DMV on Quarter 4 2021/22 performance; property leases; immovable assets and organisational realignment

This premium content has been made freely available

Defence and Military Veterans

31 August 2022
Chairperson: Mr V Xaba (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary


In a virtual meeting, the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans was briefed by the Department of Military Veterans on various matters, including its fourth quarter 2021/22 performance reports, property leases, immovable assets, and organisational realignment.

The Committee learnt that the Department of Military Veterans received R654 million at the start of the 2021/22 financial year. This was then reduced by R50 million, arriving at a total of R607 million, and a cumulative spending of R515 million of its adjusted budget.

The Department briefed the Committee that the lease on the headquarters in Hatfield in Pretoria expired at the end of November 2018. In addition, the leases for the provincial Department of Military veteran offices in North West, Eastern Cape, and Mpumalanga have also expired. The Department said it continues to engage with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to acquire new offices.

The Committee was concerned to hear of this, particularly the effect it will have on provincial offices' ability to assist veterans in registering for benefits. Members also raised concerns about the Department's contact centre, which is not fully operational – leaving most telephone calls unanswered. The Chairperson wanted to know how many people were employed in these provincial offices, as empty office space is also undesirable.

The Committee recommended that the Department find a solution to the problem of providing veterans with their pensions. The Members also highlighted the plight of veterans when it comes to accessing healthcare at provincial hospitals and clinics. They asked the Department to be mindful of the costs associated with getting to military hospitals, particularly petrol costs. They called for military veterans to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Meeting report

The Chairperson opened the virtual meeting, welcoming the Members, support staff, and delegates from the Department of Military Veterans.

Apologies were submitted from the Minister, who was in a Cabinet meeting. There were also apologies from the Deputy Minister and Members Mr W Mafanya (EFF) and Inkosi R Cebekhulu (IFP).

The Chairperson recognised the apologies, and the Committee acknowledged them. He then handed over to the Department for it to proceed with the presentations.

Department of Military Veterans on its Fourth Quarterly 2021/22 Performance Report

Mr Sandisa Siyengo, Chief Director of Research and Policy Development, DMV, gave the presentation. He pointed out that the legislative mandate derived from the Military Veterans Act (Act 18 of 2011) is to provide national policy and standards on socio-economic support to military veterans and their dependents, including benefits and entitlements to help realise a dignified, unified, empowered, and self-sufficient community of military veterans. He told the Committee that the DMV would not be presenting on the audited fourth-quarter performance. Therefore, Members may see a slightly different picture when the entity presents that annual performance in the next couple of weeks.

The Chairperson interjected to confirm if Mr Siyengo said these are the unaudited financials, and the figures he would be giving are cumulative spending. The Chairperson commented that the DMV should have the audited financial report by now, and should be giving the Committee the exact figures, because Members do not want to be hit by surprises when they receive the annual report. In other words, what was your closing balance at the end of the financial year?

The Chairperson then allowed the presentation to continue, and asked the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to give the Committee updated information later.

Supply Chain Management Update

Progress to date

LOGIS Re-implementation – progress is stagnant due to the non-availability of LOGIS Syscon. The Director-General's approval was obtained to appoint a LOGIS system controller. However, no progress has been made to date due to cost pressure of the cost of employment (CoE). The new Director of Human Resources has promised to merge two administration officers' positions to create a SYSCON position at the level of Assistant Director.

Asset Register Reconciliation

An internal asset management team was established to perform the following:

-Physical count

-Recommendation in respect of lost assets

-Internal controls within SCM are slowly improving but are impacted by capacity challenges due to shortfall in the DMV structure.

Budget versus Spend: Key Benefits

The DMV spent 98% of what was allocated towards benefits. The budget was at R308.911 million, and the Department spent R302 million of that amount. The observation has been made that the spending against all benefits tracked behind the budget, with notable cost pressure on Healthcare Support and burial support due to cost pressure on these benefits.

Total DMV by Economic Classification

-The Department spent less on the compensation of employees because, in the last financial year, there were vacant posts in the Department – especially in the senior management positions that are being filled now.

-CoE tracked marginally ahead of the target due to historical organisational structural challenges. Moreover, the Department appointed a DG during the year, who is paid under COE – unlike the previous Acting Director-General, who was paid by the Department of Defense (DOD).

-The underspending on transfers and subsidies was mainly informed by slower-than-expected spending on all military benefits.

Performance Information: Non-Financial

Executive Summary: Overall Performance Analysis

-During the period April to December 2021, the Department targeted nine targets for Q1 (Apr to June); 13 for Q2 (July to September); 12 for Q3 (October to December), and 17 for Q4 (January to March).

-Of the nine targets planned for Q1, three (33%) were achieved as planned. Of the 13 targets planned for Q2, five (38%) were achieved. During Q3, five (42%) of the 12 planned targets were achieved. Eight (47%) targets were achieved in Q4.

