The Portfolio Committee met with the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) for a briefing on the Auditor-General South Africa’s findings, and the DWYPD’s briefing on its Annual Performance Plan for 2022/23
The AGSA presentation covered included a proactive draft of the DWYPD’s APP which identified the Department’s plans that were not measurable as a result of performance indicators not being clearly defined. They also presented on the National Youth Development Agency’s APP and identified programmes where performance indicators had not been clearly defined.
The AGSA then made recommendations to the Portfolio Committee on items they should regularly follow up on during the departmental oversight. They also shared the importance of preventative controls as well as how these could be implemented by the Department.
The DWYPD presented its annual performance plan to the Committee. This included the reallocation of funds across different programmes, as well as a restructuring of their organisational structure. They presented their updated APP, strategic budget and allocations and the human resource function and the outline of their organisational structure. This also included the use of consultants.
The Committee struggled to understand the reallocation of the budget as well as the new programme structures presented by the Department. They asked for a justification of the reasons why programmes four and five were being combined as they used to deal with Youth and Persons with Disabilities separately since they faced different issues.
The Committee questioned the Department’s compliance as budgetary changes needed to be approved by National Treasury, and they were not permitted to be as a result of organisational priority changes. This was not in line with the guidelines set out by National Treasury.
The Department claimed to have received approval from National Treasury in August 2021, and the Committee requested that they share this approval document with it.
Another issue raised was the Department reporting the oversight of the NYDA as part of its duties, as this conflicted with the Committee’s role of providing oversight to departments.
The Committee was also not satisfied with the Department’s approach to gender-based violence and femicide as it was failing to deal with the root cause of the problem.
AGSA Review of APPs for NYDA and DWYPD guidance on preventative controls
Ms M Mashego, Office of the AGSA, shared the AGSA findings with the Portfolio Committee. These included the following:
A proactive review of the DWYPD draft APP for 2022/23
• Indicators reviewed per programme
• The measurability of the key indicators for each of the programmes
• The various programmes
• Reasons for the nature of the findings
A proactive review of the NYDA draft APP for 2022/23
• Indicators reviewed per programme
• Measurability of key indicators for each programme
• The various programmes
• Reasons for the nature of the findings
Recommendations to the Portfolio Committee
• Follow up on the DWYPD wasteful and fruitless expenditure
• Monitor consequence management
• Progress on audit action plans put in place by the Department and both entities
• Audit recommendations on IT matters needed to be implemented urgently
The programmes identified had no targets, so measuring completion would be difficult. The presentation also included key commitments and progress by the DWYPD and the NYDA, as well as preventative controls and the fundamental principles they were reliant upon to be effective,
Please see the presentation document for more details.
Chairperson opening comments
The Chairperson officially opened the meeting after the AGSA presentation. She welcomed Members of the Committee as well as those from the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD).
The Chairperson brought to light the headline of Hillary Gardee, a young woman who had gone missing with her three-year-old child in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. They had gone shopping a week ago and had been reported missing since then. The three-year-old was found in the morning in Nelspruit. She extended a prayer that Ms Gardee would be found alive. This brought to light the danger that women faced all over the country, especially the risk of being murdered after going missing for more than a few days. No one was being held accountable for young girls going missing in the country.
The Chairperson allowed for apologies to be read out. The Deputy Minister and Director-General were in Cabinet, so they would be arriving late, if at all. They would be represented by Ms Shoki Tshabalala.
The Chairperson handed over to Ms Tshabalala to present on behalf of the Deputy Minister and Director-General. She presented an overview of the DWYPD.
Overview: DWYPD revised Strategic Plan, APP and Budget for 2022/23
Ms Tshabalala presented an overview of the Annual Performance Plan (APP).
The key priorities for Programme 2 were highlighted, which included mainstreaming women’s rights and advocacy. This included the sub-programme of the social empowerment of women.
The priorities included the following:
• Coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the sanitary dignity and humanitarian framework
• Ensuring that women-owned businesses in the sector were empowered through non-financial support programmes
• Ensuring that these businesses were competent to do business with the government
• Focussing on funding allocated to municipalities for the procurement of sanitary pads
See presentation document for more presentation details.
The Chairperson questioned why Ms Tshabalala did not start at the beginning of the presentation document, as it outlined that she was meant to share the vision and mission of the plan before covering the details of the different programmes.
