Government`s performance against the NDP targets & 7 priority areas in the MTSF; with Deputy Minister in the Presidency

Standing Committee on Appropriations

13 September 2023
Chairperson: Mr X Qayiso (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


National Development Plan

The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation briefed the Committee on government's performance against the National Development Plan targets, and the seven priority areas in the medium term strategic frameworks.

The Department said that they were not happy with the performance of some departments, which lacked the necessary infrastructure and financial capacity to meet their goals. They urged the adoption of results-based planning.

Members asked whether the government had put the implementation of the National Health Insurance programme on hold, what the reasons were for departments failing to meet their targets, and the consequences for failure to meet their targets. They also asked about the sustainability of employment created by government departments and their entities. Concern was raised about the underspending by the Department of Basic Education.

Meeting report

The Committee Secretary advised the meeting that the Chairperson would not be able to attend.

The Members voted for an acting Chairperson, and Mr X Qayiso (ANC) was elected.

The acting Chairperson said the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) had come to brief the Committee on the progress of departments with the medium term strategic frameworks and the financial year of national departments.

Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Ms Pinky Kekana, thanked the Committee for the opportunity given to the DPME to make its presentation. She asked the deputy directors to answer the questions and go through the presentation efficiently.

She handed the platform over to the Director-General, Mr Robert Nkuna.

Analysis of national departments' Q1 performance

Dr Annette Griessel, Deputy Director-General (DDG): National Planning Coordination, DPME, said that performance information played a significant role in planning for development and measuring the priorities of government, budget allocations, the monitoring of service delivery and improving value for money.

The DPME aimed to highlight positive progress made against planned targets and instances where departments were experiencing performance challenges.

 She would be presenting a summary based on the departments' reporting. The Commission for Gender and Equality (CGE) was the only department that had not submitted.

There was a need for further intervention at clusters that were struggling to meet their targets.

Overall summary of performance

  • Five national institutions had achieved a performance of under 50%.
  • 41 national institutions had achieved a performance of over 50%, but less than 100%.
  • Five institutions had achieved a performance of 100%.


  • Of the 39 national departments, 19 had achieved above 80% of their targets, and only two had achieved 100% of their Q1 targets.
  • The DPME would engage with the national departments through the Forum of South African Directors-General (FOSAD) and on a bilateral basis regarding quarterly performance.
  • The DPME would continue to provide support to national departments to improve performance against targets for the next quarters.
  • Departments had been reminded that 2023/24 was the last year of the current electoral cycle, so the targets had to be achieved. However, indications were that fiscal constraints would impact further on the achievement of targets.  

See attached for full presentation

MTSF (2019-2024) report on government performance

Mr Nkuna said that the DPME monitored implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030 through successive five-year medium term strategic frameworks (MTSFs). He said that everything that the government did depended on the capacity of the state, and if government was unable to increase this capacity, then the government could not improve.

The DPME focused on the seven priorities of government, which were:

  • Building a capable, ethical and developmental state (local government – governance and service delivery).
  • State of the economy (including rural economy and spatial integration).
  • Education, skills and health.
  • Social wage
  • Safer communities.
  • Social cohesion.
  • Better Africa and a better world.

The key message was that in the face of adversity arising from unemployment, poverty and inequality, the government had expanded the safety net to the most vulnerable segments of society. Human capability was being improved through access to basic and higher education, healthcare and social security.

The NDP targets where the government was falling behind were:

  • Elimination of poverty. Poverty was rising, with the percentage of the population living below the food poverty line estimated to be at 32.6%, compared to 20.5% in 2011.
  • Reduction of inequality, where the performance was stagnant at best.

Key priorities were:

  • Developing a capable and developmental state.
  • Energy security.
  • Implementation of structural reforms.
  • A dedicated focus on youth employment.
  • Enhancing visible policing.
  • National interest.
  • Implementing an integrated Just Transition strategy.