-The average performance against the target of the Department over the past three quarters is sitting at 38%.

Performance Against Set Targets Per Programme

Programme One: Administration

-The programme planned to achieve two targets in Q1. One target was achieved, which translates to 50%. During Q2, the programme planned to achieve three targets, and one target was achieved – which translates to 33%. During Q3, the programme planned to achieve two, and one target was achieved. During the period under review, the DMV planned to achieve four targets, and three (75%) targets were achieved.

Programme Two: Socio-Economic Support (SES)

The programme planned to achieve three targets in Q1, but no target was achieved. During Q2, the programme planned to achieve five targets, but one target was achieved – which translates to 33%. During Q3, the programme planned to achieve five targets and archived one (20%) target. During the period under review, the DMV planned to achieve seven targets; three (43%) of them were achieved

Inputs For PP1 201

-The DMV cannot register 3 000 new Non-statutory Forces (NSF) Military Veterans in the database in 2020/21, 2021/22 financial years, and beyond. This is because the number of NSF Military Veterans is dwindling rather than increasing.

-The 3 000 refers to the number of files of those who applied to be included in the database as members of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), Pan Africanist Congress' Azanian People's Liberation Army (Apla), and Azapo's Azanian National Liberation Army (Azanla). These are the files that the Department expected to receive from the verification panel during the FY2021/22 financial year. The actual number of files received from the Verification Panel during FY2021/22 was 3 005.

-More than 1 000 new Military Veterans have been registered in the database in the past financial year. This number includes both (1) Statutory Force members who are resigning from the SANDF and (2) Non-Statutory Forces who are successful at the verification process, including the former political prisoners.

-The target and indicator have been separated between the work of the verification panel, and the internal work within the DMV as it relates to updating the database for the 2022/23 financial year.

Programme Three: Empowerment and Stakeholder Management (ESM)

The programme planned to achieve four targets during Q1, and two targets were achieved – which translates to 50%. During Q2, the programme planned to achieve five targets, and three targets were achieved – which translates to 60%. During Q3, the programme planned to achieve five targets, and three (60%) targets were achieved. During the period under review, the DMV planned to achieve three targets, and two (33%) targets were achieved.

Updated Final Expenditure Figures

Ms Zintle Gcasamba, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), gave the Committee the updated figure.

Financial Summary

-The budget of the Department was reduced by R50 million from R654.3 million to R607.3 million due to budget adjustments across government.

-The quarter four cumulative spending was R515.5 million (before all journals of clearing suspense accounts and misallocations), versus a targeted spend of R607.3 million from the total allocation. About R91 million was not spent.

-The fourth quarter spend of R515.5 million was about 85% of the total appropriation.

-Of the total spend, R116.3m (23%) was payment for Cost of Employment; R241.6m (47%) was payment for goods and services; R129.0m (25%) was payment for transfers and subsidies; and R28.4m (6%) was for payment for capital assets.

-The Department has been audited against its budget, and received an unqualified audit opinion for the 2021/22 financial year, which is the same audit opinion received in the past three or four years, at least.

-There has been a noticeable improvement in internal controls, especially in the area of fruitless and irregular expenditure – in the sense that the Department had a couple of irregular contracts in the past that were continuously used even though they were not necessarily procured regularly.

- One of the strides that the Department has taken is to enter regular contracts to address the issues of irregular expenditures. No fruitless and irregular expenditure was incurred in the financial year. Instead, there has been a huge reduction due to entering into a regular contract. The Department is now participating in a regular contract with one of the national departments while advertising for its travel agency contracts. That has assisted in doing away with a lot of irregular expenditure it would have incurred if it continued to use the same irregular contracts.

The Committee Chairperson asked what the meaning of regular expenditure is. Is it a consultant's name, or are you saying you have regularised all the irregular contracts?

Ms Gcasamba responded that the Department regularised the travelling services contract by participating in a regular contract with the Department of Labour and Employment, whose travel agency is called Tourvest Travel Agency. It was audited before the Department entered that contract.

Briefing by the Department of Military Veterans: Update on its Facilities

Mr Siyengo gave the presentation. He said that the purpose of this presentation is to provide a progress report to the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans on the Department of Military Veterans facilities.

DMV Head Quarters

The Department headquarters (DMV HQ) lease expired at the end of November 2018. Before the expiry of the lease, a request was submitted to the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) to acquire a new DMV HQ. Subsequently, correspondences, departmental bilateral meetings, and DG-to-DG meetings were held to enforce DPWI to speedily finalise the acquisition of the DMV HQ. These efforts had unfruitful results to date.

On 10 June 2021, DPWI wrote a deviation letter to National Treasury (NT) to acquire the Passenger Rail of South Africa (PRASA) building. A response was received from NT, requesting more clarity on the request from DPWI. Subsequently, on 22 September 2021, the DMV Accounting Officer wrote a letter to the DPWI Accounting Officer, informing him to finalise the acquisition of the DMV HQ.