Ms Tshabalala informed her that the first part of the presentation consisted of the title of the presentation document, and then the second page consisted of the presentation itself. She indicated that she would speak on the key priorities which were the first part of the presentation document.
Ms Val Mathobela, Chief Director: Strategic Management, DWYPD, explained that Ms Tshabalala’s presentation was shared with the Committee. Ms Tshabalala was introducing the presentation and the APP presentation would start on slide 8.
The Chairperson pointed out that some items on the presentation were not included in their targets.
Ms Mathobela explained that the targets on the APP include other programmes and initiatives that were related to the targets and lead to those targets being achieved. That is why Ms Tshabalala was introducing those to the Committee. She mentioned that she was ready to get straight into the presentation if that was what the Committee preferred.
The Chairperson suggested that they present in the manner they usually did it, so the Committee could follow the presentation documents they were provided with.
Ms Tshabalala noted that, and then handed over to Ms Mathobela to present the content.
APP: DWYPD revised Strategic Plan, APP and Budget for 2022/23
Ms Mathobela greeted the Committee and presented the APP content. She started off with a background of the presentation as well as key considerations. These included changes suggested on slide 15 when the strategic plan was being reviewed. The APP was linked to the strategic plan.
The key considerations included the following.
Their strategic focus was on:
• Realising the rights of women, youth and persons with disabilities
• Regulating the rights of women, youth and persons with disabilities
• Integrity, accountability and professionalism
The four programmes focussed on:
2. Mainstreaming women’s rights and advocacy
3. Monitoring, evaluation, research and coordination
4. Mainstreaming youth and persons with disabilities rights and advocacy
The previous programme 5 was merged into programme 4 to align the APP with the programme structure.
See the presentation document for more details.
Department Budget: DWYPD revised Strategic Plan, APP and Budget for 2022/23
The Department budget was presented by Ms Desree Legwale, Chief Financial Officer. This was on slide 60. The presentation showed the allocation of the Department’s budget of approximately R987 million.
The allocation increased from R763.5 million from the previous year. This was due to
• Annual inflationary increases to be allocated across all programmes
• Allocation increases for programme 2, including an increase for Gender-Based Violence Council of R5 million and a transfer to CGE of R6.9 million.
The increase in the allocation for the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) of R200 million was to implement the Presidential Youth Employment intervention.
Increases for operational expenses included:
• Compensation for employees increases for annual inflationary adjustments
• Budget increases in goods and services over the 2022 MTEF linked to inflationary adjustments
• Allocation of transfers and subsidies to the Commission on Gender Equality and the NYDA
• Budget increases for machinery and equipment over the 2022 MTEF linked to annual inflation adjustments
See presentation document for budget details.
Human Resources: DWYPD revised Strategic Plan, APP and Budget for 2022/23
Mr Mbhazima Shiviti, Chief Director: Corporate Management, presented the Human Resources function of the Department. This included the need and use of consultants by the Department. (This is from slide 45.)
The organisational structure was organised around the four programmes:
2. Social Transformation and Economic Empowerment
3. Policy, Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management
4. Rights of Persons with Disabilities
5. National Youth Development Programme
He outlined the various staff roles that were under each of these programmes.
The structures for each office were also described to the Committee. Changes in the organisational structures required the use of consultants to ensure compliance and that sufficient guidance was available.
They were still waiting for approval to have four programmes instead of five, as shown on the APP.
They also made use of consultants for the audit function to ensure that they were performing functions correctly.
See the presentation document for further details.
The Chairperson initiated the discussion. She asked questions to the different presenters.
Regarding the APP, changes were made to align programmes based on the budget structure approved by National Treasury. When did National Treasury tell them to make those changes? If Treasury granted them permission to make changes, they would have submitted a programme structure to Treasury. If they did, where did it reflect in the budget vote which came in February before the APP was deposited? When did the Department decide on these changes?
National Treasury’s framework for strategic plans was shared by Ms C Levendale (Committee support staff) as requested by the Chairperson. It stated that when programme structures are changed, it should be done in response to a specific change in a department’s mandate and not due to a change in priorities. Additionally, once a programme structure is in place, it should only change in reaction to a mandate change, not a priority change of the organisational structure.
The documentation received showed that the changes were due to an organisational structure change, yet the document reflects that that should not be the case.
The Chairperson stated that her questions were based on that. She asked for the Department to respond.
