In a virtual meeting, the Committee was briefed by the Department of the Premier on its 2022/23 Annual Performance Plan and first quarter performance. The Department had achieved 50 out of 50 performance targets in the first quarter of 2022/23 across its six programmes. It had developed an Annual Performance Plan Indicator Monitoring system that enabled monthly tracking and reporting to the Executive on departmental financial and non-financial performance.
Members of the Committee asked about the Department’s strategies to incorporate sustainability and innovation into public procurement so that smaller companies could also benefit. They emphasised the importance of creating a people-centred culture of service excellence that valued and invested in the development of officials. They asked about cyber-security, the roll-out of wi-fi hotspots, spending on consultants and legal services, employment equity and job creation.
The Department undertook to respond to several of the questions in writing.
Presentation by the Department of the Premier
Mr Drikus Basson, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Department of the Premier, presented a high-level overview of the strategic landscape and 2022/23 performance context for the Department’s work. He reported that the Department achieved 50 out of 50 performance targets in its six programmes in the first quarter of 2022/23. The Annual Performance Plan Indicator Monitoring system, a new electronic system, developed in-house, enabled monthly tracking and reporting to the Executive on departmental financial and non-financial performance. He also shared an overview of the Department’s spending by programme and economic classification.
See presentation document for more detail.
Ms D Baartman (DA) noted that National Treasury was currently reviewing the public procurement process, and asked whether the Department was looking at ways in which sustainability and innovation could be incorporated into the public procurement process in the Western Cape. At a national level, it was often the case that the same large companies benefited the most from public procurement. Did the Department have any strategies to ensure that its smaller suppliers would benefit from public procurement, even in a crisis?
The Chairperson emphasised the importance of creating a people-centred culture of service excellence that valued and invested in the development of officials. Rather than worrying about what would happen if officials left after benefiting from training, the Department should worry about what happened if officials remained but lacked appropriate training. If officials were well-resourced and effectively managed, that would translate into enhanced service delivery to the public. He also asked how the Department was mitigating the risk of cyber-attacks, given how common these were becoming.
Mr C Dugmore (ANC) asked what the Department’s quarterly target for rolling out wi-fi hotspots had been and how many had actually been installed. How much had been spent on consultants? How much had been spent on legal services, and which advocates had been briefed? He observed that the Department’s staff did not reflect the demographics of the Western Cape and asked what the Department’s employment equity target had been. What was the annual target for job creation and how many jobs had been created in the first quarter?
Mr Basson replied that the Provincial Treasury would be responsible for reviewing the province’s procurement process, adding that some Provincial Treasury officials had a hand in drafting the new national public procurement legislation. He also noted that the current legislation provided space for innovation and sustainability in procurement, even if it had not been implemented. He reported that the entire leadership of the People Management Branch had recently held a strategic session in Houwhoek, which had reached the same conclusion as the Chairperson on the need for effective people management for service delivery. On cyber-attacks, he mentioned that the Western Cape had successfully repelled one serious cyber-attack last year. As a result, it had requested and been granted additional funding for cyber-security from National Treasury, which had been used on cyber-security software. On public wi-fi sites, he reported that the Department had exceeded its target of 1300 sites by 41. He asked the Committee to provide the remainder of Mr Dugmore's questions in written form so that the Department could do the data mining necessary to give accurate answers, as he did not have the figures to hand.
Mr Andre Joemat, Head: Corporate Services Centre, Department of the Premier, agreed that the Department would appreciate the opportunity to provide detailed answers to these questions in writing. He emphasised that the province’s “new way of work” involved learning lessons from the pandemic and its response. He cited the Hospital of Hope project as a prime example of the province’s innovation in response to the pandemic. He noted that each of the Department’s six programmes had a new performance indicator that required senior managers to undertake at least one site visit to the frontlines of service delivery. The provincial administration had also introduced an additional induction programme for new appointees.
Dr Hildegarde Fast, Head: Policy and Strategy, Department of the Premier, said that the number of jobs created would depend on whether it was calculated annually or quarterly. The number of people employed in June 2021 was 2.256m, and in the same month, that figure was 2.344m, which meant that about 87 000 jobs had been created in that period.
Follow-up discussion and conclusion
Mr Dugmore appreciated the responses and the commitment to providing written figures. He had wanted to know how the job creation figures compared to the Department’s target. His question about employment equity had not been answered.
Premier of the Western Cape, Mr Alan Winde, replied that setting a job creation was the responsibility of the Department of Economic Development, not that of the Premier. He acknowledged that procurement processes were a big issue in the country, and said that the Western Cape was undertaking a review similar to that being undertaken by National Treasury. It would be interesting to see what opportunities emerged from this review, particularly for smaller businesses.
Mr Dugmore noted that his question about employment equity had still not been responded to and asked for this to be recorded.
Premier Winde recalled that Mr Joemat had undertaken to respond to this question in writing after consulting the relevant data.
Mr Dugmore accepted the response but still expressed concern that the Premier himself had not made any comment on employment equity.
The Committee adopted outstanding minutes and the meeting was adjourned.
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