On 14 October 2021, DPWI responded that they are commencing engagements with NT to acquire PRASA. DMV made follow-ups weekly and during monthly bilateral meetings with both National and Regional DPWI. A DG-to-DG meeting was held on 25 January 2022 to solicit intervention from DG DWPI on the acquisition of DMV outstanding facilities.

In the bilateral meeting held in July 2022, DPWI stated they would prepare a deviation letter for the DG to approve and provide the DMV with the Project Execution Plan. The project Execution Plan submitted by DPWI shows that the preferred PRASA building will be secured by November 2022. The DMV will continue to engage DPWI in weekly and monthly bilateral meetings to finalise the acquisition of the outstanding DMV-required facilities.

[See more details in the attached presentation]


The Chairperson pointed out that the DMV did not have an audit committee but had promised that it would have it appointed at a certain point in time; he could not remember the actual timeframe that the Department had given. The year is ending, yet the Committee has not received any report on the audit committee members. What is the DMV's staffing norm in all these offices because leases cannot be signed for unmanned or ghost offices? What do you mean by short-term lease? Are you saying you are going to be on a month-to-month basis for two years? Have you entered into a new lease agreement? If the answer is positive, does that comply with the procurement procedures as it were?

Mr T Mmutle (ANC) asked about the irregularities of contracts of the DMV travel agency where the DG spoke about piggybacking. How did the Department undertake the process of approval to avoid surprises tomorrow if it comes up as irregular again – if processes are not followed to the latter? One does not just abandon the contract because it is irregular, especially without following the process to terminate that contract and then jump to another one without the proper procedure. He said that having a contract identified as irregular does not necessarily mean that there is no contract with those people – unless that particular contract has been terminated, and another option has been considered. Can you elaborate on the Department's process to legitimise the piggybacking because these processes are sometimes demanding and tedious? If they are not followed to the end, it becomes a problem again when the Auditor-General returns.

He noted that the Chairperson questioned the DMV's structural intent or organogram in all those offices to avoid procuring them without knowing the number of people to occupy them. What is the Department's plan to have a footprint at the level of municipalities where military veterans reside, so that the question of accessibility is also addressed in that process dealing with provincial visibility, and so forth?

Mr M Shelembe (DA) appreciated the efforts made by the DMV to embark on an initiative of getting the provincial offices to serve the people. However, he was concerned about these offices' communication with the Department. These offices are meant to ensure that people can communicate with the Department to get their entitled benefits.

He recounted that the DG shared the contact numbers that the military veterans must use when they apply or follow up on their submissions or applications. Mr Shelembe indicated that he gave those numbers to some people who were asking for them. When they called those numbers, there were no answers on numerous occasions. He decided to call those numbers to confirm what the callers were saying, but there was no response either. He then took the initiative to write the DG of the DMV to inform her of the challenge of lack of response from the Department. This email was sent on 02 June, and she only responded on 10 June, asking for the contact details so she could get back to him. By 29 June, she had still not responded. Mr Shelembe decided to send a follow-up email to the DG, on 29 June, but she has not responded until today. This implies that issues are discussed in the Committee, but the leader in the Department, entrusted with the responsibility to ensure that the military veterans are assisted accordingly, is also unresponsive, and service is not rendered accordingly. Mr Shelembe said that this is worrisome and should be addressed today in the meeting so that he does not feel undermined.

On pension rollout, he said it is very disturbing, wrong, and misleading that the Deputy President (DP), when leading the Presidential Task Team, went out and told the people that the pension rollout would commence in early June. To date, that has not happened. What do you tell people in a situation like this? This should not be taken lightly because it is people's lives that are involved here – people who are without food or health benefits because of the delayed pensions. The message issued by the DP is misleading because it gives the impression that the Department is not doing its job. These regulations may take even years before they are finalised. Can we get a timeframe of when these regulations will be adopted so that the rollout can commence?

On the LOGIS system: even though the issues are being resolved right now, can we get a timeframe of when we will see the LOGIS system?

On vacant positions, how was the staff establishment approved without getting consent from the National Treasury to ensure that it will be affordable? He also commented on the employment placement of military veterans, with some of the veterans having already been placed in employment. What criteria are used to place these military veterans in employment? This is because there is a problem with the associations that work with military veterans, so the criteria used must not exclude other military veterans. He also asked the DG to lead by example, adding that her behaviour made him feel undermined.  

Dr M Basopu (ANC) said he was interested in the audit outcome, even though the Committee was still going to get that report. He expressed that he is happy that the indications are that the Department obtained an unqualified audit. On the underspending of R91 million, what were the reasons for that? According to the Public Finance Management Act, underspending and overspending in any department is financial misconduct. What is the remedial action to avoid that in the future?