Ms Tshabalala responded by explaining that their organisational structure submitted to the DPSA was aligned to the structure as guided by National Treasury itself.
The Chairperson explained that the problem was that they were continuing without receiving approval from DPSA. When the Committee presents their report to the house, they would be presenting what they had submitted, with no basis. What would happen if they do not get approval?
Ms Tshabalala noted that and stated that they had a pending meeting with the DPSA and once that was approved, they would then change to the proposed organisational structure. She asked Ms Mathobela and Mr Shiviti to respond on what would happen if they do not get approval.
Ms Mathobela stated that her work is informed by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). The work on the budget programme structure was led by the CFO so she would prefer that she responds. On her side, the DPME required that any plans by the Department be aligned to the DPME framework, which she had followed.
The Chairperson stated that she thought guidelines were from National Treasury, so anything outside those guidelines would be incorrect. She asked the CFO for her response, as well as clarity on whether they had gotten approval.
Ms Legwale, the CFO, responded. She stated that they had an approval letter from National Treasury dated 26 August 2021 for the new budget programme structure. She would share this with the Committee. The approval letter was accompanied by an attachment that reflected how the structural change would impact the budget for 2022. The process followed included the Department reviewing guidelines following the integration of Youth and Disability in the Department since implementing the APP that integrated these two functions.
The Department was operating on a start-up structure; thereafter it became imperative to develop an organisational structure that took those two functions into account. In most cases, the budget programme structure did not have to be a mirror image of the organisational structure of the Department.
The Chairperson struggled to understand this explanation and requested that they send through those approval documents. She wondered if the Committee Members understood the explanation, in line with Ms Levendale’s presentation.
Mr Shiviti noted that the CFO had explained that the approved budget did not have to be a mirror reflection of the organisational structure. The projection from National Treasury confirmed what the CFO was saying. The organisational structure that they were developing and had submitted to the Minister of Public Service and Administration was also in alignment with the approved budget programme structure.
The Chairperson said they would then have to present the projects and target expenditure. She asked the Committee Members to share if they were understanding what the department was saying.
Ms T Masondo (ANC) asked how the regulatory mandate had been translated into the current APP. What regulations had the Department prioritised? How did the Department hold other government departments accountable for slow or non-delivery in the absence of finalised frameworks and updated policies?
What directives and regulations had been prioritised for 2022/23 relating to women, youth and persons with disabilities that the Department would provide? What were the main monitoring and evaluation mechanisms that the Department would implement in 2022/23? How would these be conducted? Did the Department have the required capacity to monitor and evaluate these? If not, what were the contingency measures?
Given the Department’s focus as a regulator, how did it reconcile establishing rapid response teams when they were not a front-line service delivery agency?
In the AGSA assessment of the Department’s APP for 2022/23, the Department did not have enough performance targets to measure performance. Was the Department doing what was expected of them according to their mandate?
How had they arrived at the decision of merging their programmes with the youth programme? How did they justify this, given the serious issues identified that pertain to persons with disabilities? Given capacity constraints, would the Department be able to assess all APP drafts by the third quarter? What would they do after assessing them? How would they ensure implementation after assessing them?
Should the Department be doing monitoring and evaluation when the NYDA is the lead in this regard, and will also be developing a report on the integration of the youth development strategy? Why had they included oversight of the NYDA as part of their duties? Was this not the role of the Portfolio Committee?
Ms N Sharif (DA) echoed the Chairperson’s confusion around the budget approval and organisational structure. They were saying that the Treasury approved the budget, but this did not mean an approval of the APP and how those tied into each other. The Department was presenting its key targets and indicators, not just its budget. No approval was said to be given for them to change the structure of the Department.
Two important programmes were now being merged into one. What was the thinking behind that and how would the staff complement be included in the joining of the two programmes? Why did the Department think this was a good idea?
The rapid response teams were being established by the provinces. How was that a key indicator if the Department continued to state that they were neither a service delivery Department nor an implementation Department, but they were there to just regulate the responses of government to women, youth and persons with disabilities? There was no link between what they were saying and the information on paper.
She raised a concern that the Department makes use of consultants every time they reported to the Committee. Why were they paying millions to outsource the skills necessary to reach their targets? Why were they setting targets that they could not reach, resulting in them having to outsource the skills needed? It was almost as if they were playing a soccer match with a “cover over their eyes” so they were just running around.
