuna responded to the issue on citizens’ monitoring. Given the DPME’s limited resources, it tried to go out to the public to get the voices of citizens on the different areas of performance of government. It was willing to share some of the insights that had emerged from this.  

Concluding remarks

Ms Motsepe referred to the DM’s remark that Members asked the same questions. Members posed questions that should be answered by the Department, but if the responses to those questions were not sufficient, then Members would continue to ask the same questions until they were satisfied with the response.  

The Chairperson said Ms Motsepe was protected, as it was her right as a Member of the Committee to continuously raise questions if she was not satisfied with the response. The DPME should not be frustrated about this, as the Committee had to undertake its oversight role over the Department.

He thanked Members for their participation in the meeting, and noted the Committee would invite the DM back to address it on the Presidential Hotline. He would ask the Secretariat to organise this.

He extended his appreciation to all Members and the DMs before adjourning the meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.

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