In response to partnering, he said the Committee appreciates that the Department is busy with that kind of programme, but he advised that partnering should not be looked at only in national and provincial departments. Municipalities should also be considered because, in East London, within Buffalo City Metro, there are programmes for military veterans, but the worry is coordinating those programmes with the DMV to ensure that they impact these veterans.

On facilities, especially when it comes to headquarters office space that is very slow, he said that this is not the first time that this has been raised. When the Committee visited those offices, it also heard about this and made recommendations because it was clear that the Department has a serious problem with facilities. Can we get clarity on where the problem is? He added on the concerns raised by Mr Shelembe on making the Department offices accessible. Who do Committee Members communicate with at the Department? Which officials should the Members communicate with at the Department to avoid repeating Mr Shelembe's experience?

Mr S Marais (DA) said that pensions and healthcare are critical to SA's military veterans, especially in these tough economic times. He requested that the Committee get regular feedback on when the pensions will be paid out, starting to be paid out, and the progress of that process. On access to health at provincial hospitals and clinics for the veterans: with the current high fuel prices and taxi prices, they just cannot afford to travel, for example, from Limpopo to one military hospital. That is unfair and unacceptable. He applauds the initiatives that make sure that military veterans are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Responses from DMV

Ms Irene Mpolweni, Director-General, DMV, thanked the Committee for the questions and concerns raised and promised to consider them. In response to the question on the audit committee, she said the Department submitted all the necessary files, and the final decision will have to be coming through from the ministry. The DMV has not yet received that outcome from the ministry, but the process that the Department had to follow in ensuring that the audit committee has been appointed has been done. The Committee will be given the update as soon as the DMV receives the outcomes from the office of the Minister.

On the staffing norms, she indicated that, in the provincial offices, there is a norm that the DMV usually has a complement of around five people, and the appointments are made at the deputy director level. These people head the office and usually have an administrator and some support staff. As the Department begins to capacitate those offices, that is the route it is taking to ensure that the offices that have been opened are capacitated, while also ensuring that they are technologically supported. As some of the Members have indicated that some of the people are coming from far away, they need to ensure that their services are met in this office. The DMV is doing both things to capacitate offices with human resources, and to ensure that the necessary Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) is also installed. The team, of course, needs to be a combination of a team from the Department and the team from the State Information Technology Agency (SITA). Those teams have been put up, but SITA first did the assessment and is now busy implementing it. The tools of the trade are also crucial in ensuring that those offices are working. As the Committee may be aware, the tools of the trade, such as printers, are procured by the Department through a supplier that dispenses them to the offices.

There is also a contractor that deals with maintenance as the Department does not have that expertise. The DMV has taken those areas into consideration to ensure that the offices are fully functional. This is a work-in-progress. The Department and colleagues from these components are aware and are working on these matters. The DMV has received some complaints that some of the offices are not functional, and it will send out some teams from ICT to go and assess and be able to fix the issues as a matter of urgency. The Department appreciates the Members who have brought forward the challenges in provincial offices. The Department's mandates are to make sure that services are delivered to the military veterans where they are, and is making sure that it is following the instructions from the ministry to ensure that the offices are capacitated, and they are working. The DMV has also noted that there have been offices that are closed, and no one is there. There have been follow-ups on those matters.

On the Presidential Task Team (PTT), rounds have been done that have also been helpful to ensure that the offices are also active. Through this chain of PTT roadshows, several trips have been made around the country to see what is happening in those offices. The DMV is in touch with what is going on the ground and will continue to take the comments that the Members make and implement them. It is also benchmarking with other departments that have provincial offices because it is not only DMV that has provincial offices. In response to the question on how the DMV is working with the municipalities, she said that, through these provincial roadshows, there had been an emphasis on the need for municipalities to have desks dealing with military veterans' challenges. The provinces' Members of the Executive Councils (MECs) have also put task teams that cater to military veterans. In every province, there is a military veteran desk in the office of the premier.

She responded to the question about pensions. The Department has worked out everything that was requested by Treasury after the pronouncement. When the pronouncement is made, the Department needs to make sure that the pronouncement is within the prescripts of DMV to deliver that pronouncement. The Department is following the pronouncement and ensuring it aligns it with the prescripts. One of the things that came up was for the Department to develop regulations for it to be able to present the pension to the beneficiaries. Now that the regulations and the policies have been done, the entity is taking the necessary routes to present these policies to the structures and the clusters. DMV has already received the date to go to the clusters, which is 27 September – to take all the documents on the pension. After the cluster meeting, everything will be escalated to Cabinet, and the Portfolio Committee. It will also have to be endorsed by the Minister.

There is not much left to do now; all the necessary things have been done in following the prescripts after a pronouncement. The DMV was careful not to jump any process as it will be going to Cabinet and will be questioned if it jumps the processes. The Department is head on heels to ensure that this pension is delivered within this financial year and is also being budgeted within this financial year's budget.