There was no skills transfer between the consultants and members of staff. Why was that? Why were the senior staff members not performing these tasks? At that level, they should be capable to do the bulk of the work without needing consultants. Perhaps the Department needed to do a skills audit to find out what staff can do and then train them accordingly.
What was the feedback from the national council on gender-based violence and genocide? A petition had been launched on the establishment of this council. In the Strategic Plan, it had said six months. It has been two years, and nothing has happened in terms of the NCGBVF. R5 million has been budgeted for this and funds were redirected. How was that money spent, and what have they been doing? How could the Committee perform oversight if they were not receiving any information?
What was included in the R5 million budgeted, and how much of it was dedicated to the establishment of the NCDGBVF? The Committee needed to know as they go out to communities and are asked these questions but cannot answer them if the Department was quiet. How were they collaborating to ensure that this was happening? This money was now being used to pay salaries instead of establishing the council.
The work done on the prevention of GBF by the Department was not enough as they were not dealing with the root causes of it. GBVF would continue to be a pandemic in the country if policies and legislation were not being implemented to combat its cause. The Department's efforts were not good enough.
Combining programmes four and five was a concern because the Department was already failing persons with disabilities. Combining the two was wrong as it seemed as though the Department did not care about the issues faced by persons with disabilities, so they decided to combine them with youth.
There was a man with a mental disability that was rejected from receiving housing. How would this man be assisted? How would the Department ensure that persons with disabilities were receiving housing just like everybody else?
The Chairperson asked Mr Shiviti what their changes were informed by. Were they because of the mandate of the department? If so, could he provide a detailed answer on how that was the case?
The issue of consults has been a constant problem. They had added even more consultants to the current report, especially relating to GBV. Since they appointed a secretariat, why were they still making use of consultants? What were they doing since they were appointed? Where would the R1 million budgeted for consultants come from?
Ms N Hlonyana (EFF) echoed the importance of the Committee being able to follow presentations as they are given, as this allows them to pick up on matters they would otherwise miss. Relating to the DGG of the rights of persons with disabilities, what did they mean when they said it was unfunded? Did that mean the DGG was there or not?
Secondly, relating to the monitoring, evaluation and research coordination, what were they doing? In the last meeting, they had picked up that money that was supposed to be for the sanitary pads which were diverted to other programmes by the Gauteng government. If the Department’s job is meant to be monitoring, what exactly were they monitoring and how do matters like money being diverted by provincial governments occur? How were they only picking up on these diversions during meetings with the Committee?
Relating to programme 2 on economic empowerment, the targets given were not realistic and they were not in numbers. What exactly is the target? How many women were they targeting? What was the monetary value of that economic empowerment?
Why was DDG Ranji Reddy still acting? When would the DDG position be filled permanently?
The issue of Treasury was also confusing. There should be alignment between Treasury and this Department. If there is not one, there will be many issues.
The Chairperson added that she wished that she could find out if National Treasury agreed with all the changes the Department was making. She was trying to understand why two main programmes that the Department was supposed to be focussing on as a Department, and was currently not doing well in, were being integrated. What informed the integration of these two programmes, and how best was the Department going to perform now when performance was not great even before the integration?
Given that they stated that the DDG position was not funded, why did they not find it important for that post to be funded, to show that they were taking issues of persons with disabilities seriously? Given the high rate of youth unemployment, why would they combine these two programmes? Unemployment needs specific staff focus. They needed to be given specific targets so they could be held accountable. Could they be held accountable for the NYDA, or did they have a working relationship with them? They were meant to be coming up with their own programmes for young people.
The NYDA already reported to the Portfolio Committee, so there was no reason to include their performance reports as part of the Department’s targets. What exactly was the branch for youth doing? Integrating the two programmes was not the right thing to do.
The Committee would not support the use of consultants until the Department made it clear why they were being used. Why were they paying chief directors if they still needed to use consultants? Why were they paying DGGs, directors and deputy directors in the Department? What benefit was there from using consultants? Were there any skills being transferred?
Ms F Masiko (ANC) agreed with the Chairperson’s concern and confusion because of the changes. The Committee should have been given reasons and a clear justification for the changes that had been made. The changes were major, and the documents did not give clear reasons for them. A report from the Department stated that these changes were still ongoing and that they would request to the Minister of Public Works and Administration prior to approval from the executive committee. Was the merger then not premature as there was no indication of the changes to the structure being approved yet?
