Department of Public Service and Administration Budget; Integrated Provincial Support Programme: briefing

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The Chair said that in the coming year the Budget Report would be done differently as there should be more than one presentation so that members could engage with the Department and deal with arising questions efficiently

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION SELECT COMMITTEE
8 June 2004
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION BUDGET; INTEGRATED PROVINCIAL SUPPORT PROGRAMME: BRIEFING

Chairperson
: Mr S Shiceka (ANC)

Documents handed out:
DPSA Review, Business Plan and Budget
IPSP Presentation Document
DPSA Budget Vote 10
Service Delivery Review magazine (see Department website)

Department website:
www.dpsa.gov.za

SUMMARY
The Department of Public Service and Administration presented its Business Plan and Budget Review to the Committee. One of the objectives that the President had expressed in his State of the Nation Address was the development of strategies to improve service delivery. In line with this was the application of the Batho Pele project at management level.

A review on macro-benefits such as pension funds, medical aid and housing had commenced. The pension fund, for example, was successfully revised to include funeral schemes for HIV/AIDS deaths and an AIDS orphan scheme. The Business Plan included projects such as the continuation of the roll-out of learnerships in the provinces and the appointment of Community Development Workers from 2005.

The Integrated Provincial Support Programme partnership was established in 2000 to assist provinces in service delivery and achieve provincial growth and development strategies.

MINUTES
DPSA budget
Mr A Rapea (Acting Director General) presented the briefing. It covered: DPSA outputs and programme structure, a review of 2003/04 and the business plan for 2004/05. He also linked the DPSA strategic plan to President Mbeki's State of the Nation Address (see document).

One of the major concerns raised by the Committee was how productivity and increased service delivery could be monitored in all provinces.

Committee members were happy to hear that the Department had recruited 250 unemployed graduates for IT internship. One of DPSA's programmes was Service Delivery Improvement
and one way to enhance that was through Information Technology.

Integrated Provincial Support Programme (IPSP)
The Integrated Provincial Support Programme (IPSP) delegation included Mr M Wilson, Manager: Programme Management, Ms T Radebe, Management: Learning and Knowledge Management, Mr M Matlala, IPSP coordinator: Limpopo.

Mr M Wilson presented on the IPSP partnership with provinces to improve service delivery by assisting with the implementation of projects that would facilitate provincial growth (see document).

The Chair said the IPSP would continually be assessed and that more engagement on practical matters would take place at another presentation.

Discussion
The Chair said that the Committee oversight on the Budget would need to be done differently from now on. There should be more than one presentation so that members could engage with the Department and deal with arising questions efficiently. There also had to be a session outside the presentation around the projects the Department was implementing so that Committee could better understand their business strategy.

Before Mr Rapea answered any questions, he said that those left unanswered would be taken into consideration as they related to issues not yet fully discussed by the Department.

Mr Z Ntuli (ANC) was pleased that programmes were in place to ensure efficient public services. He asked if there was a way of monitoring productivity and whether there were key performance areas.

Mr Rapea replied that there was a performance management system in place in all departments that assisted provinces in monitoring service delivery.

Mr J Le Roux asked on what levels the 11000 excess employees were and what had been done to make those employees viable to enter the job market.

Mr Rapea replied that there were limited numbers of excess employees in the Northern Cape, North West and Western Cape. Limpopo and Eastern Cape had over 4300 excess employees. The employees were in the low-level brackets: between Level one and four.

Mr K Mokoena (ANC) referred to the Department's Review on the restructuring of the public service and placing people in relevant posts. He asked how that would be done when there were people presently in positions in which they were incompetent.

Mr Rapea replied that Resolution 7 of 2002 entailed linking human resource planning to departmental strategies where employees would fill posts that suited their skills and in which they were competent. Unfortunately, some cases had been unsuccessful where managers had taken short cuts to improve their positions financially without having the necessary skills to do so.

He continued that employees were provided with skills training for further individual development and if re-training them was unsuccessful, an exit package was available. However, with the huge unemployment rate in South Africa, all ways were exhausted before personnel were retrenched.

Mr Mokoena asked if vacancies were kept for family members whose breadwinners had retired because of ill health. He was referring to the Ill-health Retirement Policy.

Mr Rapea replied that that was not done.

Mr Mokoena said he was being controversial but it seemed as if a culture was promoted that if one worked in rural areas, one was doing the rural community a favour. He was pleased to hear that 250 unemployed graduates were enrolled in the IT internship programme. However, how were they were identified? The Department should give a breakdown of each province.