In response to concerns about healthcare, the DG said the Department takes note of the comments from the Members – that it needs to explore other avenues. The officials are currently exploring how the entity can be able to use the provincial hospitals, as the Members are concerned that getting to military hospitals is quite a mammoth task. Officials are going out now to ensure that they explore other strategic provincial hospitals that the Department can form partnerships. When they come back, the DMV is going to write to the national Department of Health to be able to have a partnership with those strategic provincial hospitals. In some provinces, there are a couple of provincial hospitals that the officials can identify as more central – for example, there are about three or four provincial hospitals in the Eastern Cape. The Department just needs to identify the one that is within reach of the military veterans.

She also spoke about irregularities within the audit framework, indicating that the AG is an institution that is tasked with identifying issues of irregularities and wasteful expenditure. The DMV sits with the AG in the daily meetings, and the AG would have a section on its agenda that checks if the Department got anything on fraud and corruption. In the past audit report, the AG raised some areas of irregularities.

The Chairperson interjected, asking the DG to defer the discussions on the AG report because the matter will be coming up in two or three weeks. It must be dealt with in the context of the AG report that will be presented shortly.

Ms Mpolweni agreed to defer the AG matters, and advised the Member who asked about the AG matters to bring up that question when that time comes.

The Chairperson said Mr Mmutle's question was very specific. He noted that the DMV had a contract deemed irregular with one travel agency and could not simply walk away from that contract without following due process. Mr Mmutle was checking if due process was followed before the Department piggybacked on the other contract. Concerning the other contract, he wanted to establish the process by which the Department can piggyback on another contract.

Ms Mpolweni said those things are usually identified during an audit assessment. So, that is how the travel agency was identified as irregular. The relationship between the Department and the travel agency was also supported by a legal opinion that indicated that the DMV needs to move away from that relationship. When it moved away from the relationship, the Department could not be left dysfunctional; hence it had to look around for a replacement within the framework of the law. The DMV advertised simultaneously, but it also had to make sure that it had a travel agency that it could work with. The Department is using a company called Tourvest, and it is piggybacking. That company was part of what the Department of Labour did, and the DMV has to piggyback. Piggybacking an existing contract is within a legal framework. The Department is currently using that travel agency that was piggybacked, which followed all the piggybacking processes. It is not only DMV that is working with Tourvest, but other departments are also working with it. That is how DMV came into the Tourvest travel agents.

Ms Gcasamba responded to the question about the LOGIS System, saying the Department has backed up capacity in the Supply Chain Management Unit (SCM), which was a stumbling block in achieving the full utilisation and implementation of LOGIS in the previous years. It has now beefed up the capacity. If all goes according to plan, it is supposed to do its first procurement on the LOGIS system effectively on 01 September. She also concurred with the Members that the DMV has underspent by R91 million due to the Annual Performance Plan targets that are not necessarily achieved.

Mr Siyengo said that the problem with the Department of Public Works is the slow procurement processes it experiences. When it does procurement, it goes through many big committees, including the Evaluation Committee, Specification Committee, and Adjudication Committee. After that, it needs to get approval from the National Treasury on some of these things. It is the process of going through these committees that delays DPWI. Moreover, meetings get cancelled or postponed at times, because the diaries of the members that are supposed to sit on those committees do not concur.

In response to the questions on the short-term leases, he said the DMV received a legal opinion or a directive by the Minister of the DPWI that it will no longer entertain month-to-month contracts. The intention of DMV is not to enter month-to-month arrangements. It signed leases for a certain period and intends to resolve all the matters within that period.

On the coordination in municipalities, he said that, through the PTT and the visits it has been having, the DMV picked up that there seems to now be something that is emerging, or an agreement between provinces, municipalities, and the Department – provinces must have a coordinating structure within those provinces that are going to assist the Department. That coordinating structure must consist of military veterans and provincial government departments to assist the Department in better coordinating matters or issues of military veterans in the provinces. Some provinces have already put this coordinating structure in place, which has worked very well. They hold quarterly sessions between military veterans and government representatives where they discuss commitments that have been made by the provincial government departments and municipalities in those coordinating structures. This is the reason why the model has been emphasised so much in those visits to the provinces by the PTT.

Ms Mpolweni told the Chairperson that her team was struggling with the question on communication.

The Chairperson said that was for him to deal with. His understanding of Mr Shelembe's question on communication was that he received a complaint from a member as he does in his office. People walk in with all sorts of complaints about passports, school, health, etc. The Chairperson said that when he receives a complaint, he conveys it to the Department and expects the Department to address the complaint and inform him on how the complaint is being resolved. Mr Shelembe said it was in early June when he wrote to the DG, bringing a complaint to her attention. He did not even receive a letter of acknowledgement. Courtesy demands that when any individual writes to the DG, the DG must acknowledge the letter, send it to someone who can deal with the issue and then communicate back to the author of the letter. Mr Shelembe was not asking the Department to account or anything, but he was saying that there was a military veteran who came to him and presented a problem that he is now conveying to the Department. "Did I understand you correctly Mr Shelembe?"

