The Select Committee was briefed in a virtual meeting on the mandate and functions of the Department of Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation (DPME), which responded broadly to all the questions raised by the Members.
The DPME said its role was coordinating government planning, monitoring and evaluation. The Committee asked clarity-seeking questions about these key aspects, and the role of the Department in all spheres of government. They were interested in its reference to "urgent interventions" in the provinces and municipalities, and wanted to know exactly what that entailed. They sought more information on how the Department was structured to implement its programmes, and the purpose, key objectives and deliverables of each programme, as they were unclear about the actual role, successes and challenges of the Department. They asked about the Department's plans to ensure safety in communities. They said the DPME was a relatively new department, so they wanted a brief overview of its achievements and challenges over the past years.
Overview of DPME mandate and functions
Dr Ntsiki Tshayingca-Mashiya, Deputy Director-General (DDG), DPME, took the Committee through the Department's mandate and its functions.
She discussed the mandate of the DPME, stating that the DMPE's vision was to coordinate government planning, monitoring and evaluation to address poverty, unemployment and inequality. The mandate was to institutionalise planning. The institutionalisation needed to take account of various dimensions of planning, such as:
- Short, medium and long-term planning – charting the country's developmental trajectory, anticipating, analysing and responding to emerging trends.
- Coordination of the planning system, responsible for coherence, alignment and quality of plans.
The Department was responsible for monitoring the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) and Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) by developing robust monitoring systems backed by evidence. They evaluated critical government programmes to inform planning, monitoring and government interventions, as well as budget prioritisation. The Department conducted interventions on behalf of Cabinet and the President through inter-ministerial committees
She highlighted the three core functions of the Department -- planning, evaluation and monitoring.
She briefly took the Committee through the Strategic Plan for 2022/23, where they:
- Revised the vision, mission and value statements;
- Reconfirmed the impact statement;
- Revised the outcome statements and outcomes indicators;
- Established measures for DPME performance based on:
- Quality of government plans of departments;
- Effective monitoring framework and systems based on the quality of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) reports.
- Evaluations were targeted toward the impact of policy on the life of citizens.
She discussed the four priority outcomes they wished to achieve and the outcome indicators. These were:
- An efficient and effective department characterised by good corporate governance and ethical leadership.
- Improved government planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and oversight.
- Improved accountability of the government in the implementation of service delivery programmes and projects.
- Citizens contributing to the implementation of the NDP/MTSF.
She briefly mentioned the MTSF priorities for the Sixth Administration, which the Department supported through monitoring, evaluation, planning and interventions. She said that they focused on the following priorities:
- A capable, ethical, and developmental state;
- Economic transformation and job creation;
- Education, skills and health;
- Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services;
- Spatial integration, human settlements and local government;
- Social cohesion and safe communities;
- A better Africa and world.
(See attached document for details).
Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KZN) said that he noticed that the Department had a section under its role and functions which included urgent interventions in provinces and municipalities. He asked whether the Department could provide the Committee with clarity as to what "urgent interventions in provinces and municipalities" entailed. He understood that the DPME did overarching planning, monitoring and evaluation, but he noticed that it also had the ability to intervene urgently in any urgent situation that may occur in a province or municipality. He asked the Department to provide more clarity as to what this meant.
Mr M Rayi (ANC, Eastern Cape) started by expressing his disappointment at the absence of the Director-General, the Minister and the Deputy Ministers in the meeting. This was the first meeting of this new Committee, and he had expected that the core leadership would have welcomed the invitation.
He said that the presentation was unclear in certain aspects, and that he had expected more of it. They would have liked to have more information on how the Department was structured in terms of their programmes, and the purpose, key objectives and deliverables of each programme. He asked whether the Department could brief the Committee on their programmes and their irrespective objectives and deliverables. He said that when the Department was established, they had certain expectations from the Department --that it would assist in evaluating and monitoring performance in provinces and municipalities. He mentioned that the Department had been established in 2009, and could have provided the Committee with a brief overview of its achievements and challenges over the past years.
Ms B Mathevula (EFF, Limpopo) said that the issue around the presentation had already been addressed by her colleague, as she would have liked the Department to explain more about issues concerning social cohesion and safety in communities, and what their plans were to ensure that there was safety within communities.
She commented that there was a shortage of skills, especially in local municipalities. There were various problems in municipalities indicated in the audit reports.
Mr Brauteseth pointed out that the Committee had existed since 2019, and that this was the first time they had met [with the Department]. They would be directing questions to the Minister in the Presidency on Thursday, and he was unaware that he was responsible for the questions. He highlighted that this Ministry was the only Department that did not have a Portfolio Committee. President Ramaphosa had recently assigned various tasks to the Presidency to deal with, but there was no Portfolio Committee. He said that as Parliament, it was important that each Ministry had to be assigned to a Portfolio Committee and Select Committee. This may ensure that any uncertainties are prevented in the future.