What were the reasons for the mergers, as well as the programme name changes? The APP referenced programmes from the previous APP, while other parts refer to the new APP programmes and this was causing confusion. This needed clarity.
Relating to Administration receiving the bulk of the budget and having the highest staff component with the least annual targets, clarity was needed. Programme 4 had the smallest budget, but it was meant to cover two merged programmes dealing with the issues of marginalised groups and young people. That was concerning as those programmes would have fewer resources.
Consultants have been a reoccurring concern. They had allocated R2.3 million for research advisory processes but the purpose was not clear. Where was the internal expertise for these projects? What were those employed in these roles doing if consultants were being paid to do the same tasks?
On human resources, priority for a new organisational structure was noted. However, the Department had been reorganising itself since the Committee started in 2019 and has taken too long. What was the anticipated impact of these delays? Would the Department be able to carry out its mandate without concluding this process?
Was the programme for persons with disabilities fully understood before being merged with youth? What were its identified strengths and weaknesses relating to functionality? Was an analysis done when it was moved from the Department of Social Development?
The Chairperson asked the CFO why they did not inform the committee last year in August. Why were they only being told now?
Mr S Ngcobo (DA) asked why programmes four and five were merged, given the seriousness of the issues faced by persons with disabilities.
Given the capacity constraints faced by the Department, how were they going to assess all the national department APPs by the third quarter? After assessing, how would they ensure that their recommendations were implemented and followed up on?
No indicator or target had been set for the disability programme. How would the Committee monitor the development of this sphere with no clear targets in place?
The Chairperson agreed that there were no recommendations that had an intention of merging programmes four and five. They were reporting every quarter, so the sudden change did not make sense.
Mr L Mphithi (DA) expressed disappointment in what the Department was trying to do with the NYDA. They seemed to want to take over the role of the Portfolio Committee. They do not provide oversight. The NYDA reported directly to the Committee so there was no reason for them to report to the Department. The Department should say if they were unclear on how to spend the money of South Africans, instead of wasting it.
The Department needed to relook at its plans for young people instead of trying to take power away from the NYDA and the Portfolio Committee. The NYDA had presented its report to the Committee a few weeks ago and none of the department members was present, yet they were now claiming that they wanted to do oversight over the NYDA and that was unacceptable.
The Department should have been asking how they could assist the NYDA in ensuring that their programmes reached more people. The Committee had stated that the NYDA was not present in rural areas. This is a matter the Department could have focussed on instead of stating that they would provide oversight over them.
The Chairperson asked where the Department’s mandate spoke of the NYDA. Those targets would not be supported by the Committee. They needed to report on how they would better the lives of young people, including issues of persons with disabilities.
She handed over to DDG Tshabalala to respond.
Ms Tshabalala responded to the matter of the Department leading the rapid response teams. The national strategic plan of GVB references the establishment of rapid response teams in communities and places this responsibility on the Department. In the absence of a council, the secretariat takes over this role. Treasury agreed that the department set up this secretariat. They had explained their role in the previous meeting, and the Committee had suggested that they meet its members.
They were part of the Department. They were still waiting for an invitation to meet the Committee where they would explain what their role was and what exactly they did. The National Treasury and DPSA had provided guidance on how the R5 million was to be used, so all uses of it were approved by them.
Relating to taking too long to establish the council itself, they could not cut corners or skip stages. They were currently consulting with the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) which was a requirement. They could not continue the process without approval from them, and the next stage would be to submit to Cabinet for approval that it be tabled to Parliament.
The issue of youth and persons with disabilities was a proclamation by the president himself. This was an agency of the Department, and they implemented those programmes in respect of youth, which the Minister signs with the board. She holds the NYDA accountable through the board. That provides them with the mandate to include them in the realm of the Department.
The Gauteng government and sanitary pads matter was the next point addressed. The Department had a framework, and its role was to monitor the implementation of that framework. National Treasury decided not to fund the Department directly, but rather through provinces. Provincial treasury monitors provincial governments as the first point of call. Jointly, they then establish whether spending it was appropriate and write to them to request a better use of funds if the need arose. They had explained that the impact of the judgement had impacted their spending and that they were consulting with National Treasury to ensure that deviations are approved.