Mr Shelembe agreed with the Chairperson, saying he has put it clearer. He added that he was not instructing the Department, but he only wanted their acknowledgement that the matter was being handled. It is worrisome that the response is taking so long.

The Chairperson said that the Members of Parliament regularly receive complaints from the public.

Mr Mmutle said the gist of the matter raised by Mr Shelembe is that the DMV call centre is not functional because, when calls are made, they either do not go through or there is no response. In the last engagement with Members, DMV said it had made moves to ensure that it is operational in that space. Members receive such complaints from the public because the public understands that PC Members operate within the space. Their issues will receive the necessary attention they deserve. It then becomes problematic if the DG ignores such letters, even if they are from the public. The intention is to assist the veterans to have access to whatever services they require from the Department. So, if there is a stumbling block and there is no effectiveness and efficiency from the office of the DG, then it becomes a problem because the veterans' problems will never be resolved.

The Chairperson said that these issues had been dealt with before because Members have written to the Department but their letters have not been acknowledged. The Committee is unsure whether its application was turned down or not, and it cannot even appeal. The law is very clear that the Department must respond with a decision within 30 days to enable the applicant to decide whether the reasons given for the denial of their application justify appealing the decision or not. In this context, the PC wants the Department to be responsive each time it receives complaints not only from the Members of Parliament but also from the members of the public. He said that the Department and Members of Parliament are appointed to serve, and serving means attending to every letter written to them and acknowledging it. "If the applicant has misdirected himself or herself, indicate in black and white when you write back – that their letter came to the wrong department, and, in your view, the matter should have been referred to a certain department", he said. The Chairperson also said that DMV is dealing with a very small constituency, so it should not be difficult to deal with this issue. Other departments, such as the Department of Education, deal with millions of people, yet here DMV deals with less than 30 000 people.  

Dr Basopu added that when members of the community are requesting information from the Department, they need to be assisted. Whatever Members need from the Department they should go via the relevant office.

The Chairperson said that this is a different matter that Mr Shelembe raised, and it should be dealt with without expanding its terms of reference, in terms of how it has been raised. He understood Dr Basopu's point, but suggested that it is dealt with as a separate matter.

Ms Mpolweni said that since the DMV is a Department meant for benefits and its outlook is to support military veterans, it means it needs to strengthen its customer service area. The Department must make sure that IT is in place. It must also copy from institutions like SARS, where one receives a message on the phone immediately when they walk in. She did not want to put the whole blame on ICT, as that can still be a great vehicle for DMV. ICT will ensure that, when a query comes into the call centre, it is not only dependent on a human being. It will be answered via an ICT system that talks to the phone of the person who sends the query.

The Chairperson interjected, saying Mr Shelembe was specific. "He wrote you a letter in June, yet you have not responded to the letter. He did not say the letter was sent to some junior official who has failed to escalate it to you due to systemic issues. He said he wrote a letter and addressed it to you, and you should actually be saying it was an oversight, and that you will respond later".

Ms Mpolweni said that when letters come to her office directly through an email, she picks them up and sends them to the officials to follow up. She apologised for Mr Shelembe's letter that was not responded to, and she asked that the matter be discussed outside of the meeting so they could follow up on it. The Department has followed up on the other letters that have been received, and made sure that the officials even visited those families that have been identified. She may have missed the one from Mr Shelembe. The Department will follow up outside the meeting and look at the specifics to be able to fix the matter.

Briefing by the Department of Military Veterans: Organisational Re-Design

Mr Siyengo gave the presentation.

Key Issues

The Department has been experiencing several capacity challenges with the disbursement of the   Military Veterans benefits. Some of these challenges have accrued to how the Department has been structured to respond to the Military Veterans across the country.

This was due to the anomalies which occurred as a result of the Department's organisational structure being approved in 2010 before the approval of the Bill. This led to several structural and capacity challenges, which directly affected service delivery for Military Veterans.

The Department has partnered with National Treasury's Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) to look at both the organisational structure and costing of the Bill. The process is anticipated to be completed before the end of the financial year.

Status of Implementation of Operations Management for the FY2017/18

In the financial year 2017/18, the Department of Public Service and Administration DPSA conducted a survey on the implementation of the Operations Management Framework and the analysis demonstrated the following for DMV responses:

Governance Arrangements

The Department of Military Veterans has the implementation plans in place for the Service Delivery Model (SDM), Service Standards (SS), and Service Charter (SC) only. It is noted that there is part-time capacity for all building blocks. There is limited departmental support and buy-in for developing, implementing, and maintaining all building blocks.

