The Committee convened on a virtual platform to adopt the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Reports (BRRR) for Department of Public Service and Administration, National School of Government, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME); Public Service Commission and Statistics South Africa.
The Committee discussed the performance of the Department portfolio ensuring that the findings and recommendations of the Committee BRRRs were robust. The following amendments were made; the Committee should not endorse high vacancy rates beyond 10%, the 165 000 StatsSA field workers should be used only in remote rural areas and places where connectivity is a problem, the Committee should visit the Presidential Hotline to experience the new developments, the Committee should commend DPME for the 41% women occupying senior positions, and Brand SA should report by June 2022 on strengthening its strategy to market South Africa to international markets by covering its positive developments.
The Committee Researcher, Mr Mlungisi Biyela, took the Committee through the five BRRRs
Department of Public Service and Administration BRRR
Ms M Kibi (ANC) welcomed the report and asked for clarity on Recommendation 12.5:
"The Department should devise a strategy to address challenges regarding internal controls as reported by the Auditor-General, especially regarding management of contracts, to ensure that certain employees do not continue to work after their contracts should have expired."
Mr Biyela replied that it was pointed out by both the Auditor-General and the Director General in the Annual Report that there were employees whose contracts were short term for five years. When the contracts expired, they continued to get paid by the Department, which created unnecessary expenditure
Ms T Mgweba (ANC) stated that the BRRR needed no amendments.
National School of Government BRRR
Ms Kibi stated that the BRRR did not need any amendments.
Public Service Commission BRRR
Mr J McGluwa (DA) expressed concern with the wording in the Findings. He suggested in future that the BRRR does not use the phrase ‘The Committee’ because there are situations where not all committee members are in agreement. He suggested the phrase ‘Some Members’ should be used.
Statistics South Africa BRRR
Dr L Schreiber (DA) asked that the wording be rearranged as it seemed as if the Committee is endorsing high vacancy rates, he proposed they change it to: ‘but this should not come at a cost of increasing the vacancy rate beyond 10%’.
Mr McGluwa noted support for Point 9.4 which states StatsSA wants to move away from face to face contact due to Covid-19. However, Point 9.8 speaks about 165 000 field workers. These two points contradict one another. One wants to avoid face to face contact yet they have 165 000 field workers. He proposed 9.8 read: The field workers will be utilized in the far rural remote areas which suffer from connectivity issues.
Mr S Malatsi (DA) proposed suggested using the word "appoint" 165 000 field workers in 9.8 of the BRRR.
Mr Biyela read out the proposed amendment in 9.8 ‘In terms of selection criteria for field workers, preference will be given to candidates with experience in data collection especially in rural areas and where connectivity does not exist’. This amendment will supplement and address the concern and create a sense of a balance.
Mr McGluwa agreed to the supplemented sentence.
Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) BRRR
Mr McGluwa pointed to 9.4 of the BRRR. He had been privileged to visit the Presidential Hotline. He suggested the following recommendation: ‘The Committee strongly consider paying a visit to the Presidential Hotline during its oversight period to experience the new developments as reported by the Department.’
Mr McGluwa noted that 10.9 states that Brand South Africa should strengthen its approach or strategy to market the National Brand to the international markets by covering a wide spectrum on positive developments happening in the country. This was a very important point. He suggested Brand SA should come and report on how they have dealt with this by adding: "and report to the Committee by June 2022".
Ms Kibi said that the achievement in 9.3 should be noted. DPME achieved 41% for women occupying senior positions. The Committee should commend DPME for this achievement.
The Committee approved the five BRRRs and the Chairperson thanked the Committee for their robust engagement.
The meeting was adjourned
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