Interventions relating to economic empowerment had been clarified in the Department’s own national plan. One of them related to land issues and how women would be empowered. Another was the empowerment of women in the value chain creation process. The APP included these under the operational plans. Actual figures would be determined in consultation with the provinces. They normally took more than 500, with a target of hosting at 1 000 women.
She asked the CFO to explain so the difference between the programme structure and the organisational structure would be clear.
The four programmes were advice from National Treasury due to budget cuts from covid. This would be explained by Mr Shiviti.
Mr Shiviti addressed the merger of youth and persons with disabilities. There was no merger between the two functions. In 2019, the president transferred the function of Youth Development from the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation to the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. Functions were transferred into the Departments, so it was not a merger.
The start-up structure then came about from this change. This was drawn up and then sent to the Minister of Public Service and Administration. Once this was done, they needed to restructure the organisational structure in terms of the new mandate. That process started in 2020 but was delayed due to the covid pandemic. It was a consultative process. This was eventually agreed on and then submitted to the Minister of Public Service and Administration.
The Minister needed the Department to demonstrate that they had funding for the proposed positions. The DG initiated a meeting with National Treasury last year for them to confirm funding availability.
Relating to Administration having a high allocation, the programme consisted of a lot of compliance requirements. Each segment required multiple compliance considerations, which resulted in a high workload for people working on these items.
The budget programme structure did not take away from the programme itself. Youth would remain separate from Persons with Disabilities, and these would be handled separately. They would operate independently. They would fall under one Department, so that was why the organisational structure was grouped together.
Consultants reflected were as a result of the template received from National Treasury. The health risk manager appointed by DPSA was classified as a consultant. The audit and risk committee members were also classified as consultants. The budget had multiple roles classified as consultants. Administration did not appoint any consultants. The template from National Treasury required that they classify certain functions as consultants.
The Chairperson brought the AGSA’s report to the attention of the Department. The report that was presented stated that the Department’s indicators were not well defined, verifiable or measurable. Given such a report, how would the Committee hold them accountable? The report showed that many of their targets did not link to their core mandate of being a regulator. She asked for clarity on this.
Ms Sharif added that she was not sure how to react to the response on the two programmes being merged into one. The information given failed to answer why they were being merged into one. Their explanations were not addressing the issues they had raised. Having one programme with two independent entities would not work as the key performance indicators would not align.
With consultants, they were not just for the health risk and audit committees. The Department was misleading them. Consultants were being made use of for many functions, including developing a regulatory framework, secretariat compensation, research, and evaluation, piloting the integrated knowledge hub, professional services for research, data preparation, report writing and many others. Research and compiling reports were the job of the Department. That is why officials were being paid salaries, to be able to reach KPIs.
The KPIs were not measurable. The Committee needed direct answers, instead of being dragged around.
The Chairperson further asked about the Department stripping the NYDA’s policy formation as well as their research and development. When taking these key responsibilities, what do they stand for? They were responsible for these items, so why were they removed? They should be doing these separately so why were they being taken away from the NYDA?
The Chairperson allowed the Director-General, Adv Mikateko Maluleke, to respond as she had joined the meeting.
DG Maluleke responded to the matters she had noted since joining the meeting. The Chairperson requested that she address the AGSA concerns before answering the other items.
DG Maluleke explained that the APP could not be concluded without the AGSA’s approval. They had raised issues initially but later communicated that all the issues they had raised had been addressed. They had approved the APP and would not be concluded without their concerns being addressed. She was confused by why they would give approval if their issues were not addressed.
She suggested that the Committee meet with the AGSA for clarity as the Department had received approval from them regarding the APP.
The Chairperson explained that the AGSA raised their concerns, and the Committee would need to satisfy themselves with the reports. She suggested that they all meet so they could iron out items raised. She suggested that they meet on Friday to avoid being held accountable for issues raised.
The Chairperson updated the Committee on the headline of Ms Gardee's passing on. This was part of her opening statement, and she expressed her sadness on the matter. She handed over to the DG to continue.
On the budget structure and the DPSA structure, the DG stated that she had been in communication with National Treasury. They had insisted that they would not fund the Department if it had more than four programmes. They then joined programmes four and five for the purposes of National Treasury budget structure. The Committee needed to question Treasury as the Department also did not understand why this was necessary. Treasury had warned that having more than four programmes would result in the Department’s budget not being approved.