There is a change management plan for SDM, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) SS, and SC.

Status of Implementation

-The Department has a draft SDM that has been partially implemented but not been reviewed.

-No Business Process Management (BPMs) are available (0%). There are SOPs and SS in place for selected services only. The SS are reviewed and updated regularly. No SC is in place.

-Therefore, the GTAC projects have a great impact as their recommendations serve as a guiding document for the review and development of the DMV SDM, BPM, SOPs, SDIPSS & SC.

Department Of Military Veterans: Plan for Service Delivery Improvement

A Service Delivery Model (SDM) will describe how DMV intends to deliver its services and align the business processes to its strategic plan for the Department. BPM will ensure an appropriate and efficient application and implementation of the DMV strategic plan for effective performance.

The SOPs will improve productivity as DMV officials demonstrate their full understanding of the goal, mission, and vision of the Department that they need to achieve. The DMV will then publish the service standards as the rules of engagement for providing services to military veterans and their beneficiaries. DMV will communicate the commitment to provide benefits to military veterans and will realise the Batho Pele principles as well as legislative requirements of the Department.

The SDIP will ensure the continuous and incremental improvement of service delivery in the core environment of the Department.


The first consultation meeting with GTAC took place on 08 March 2022, and other meetings followed on 22 March, 19 April, and 10 May 2022. Collection of data through individual interviews from respective Heads of Branches was done. On 23 June 2022, GTAC met with the DG to seek concurrence to review and develop an outline for an alternative service delivery model (SDM) that will inform the macro-organisational option.

A costing model was presented during the consultation meeting with DMV management, which took place on 01 August 2022 at Freedom Park. The final report on the macro-organisational structure and the costing model is expected by 31 August 2022. Consultation with the Ministry on the outcomes of the first phase of the work in August 2022. DMV plans to refine BPM and develop micro-organisational structure by September 2022.

Presentation on Asset Management

Ms Gcasamba gave the presentation. The presentation aims to update the Committee about the status of asset management in the Department.

Key Matters

As of 31 March 2022, the total amount of our assets was 28 million, of which 120 individual assets were major assets and 24 were minor assets. The total number of the main units of DMV assets is 144.


There is no dedicated asset management structure within the Department.

Auditor-General Findings 2021/22: Exception 2 - Disagreement misstatement:

Assets under investigation are not disclosed in the annual financial statements (COMAF 31). The assets under investigation were not included in the financial statements. It was just information already submitted as part of the asset register, but it was not carried through to the face of the financials. This was corrected by taking the information already submitted to the AG and put through as part of the face of the financial statements.

Exception 76 - Internal Control Deficiency: Monthly asset reconciliation not performed (COMAF 22)

There was a misunderstanding between the two parties here. The AG interpretation of DMV policy was that the entity should be doing asset reconciliation monthly. However, for DMV, that paragraph applies when there is an operational LOGIS system. The LOGIS system mainly addresses two areas within finance – asset management and procurement. As part of its policy, DMV indicated that it would do monthly asset reconciliations as soon as it implements the LOGIS system. However, the AG felt that the Department should be doing monthly asset reconciliations even with the manual system that is currently in place. It was just a misunderstanding between the two, but DMV plans to implement the LOGIS system effective from 01 September 2022. This will prevent any future misunderstandings among various stakeholders.


The Chairperson said that this Committee said that the DMV would fail to deliver on its mandate because the structure was not aligned to the Service Delivery Model. The Department was also required to restructure to address its systemic challenges. The presentation said that work is underway, but it is not stated when it will be completed. The Committee had required the project management plan, during the previous meeting. When is DMV likely to have that process finalised? The Committee raised this point because the DPSA had been to the Department to try and assist, but the feedback was that the Department was not cooperating with the DPSA. The presentation said that, from work conducted by GTAC and the interviews done with staff members, DMV is yet to consult the work produced by the DPSA, which the Department members of staff simply walked away from. That made DPSA wash off their hands and leave the DMV because it was not cooperating. According to DPSA, this matter would have been addressed a long time ago. Have you produced a project management plan that takes us to the result?

Mr Mmutle said that his questions were on the established transformational committee, which the presentation indicates seeks to deal with culture and boost the morale of the staff. How far has the transformational committee gone? What are the positives of this committee since its establishment to date? This is because there is still a challenge in filling vacancies in the Department. If vacancies are not filled, those who are there need to go the extra mile in ensuring that the institution can deliver as expected or as envisaged in the organisational structure. The Department needs to close the gap. In so doing, it is inherent that one would then have developed interest and expectation to progress within the ranks or hierarchy of the organisation when those opportunities are available. Therefore, it will demoralise employees if nothing is done to address that. They will then see no need to put in their extra effort if those efforts are not recognised in one way or another. What work has been done so far, and what is its impact on the organisation?