The Chairperson referred to the programme that dealt with monitoring reviews, and asked what role the Department played in Operation Phakisa, labour activation programmes (LAPs), and the local management improvement model.
The DPME had spoken about the integrated government planning system, and he asked for examples of this system's interventions.
On the role of the Department in monitoring corruption through the national anti-corruption strategy, he asked what role it was playing in institutionalising this strategy, and what mechanisms the Department had in place.
He asked what technical support the Department was rendering on evidence-based planning, monitoring and evaluation to intervene and ensure the capacity and capability across all the provinces was in place.
What did the Department plan to do to ensure that the District Development Model (DDM) was prioritised?
Mr Rayi corrected his colleague on the matter of the Portfolio Committee, saying that there was a Portfolio Committee that provided oversight of the DPME. It was also Parliament's responsibility to decide which Committee provided oversights over which Department -- the Department did not decide for itself.
Dr Tshayingca-Mashiya said that the brief they were given had stated only that they had to share the mandate and functions of the DPME, and that they were unaware that it had to be a workshop or induction. However, she understood the concerns of the Committee, in that they needed more information from the Department on their programmes. They would gladly share more information about the Department if the Chairperson allowed them to do so.
The Chairperson granted the DMPE the opportunity to briefly answer the questions by discussing the information missing from the presentation.
She briefly guided the Committee through how the Department coordinated the work of government through planning and ensuring the implementation of the MTSF, as well as influencing their budget. She pointed out that all sectors of government had to ensure that the NDP and government priorities were implemented. From there, they had the medium-term strategy framework, which influenced government's budget prioritisation. Whatever had been prioritised had to be listed in the annual performance plan (APP). This year, the Department introduced the annual strategy plan to show which departments were implementing government's priorities.
She pointed out that under Priority Six, the Department had a unit that ensured that social cohesion was a priority.
She highlighted other areas that the Department looked at, such as gender-based violence (GBV), and issues around women, youth, and people with disabilities.
She said the Department's planning involved both top-down and bottom-up approaches. That was why it operated at the national, provincial and district levels.
She briefly mentioned the different programmes of the Department:
- Programme 1: Administration and corporate services.
- Programme 2: Planning Secretariat and National Planning Coordination. This programme also included sector monitoring and public sector monitoring. The Department had a programme of action which monitored the outcomes of government. They had Operation Phakisa, which monitored the interventions and special projects. The Local Government Improvement Model (LGIM) assisted with the capabilities of government in delivering basic services. The Department also did socio-economic impact assessments to assist with legislation and policies.
- Programme 3 was responsible for establishing a robust system for policy and legislative frameworks; processes for planning government as a whole; engaging different sectors of society in planning; developing institutional capacity for planning; developing evidence-based plans; and influencing the planning philosophy of the country in all spheres.
Mr Henk Serfontein, Acting DDG: Public Sector Monitoring and Capacity Development, DPME, addressed the questions about the Department's interventions. He said that the Department had various intervention tools and models. The first intervention tool was the 'Presidential Hotline', a system where citizens could register service delivery complaints with the Department. The complaints were then forwarded to the institutions they were related to, and the public liaison officers (PLOs) would then facilitate responding to the cases. He said that this covered all local, provincial and national entities. The Department monitored and facilitated the resolution of the cases, and where cases were unresolved or delayed, they would then facilitate the resolution of those cases.
He said there was frontline service delivery monitoring, where the Department selects different burning issues. At the moment, the Department was dealing with ideal clinics -- looking at how the public service was faring in delivering ideal clinics. The Department went out into the field and did site visits to monitor the service delivery. They had just finished something called 'safe schools,' where they looked at the delivery of schools' sanitation. Afterwards, the Department would come up with improvement plans and monitor the improvement plans regularly to see whether or not the improvements were happening.
There were many other interventions, like Section 100, and the Department was still busy with the North West Province. However, there had been a withdrawal from the Section 100 intervention, where the national government intervened.
On the question of the Department's role in the anti-corruption strategy, he said that they had been part of establishing the national anti-corruption forum, which assisted the President in establishing such forums and developing the strategy going forward.
Regarding the Department's role in state capture and the State Capture Commission reports, he said that it had developed a system that worked with different implementation agencies, to monitor to ensure that action was being taken on the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) reports. They were involved with the Zondo reports as well.