Mr Rapea replied that the positions were advertised in provincial and local papers and the criteria promoted women: 55% were female interns and 45% males. Thirty per cent of the interns were already permanently employed and the Department was assisting the others to find employment. He could not provide a breakdown of the number of unemployed graduates that were chosen from each province at present but he would provide a report if needed.

A Committee member asked why the Eastern Cape had been favoured because most of the projects had been based there. He also asked why the Budget reflected that SITA no longer received transfers.

Mr Rapea replied that State Information Technology Agency (SITA) was paid for every service rendered.

The same member expressed his disappointment in the Department for not ensuring that pensions were paid to beneficiaries of the deceased expediently. He also wanted clarity on the Department's role in ensuring that skills development and leawrning was relevant to the South African job market.

Mr Rapea replied that there was an agreement with the Government Employment Pension Fund (GEPF) for a turnaround in that situation where pensions would be paid within three months to the beneficiaries. He said that sometimes departments were negligent and failed to hand in the information on time.

He noted that there was a co-ordinating body comprised of the National Treasury, DPSA, the Education Department and the Department of Labour that sought to ensure skills development was relevant to the South African economy.

Mr B Mkhaliphi (ANC) stated that in Limpopo redeployment of teachers had been halted. There were teachers highly qualified in the Sciences' posts who were unutilised. He said that human resources were being wasted.

Mr Rapea replied that that had to be investigated because persons with Mathematics and Science degrees were an asset to the South African economy.

Ms P Hollander (ANC) asked how the Community Development Workers (CDW) would be recruited from the different provinces. Did DPSA stipulate to provinces or could they act on their own?

Mr Rapea replied that CDWs had to be recruited from every ward within the provinces.

The Chair referred to the Service Delivery Review magazine and asked who was the target audience. He suggested that the Review be provided generally.

Mr Rapea replied that the target audience was senior managers. Due to budget constraints, only a limited number could be sent to libraries but that the Review was available on the website.

A Committee member asked if the policy of increasing the number of women in management positions formed part of the Employment Equity Plan.

Mr Rapea replied that their policy was far more advanced than that Plan.

Mr D Worth (DA) noted that systems were in place in departments to monitor public servants. He asked if there was anyone that monitored those monitors.

Mr Mkhaphili asked if the Department was confident that it would place all its graduates.

Mr Rapea replied that that matter was in the hands of the Department of Labour but that the Department would assist to ensure that unemployed graduates found employment.

Mr M Thetjeng (DA) was concerned about lazy public servants and how it would be possible to incorporate the essence of the Batho Pele Gateway Project into their lives.

Mr Rapea replied that specific interventions had been implemented to counter the attitudes of lazy public servants. Those employees who performed well and increased the efficiency of service delivery were identified and rewarded.

Mr Thetjeng noted that there were teachers in Limpopo, for example, who were employed on a contract basis and after ten years they were still temporary teachers. He asked what could be done to remedy that situation.

Mr Rapea replied that that had to be looked into with the Department of Education. Teachers could not remain temporary for life.

Mr Mokoena asked which provinces performed well or poorly in terms of gender equity employment.

Mr Rapea did not have details but was willing to send a report to the Committee.

Mr Mokoena commented that he hoped that the service delivery problems experienced previously would not be experienced with the new Social Security Agency. He asked why consultants were hired as they were costly to the Department.

Mr Rapea replied that guidelines were developed to assess when consultants were to be used and how much they were to be paid. An assessment had not been done since those guidelines were proposed.

Mr Hollander asked how inproved service delivery could be developed in government institutions that closed during lunchtime. Flexitime should be established or unemployed youth could work during lunch hours.

Mr Rapea replied that an Anti Corruption Programme was being implemented at the Department of Home Affairs. The real issue was employee's attitudes and managers should be held accountable. There was no need for youth to work during lunchtime as there was not a shortage of staff. If someone went on lunch, another employee should be standing in.

The Chair asked if there was system for government to evaluate service delivery to check and ensure that consultants are not being over utilised. He asked what lessons had been learnt from Resolution 7. He also asked if the Batho Pele project had been actualised by civil servants.

Mr Rapea replied that members could participate in the discussions on the Batho Pele Project online on the Government website at www.gov.za. They should respond with an assessment of the effectiveness of the project.

The Chair asked who made up the government delegation when negotiating on Resolution 7 matters.

Mr Rapea replied the chief negotiators were from DPSA, the Departments of Education and Safety and Security.

Due to time constraints, the Chair said that questions on the IPSP presentation would be posed in a later meeting. The Chair however raised the question of how it would be possible to ensure that all provinces were dedicated to improving service delivery.

The Chair thanked both DPSA and IPSP for their presentation.

The meeting was adjourned

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