Responses from the DMV

Mr Siyengo responded to the questions on the transformational committee, saying that the Department is starting to see the impact. The approach aimed at fixing the provincial offices because there were personal challenges between the officials working in the provinces, to the extent that the work of the Department was suffering. The DMV started with Northern Cape and the Free State, where it went in hard to resolve the matters of those officials; those matters have been resolved. One of the most progressive resolutions was to move those officials around, which all parties agreed on. Some issues were not easy to resolve because they became personal matters between those individuals. Because of the prevalence of these challenges in other provinces, the Department plans to go to Eastern Cape and Limpopo to implement similar interventions. It may differ, of course, from province to province – based on the investigations being done. Internally, there are also grievances from officials in Department. So, through that committee, the DMV has tried to settle those. Where issues are too sensitive, it seeks assistance from its counterparts from other departments. These counterparts provide the DMV with recommendations. There have been some investigations that DMV requested or commissioned either internally or by the sister department officials who are labour relations experts. Once the recommendations are received, DMV either puts them in place, or only recommends interventions with those officials.

On the issue of the project plan, he said that there is one the Department has tried to put in place, but it is at a micro level in terms of the specific outputs it would want to get. He said that, for the current financial year, it wants to put in place something that it has done with the GTAC. It has reviewed the Service Delivery Model, which will be adopted now as part of management's response to that report. DMV will also be doing a business process, mapping and reviewing some of the old SOPs in the Department. That is the plan for this year. Also, as indicated earlier in the presentation, DMV hopes to have developed a microstructure and final costing model by September of this financial year; that will be submitted to the National Treasury and the DPSA for their advice and consideration. That is the kind of project plan that has been put in place, and that process will pass through the ministry. After considering this first phase, DMV will consult with the ministry to get guidance on how to move forward towards finalising that micro-organisational structure.

Mr Mmutle said his question was not answered sufficiently because conflict management is part and parcel of HR responsibilities. The mandate of the transformational committee is to transform the culture and ensure that the morale of the staff in the Department is boosted, not only in those provincial offices but in the entire Department. It must instil the correct culture and ensure that the morale of the staff in the Department is such that they can execute their work effectively and efficiently without any hindrance whatsoever. He said his question is not on conflict resolutions that DMV has embarked on but on the positives of that transformation committee or what it has registered. The Department should be able to compare the previous situation and the current one in terms of culture, to be able to determine and show the positives of the committee since its establishment. It should show that the culture and morale that were expected at the formation of the committee are beginning to be practical within the Department, not conflict resolution. "When you speak transformation you speak change, not conflict", he added.

Ms Mpolweni said that, from the angle of the Department, looking at the overall operational space of the Department – including human resources, the mandate, the very crucial policies, and how they run themselves as government officials within this transformation committee – there has been a lot that has to be done. It is not going to be a once-off exercise, but it will include elements that are also prescribed by the DPSA on how they should be able to work as colleagues. They are areas that the Department looks into concerning the ethics of public servants. The transformation committee will also be looking at those areas. The Chairperson clarified that the DPSA must stipulate supply chain management and team-building issues. That committee must follow those stipulations to ensure that all public servants speak in one voice as they serve the public. Chapter 10 of the Constitution also guides how public administration and civil servants should conduct themselves.

The transformational committee needs to note that historical things must be addressed to move forward at the same pace or with the same structured organisation as other organisations. Ms Mpolweni said that this is what Mr Siyengo has been referring to when he said the Department has been attending to those historical challenges. It started with the provinces, and it is smoothing out. There is a clearer understanding of how the provincial coordinators should work internally and outwardly with the military veterans as the beneficiaries. The history has also been plastered with issues of cost and skills matching. There are still some challenges that still need to be resolved. If there is a need for external assistance from another department in HR or DPSA, it will seek that assistance from those departments.

She said morale could also be dealt with through the exciting projects the Department has embarked on, where officials worked as teams. Colleagues have been seen starting to participate in those teams and have had positive results in their performance. Also, looking at strategic issues like working on audits and submitting information, the colleagues have been participating positively, which has resulted in reducing mistakes in the audit exercise. The Department is growing from strength to strength, even though there are still pockets of challenges. The DMV will focus on the areas of concern raised by the transformation committee, such as customer service. It will also look at the areas that the Members have raised on staff relations and staff morale. But so far, the Department has put up a solid structure for the colleagues to report if there are challenges that they are facing. All reports will be investigated to get to the bottom of the complaints.

The Chairperson thanked the DG and her team for the presentation and released them.

Mr Mmutle suggested that when the Committee does site visits, it must engage with the DMV staff at a lower level to hear more about what happens on the ground since those are the workers that deal with the public directly. This will help balance the view.

The Chairperson agreed.

Minutes were considered and adopted with no amendments.

He thanked Members for attending.

The meeting was adjourned.

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: