South African Management Development Institute Budget: Briefing

Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


26 May 2004

Mr S Shiceka (ANC)[Gauteng]

Documents handed out:
South African Management Development Institute presentation
South African Management Development Institute Budget Vote

Note: The first hour of this meeting was not minuted due to a programme mistake.

The Committee in line with its oversight responsibility was briefed by South African Management Development Institute (SAMDI) on its proposed programme and budget for the year 2004/05. The Committee complained that there was insufficient detail about SAMDI's provincial work. The Department will ensure in future briefings to include what it has done in each province.

The South African Management Development Institute (SAMDI) represented by its Director General, Dr B Soobrayan (Director-General) presented on SAMDI's progress to date, its challenges and strategic objectives as well as financial management and expenditure trends (see document).

Kgoshi L Mokoena (ANC)[Limpopo] expressed disappointment that the Department presentation to the National Council of Provinces was a mere duplicate of its presentation to the National Assembly.

Dr Soobrayan acknowledged the Committee's exasperation towards his Department but explained that SAMDI had only been informed on 24 May about a presentation to the NCOP which is late notice by any measure. He appreciated the difference between the two House of Parliament and undertook to take their differences into account in future so as to ensure that each House is able to give effect to its mandate.

Kgoshi Mokoena accepted the apology. Referring to the challenge posed by the "two economies" as described by the President in his State of the Nation address, he asked what form of assistance is the Department providing in this regard.

Dr Soobrayan replied that government training programmes should focus on service delivery in the second economy. The impact should be felt in those areas where the poorest of the poor live since generally it is in these areas where government's capacity is comparatively weaker. He proposed that there are three ways to deal with this: primarily through human capacity development, through system development and through redeployment. The President in a recent Lekgotla had stated that Directors General should also be prepared to be re-deployed and should not expect to sit in Pretoria all the time.

Kgoshi Mokoena wondered who was training the trainers as most public servants seemed to lack interpersonal relations and skills and thus the principle of Batho Pele (putting people first) was of importance.

Dr Soobrayan pointed out that until recently the work of SAMDI was confined by law to national and provincial government only and it did not cover local authorities. As a result most of the training by local authorities was done through academies. All trainers, just like teachers, need ongoing development and he noted that SAMDI has a dynamic programme were it regularly develops and trains public service trainers. There are a number of academies used by the Department of Provincial and Local Government to look at the provincial and local government training. SAMDI, on the other hand, had strategically assisted DPLG on a number of occasions to ensure that these training outreaches become a success. He acknowledged that there was still a huge amount of work to be done and thus any proposed intervention should attempt to go beyond mere training and include systematic, managerial as well as local political oversight and accountability interventions.

Mr J Le Roux (DA)[Eastern Cape] commented that most of the groups who were of the opinion that they needed training have ended up starting their own academies. He asked if this would not diminish the importance of SAMDI. He also asked about the duration of SAMDI's training period and how a particular department is approached for training.

Dr Soobrayan noted that there is no problem with regard to the number of these academies. The problem is when there is a duplication or others are non-effective. The policy is not to out-compete them but rather to work with them and thus ensure the development of a national framework within which training and development take place. The duration of a training session differs from issue to issue and the level at which it is provided, as there are those offered on honours level.

Mr B Mkhaliphi (ANC)[Mpumalanga] applauded the fact that a programme has been designed to train community development workers. It was their duty as the NCOP to ensure that it is implemented since they are the only institution which overlaps all three spheres of government. He raised concern about the thin line which sometimes exist between the functions entrusted to the Public Service Commission and those entrusted to SAMDI. It is the duty of the PSC to look after the ethical conduct of public servant. SAMDI, together with the DPSA, are the navigators of the needs of the public service and were supposed to identify beforehand whenever a particular skill is lacking in the public service.

Dr Soobrayan noting the concerns raised around SAMDI and its involvement in provincial training, proposed that SAMDI should be afforded an opportunity to come before the Committee and brief it on this issue alone. Such a briefing would be helpful in assisting members in understanding the pros and cons of these academies and their importance when it comes to provincial training of public servants.

Mr A Moseki (ANC)[North West] said that it would be useful if the Department submitted a written submission on all the academies working with it and their functions. He asked how the Department addresses the issue of equity and whether it as been able to reach its target, especially as far as disability is concerned.

Dr Soobrayan noted that while there is still much work to be done, there is a disability programme within the Department where disability officers are offered training on disability issues. However the Department would try to address this issue in more detail when it returns to brief the Committee on training.

Kgoshi Mokoena commented that many capable and dynamic officials leave the public service. He asked what is being done to ensure that these officials remain within the public service and are not lured away by the private sector.

Dr Soobrayan responded that through what is known as a sustainable pool system, they have been able to identify and recognise young emerging talent and thus work with it so that it could be accelerated and developed into management. In this way they are able to invest in them by means of training and encourage them to stay within the public service. However there are conditions attached so as to ensure that people do not leave.

Kgoshi Mokoena asked how the provinces are going to benefit from the SAMDI budget. He added that his own province, Limpopo, had been identified as a nodal point.

Dr Soobrayan reiterated that in future they would incorporate their work done in the provinces in their report. Although the Department was not in a position to state clearly how much would be spent in each province, he assured the Committee that all provinces would benefit through this budget. Those provinces with the greatest need would be given priority. He mentioned donor funding which is currently being chanelled as a priority to Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.

Kgoshi Mokoena asked SAMDI to supply the Committee with statistics clearly showing how each province will benefit from SAMDI as an institute.

The Chair asked SAMDI to note the manner in which the members jealously defend their integrity as a separate House of Parliament. He hoped that they would see it in that light as there was nothing personal against SAMDI as an institution. He further noted that in its implementation of its oversight role the Committee would continually engage the Department and thus agreed that there is a need for a follow up meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.


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