On the question about state-owned enterprise (SOE) governance, he said that the Department had an SOE oversight framework which includes governance, and was focused on strengthening the oversight by the departments over their entities. They were still waiting on final support for this programme.
Dr Annette Griessel, DDG: National Planning Coordination, DPME, addressed the question of the integrated government planning system and interventions that had been introduced, and said that the Department saw itself as the custodian of the national planning system and its implementation. The overall objective was to ensure that the planning system contributed toward achieving the development goals. Part of this was to ensure that there was harmonisation and coherence of all plans -- long, medium and short-term plans; local, provincial and national government sector plans; institutional and operational plans, etc -- and that they were all aligned with one another. The Department felt that the planning system had been institutionalised well. The only problem it faced was ensuring that the plans they had in place were of sufficient quality and that they adequately reflected the results-based approach, targets and appropriate indicators.
The Department had recently diagnosed the national and provincial planning system, including how it interacted with local government. One of the prevailing issues discussed was the emphasis on compliance versus the emphasis on performance. They addressed this by engaging with different stakeholders on how to reform the overall planning system to make it work better. She said that they had policy and legislation, had introduced the integrated policy framework, the policy framework for integrated planning, and had revised the draft Integrated Development Planning Framework Bill, which would be consulted within this financial year.
The DPME emphasised improving inter-governmental planning methodologies and utilising various new methodologies to improve intergovernmental planning. Since the Constitution highlighted the powers and functions of the different spheres of government, she stressed that they were not planning on challenging or altering the different powers and functions, but rather calling for collaboration and cooperative governance among the different spheres of government. The Department had been working closely with the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCOG) around the DDM, which included monitoring, integrated planning and budgeting. There was still a lot of work that had to be done but they had also made a lot of progress.
Ms Mmakgomo Tshatsinde, DDG: Public Sector Monitoring and Capacity Development, DPME, was responsible for sector monitoring, and they were responsible for monitoring the seven priorities of the government.
Mr M Dangor (ANC, Gauteng) asked if the Department was measuring compliance, or if they were measuring efficacy. If they were measuring compliance, everybody would comply. If efficacy was not being measured, people would not deliver. He suggested that there should be more emphasis on performance management rather than compliance management.
Mr Rayi asked if the presentation with the additional information could be shared with the Committee. He said his question was more general, rather than directed to a certain programme. On the issue of the social compact, he said that it seemed that the target had not been reached. He asked why the 100 days target had not been met.
He said that the impact that the DPME had on service delivery on the ground would show the success of the Department. He suggested that it had to intervene in monitoring performance and make the responsible departments, provinces and local governments aware before any major challenges arose or escalated.
On the issue of urgent interventions, such as the case of the people who were affected by the floods that occurred earlier this year, the Department still needed to address the questions that had been asked surrounding this issue. The emergency grants had also taken a while to be allocated to the local governments and municipalities, and there were various complaints from people who had still not received their grants, particularly in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
He said there were still various other complaints, and he thought service delivery issues should be an issue of the past. The purpose of the DPME was planning, monitoring and evaluation, and one could not help but wonder what the role of the Department was. He suggested that there must be a real-time audit of the departments' performance, and this had to be the DPME's responsibility. He acknowledged that they would probably get to know how the Department functioned as they got to know them.
Mr Brauteseth asked if the Department could provide the Committee with more information on the hotline that citizens could contact when requiring urgent intervention. Could the Department provide the Committee with the full contact details of the reporting lines, as well as with an assurance that the Department would indeed address the issues and provide them with feedback on the monitoring process relating to the queries that were raised?
He said that he and Mr Rayi were part of the ad hoc committee for the floods, and he recently oversaw the community halls. The conditions were shocking, as 400 people had been living in the community halls since April. He had raised the urgent problem to the Minister in the Presidency, asking what the Department planned on doing about this.
He said the Committee could foster a good partnership with the DMPE. It seemed like they were not always taken seriously, and it would be beneficial for them to be taken seriously as they had an important job in monitoring and evaluation. He asked the Department if the Committee could receive regular reports on all the matters so that they, as a body of Parliament, could fast-track the issues so they were resolved more quickly.
Dr Tshayingca-Mashiya said that they would send the presentation to the PLO, and she would ask Mr Serfontein to share his contact details with the Committee.
The Chairperson asked Mr Serfontein to share the contact details with the Committee Secretary, who would then share it with the Committee.
He thanked Dr Tshayingca-Mashiya and the rest of the Department for their presentation and input.
Committee minutes and oversight programme
The Committee Secretary briefly went through the oversight programme with the Committee. Thereafter, the Committee considered and adopted the minutes of a previous meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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