The structure that the DPSA would be approving had five programmes, but the one for National Treasury approval only had four, to comply for funding.
The Chairperson agreed to do that. She asked the AGSA office to respond to DG Maluleke’s remarks about them approving the APP.
Ms Mashego (AGSA) explained why the AGSA had presented the findings earlier in the meeting. It was based on practice. When they have findings, they present them to the Committee to appraise the Committee on the nature of their findings on the draft APP reviewed. This was also to empower the Committee, so they become aware of the process that was taken by the AGSA in terms of reviewing and giving inputs to the Department through that process.
They had discussed their findings with the Department and the Department had made corrections to the indicators that were unclear. The findings presented were based on the initial draft submitted to the AGSA, not the result of being reviewed.
DG Maluleke added that the issues were raised, and this corroborated her initial statement of the APP being corrected and approved by the AGSA.
The Chairperson informed Ms Mashego that she should have clarified in the morning to avoid the same matters being raised again even though they were already addressed. There would be no need for the meeting on Friday as the matter had been clarified.
DG Maluleke responded to the NYDA reporting to Parliament. She clarified that the NYDA was different from the CGE and other commissions. It was a statutory body, which placed it under a certain minister. It was under the Minister for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. The Minister reported to Cabinet on the NYDA achievements, just as government departments reported to Cabinet but still had to report to Parliament. The department monitoring what the NYDA does did not take away from Parliament’s role.
Research and development responsibilities of the NYDA were guided by the Parliamentary Act. It had already been tabled in Parliament, but it would guide the role of the department and NYDA around research and development.
On consultants: there was a serious misunderstanding of the types of consultants that were being employed. The Department was unfortunately going to have even more consultants. They were going to have EU funding to ensure that everyone implements the national strategic plan and responsive budgeting. They requested that they allow the Department to use that money to place four people in each province as they currently did not have presence in the provinces. This would increase the number of consultants. This was being piloted in three provinces.
The secretariat was an interim measure that was established by the DPSA for the implementation of the National Strategic Plan. They provided a director, two assistant directors and about six people who become part of the consultants. Within the Department, the structure does not have a Labour Relations Officer. This is crucial for the department to function. They had one person in legal services.
They could not obtain a clean audit last year due to the internal auditors investigating their structure as they were missing these crucial roles. Administration is regulated by government and has to complete all these functions which is why it looked like it was taking up majority of the budget. The Department was facing structural challenges and was engaging with the DPSA to address them.
The research unit of the Department only has a few employees, but the magnitude of the work required is vast. The Committee should also perform a job evaluation to see what people in the Department are doing, as most of them are overworked. The main issue comes when people do not understand the role of the Department. The mandate is bigger than that of DPME, yet DPME is four times bigger. Technical or professional evidence would be able to satisfy the Committee.
The Committee’s expectation is for the Department to go to communities, develop policies, monitor programmes, implement projects, host workshops and much more. It is sad to see this work go unrecognised by the Committee.
The Chairperson expressed that when they continuously saw consultants being used without an explanation, all they were seeing was money being spent without people doing any work. The prior year's report explained the EU funding clearly, and the Committee did not have a problem with it. The issue came in when items were not being explained properly to the Committee which made it difficult for them to understand.
The Department needed to explain clearly so that the Committee could also explain the items to other parties. She added that the Department should forge a working relationship with municipalities to relieve them of the burden of work that could be delegated. Municipalities were there to implement those items, and the Department has the powers to delegate to them.
The sanitary dignitary project was being implemented by provincial government, with the Department overseeing it. The Department needed to find a way to delegate more tasks to them so they could take reports and be able to account for what they have done while monitoring. The problem came in where tasks were not being delegated and the tasks were not being done.
Ms Sharif questioned why Treasury was only allowing the Committee four programmes when they themselves had more than four. Other departments also had more than four programmes. Was it just this Department that was being restricted?
Why is the GBVF secretariat categorised as a consultant when they have their own budget that was ring-fenced to be used for that? Why were they being labelled as consultants when they are part of the Department and employed by it?
DG Maluleke echoed Ms Sharif’s point as it was only this Department that was being restricted to only having four programmes. During a previous meeting, one official even mentioned having the Department moved to Social Development, so National Treasury generally had a negative attitude toward the Department. They were also opposing the National Council on Gender-Based Violence, which is why the implementation has been delayed. They were also saying that the council would not get funding even before it has been established.
On consultants, if a person is not appointed in the structure of the Department, they are treated as a consultant. DPSA formed this structure so they may have to include them in the structure. The only problem is that its term is up to 2023/24 then it will be disbanded. This makes it difficult to count them as people within the Department.
The Chairperson asked if this meant that all contracted workers were classified as consultants, as they were not within their structure.
DG Maluleke clarified that contract workers were appointed with budget within the structure. She made an example with the GM salary. Since the position is not filled due to labour relations issues, it becomes a saving and goes back into the structure. Contract workers are paid from the savings of the Department, from money within the government structure.
The Chairperson was surprised that the Department did not have a labour relations officer since its inception. This explained why they were having delays on most of the cases. She asked when they were going to fill that position.
The DG explained that it could not be filled until DPSA approved their structure. The position was not part of the existing structure, but it had been included in the new structure. The new structure was also impacted by the cutting of employee compensation. This had been going on since 2020 and it was getting steeper each year. They initially refused to approve a structure that was making room for more employees when Treasury was reducing the compensation. She met with both the DPSA and National Treasury to request that they approve the structure subject to 2023/24 instead of rejecting it. At this time, the compensation would be reinstated to its normal levels.
There were posts that had not been advertised because they were unfunded due to reduced employee compensation. A meeting where the Department presents its programmes and progress would allow for the DPSA and the Treasury to understand what the department was doing. The meeting was delayed as it was difficult to find a time when all parties would be available.
The Chairperson said they would find a way to meet with National Treasury so they could explain why they had restricted the Department to having only four programmes.
Ms B Marekwa (ANC) noted that it becomes challenging when the committee does not meet with all relevant stakeholders as they can only rely on their progress and successes based on the reports the Committee receives. From the reports presented earlier, she was concerned about research. The Department should have its own internal research team by now, instead of outsourcing. Using consultants destroys government departments.
The Department’s management needed to analyse what skills they needed, and then apply to Treasury to build these departments instead of applying for individual roles at a time. This would help build the Department as a structure to prevent creating a dependency on outsourcing as they currently must outsource every year. They end up becoming dependent on their service providers if they make use of the same ones each year.
If they do make use of consultants, they should have those people share their skills with the Department to avoid having to make use of them annually as it does not help the department in any way.
The Chairperson asked the DG if their officials were not capable of writing their Department reports.
The DG stated that some officials write the reports. She illustrated that writing reports required extensive research, and it was difficult for one person to implement this process on their own. Some reports require that the Department goes out to collect field research. This includes going to the various locations to collect data and analyse what solutions could be implemented. It is difficult for one person to do all these steps by themselves, so some reports cannot be completed by one person.
Internal reports were easier to compile as one person could compile them since the information is readily available.
The Chairperson requested that they categorise the reports as the Committee would not know what kind of reports are being referred to in the APP. She understood that report writing required a team, so it could not be expected that one person could do it alone.
Ms Legwale responded to the letter received from Treasury approving the budget restructure, it was meant to be implemented in 2022. This shed light that the Department should notify the portfolio committee of any changes they make in future. She clarified the R5 million for the council. The money was shifted from Goods and Services to Compensation of Employees when the secretariat was employed.
Treasury advised that the money be retained under Goods and Services and that they continue to shift it to Compensation of Employees on an annual basis, hence it being used for consultants. The budget for Administration was higher than the other programmes because it included the allocation for Ministers and the DG, as well as the supply of IT and computer equipment.
Dr B Hlagala, Acting Chief Director: Youth, clarified the NYDA research matter. The DG responded to policymaking. The NYDA would still conduct research as it forms part of its duty. The Department also has the responsibility of conducting research on youth development. They work with the NYDA on that.
Treasury guidelines state that the accounting authority of the NYDA must report quarterly to the Department. This implies that the executive has a role of overseeing the NYDA as a national public entity of the government. That did not mean that parliament did not have the oversight role. The executive ensures that there is transfer of payment from the government to the NYDA and that is done by the Department.
The Chairperson closed by stating that the Committee would write to the Department if there were any more outstanding questions. The meeting needed to be closed as the Committee had another meeting they needed to attend. They would also write to National Treasury for clarity on the issues raised by the Department.
She adjourned the meeting.
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