Citizen-based monitoring and government payment of invoices

There were 1 406 invoices older than 30 days and had remained unpaid at the end of the first quarter of the 2023/24 financial year, with a total value of R67 million. This was an increase of R53.6 million (79%) compared to the same period during the 2022/23 financial year, when national departments owed service providers R13.9 million.

Measures to address challenges in payment to suppliers were:

  • The DPME would continue to monitor departments struggling to pay suppliers within 30 days, together with the National Treasury (NT).
  • In collaboration with the Presidential Hotline, the Offices of the Premiers (OTPs), NT and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), it would institute support interventions for struggling departments.
  • It would look at the organisational culture, capacity and other enabling conditions influencing payment of suppliers within 30 days, and exercise general oversight across government.

(For the full presentations, see attached documents.)


Mr Z Mlenzana (ANC) asked Mr Nkuna about the National Health Insurance (NHI), and if Cabinet had decided to put the implementation of NHI on hold to focus on infrastructure development. He also wanted to know if the DPME had an impact assessment tool.

Mr H Mmemezi (ANC) raised concern about medical claims increasing, and questioned if the South African health system was as efficient as it should be. What would be done to reduce these medical claims? South Africans needed an efficient medical system. He raised concerns about the departments not spending enough of their budgets, as 20 departments were below the expenditure targets. What would be done to these departments, and was there an adequate consequence management system in place if the same departments kept underperforming? The main reason for underspending by departments needed to be identified.

Ms N Ntlangwini (EFF) agreed with the previous speaker about underspending. She referred to the Department of Basic Education (DBE),and asked what targets that Department had achieved. Unpaid invoices were still a problem in many departments. She asked what mechanisms the DPME had put in place to help departments ensure that they paid their invoices. The DPME should have a solution-driven approach. South Africa needed to have more sustainable and long-term jobs.

The acting Chairperson agreed with the previous speakers about measuring performance targets. What was important should be the measurement of impact. He raised a concern about the low number of mining rights being issued. The issue of the capacity of the state was a problem, because there were dysfunctional municipalities which would affect the state's capacity.


Deputy Minister Kekana said that the issue of the NHI was not negotiable, so the commitment to implementing it was still there. She agreed that the reality was that the health system in South Africa was not at the quality that it needed to be. This would be improved through continuous monitoring and evaluation. There was a department for monitoring and evaluation in every province, and these departments assisted the national departments in assessing the problems that arose.

Mr Nkuna agreed that the government had not changed its position on the NHI. What the Department was doing was assessing the readiness of the public sector to implement the NHI. The DPSA still had a lot of work to do before the NHI could be implemented.

Impact assessments were done in different ways. Recently, the Department has been relying on the information that they receive from the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) so that when reports are produced at the end of the year, these reports include the opinions of citizens.

Local government was a serious issue, and the Department was concerned. It was trying to investigate why past interventions had not been successful in turning around municipalities.

The reason for the high number of medical claims was because of poor filing systems and corruption. The problem was bigger where there were manual filing systems. He agreed that consequence management for poor performance needed to be strengthened. For now, the tool that the Department uses for monitoring is performance management.

Dr Thabo Mabogoane, Researcher, DPME, said that the Department did not assess only output, but impact as well. He made an example of the Department of Education, and said that it looks at the way students pass and not just the fact that they were passing. He agreed that the DBE had been underspending, adding that when departments such as Public Works failed to do their jobs, it puts more pressure on the Department of Education.

Dr Griessel said that the Department was the custodian of the country's overall planning strategy. Everything that it did should lead to a decline in unemployment. The DPME tried to proactively indicate to departments what their priorities should be, including in their annual performance plans (APPs). There was constant consultation with provinces.

The fiscal constraints had had an impact on the achievement of results. South Africa now had a problem of compounding crises. The Treasury agreed that there was room to improve the impact of expenditure. The creation of employment through public employment programmes aimed to improve the output in departments. These initiatives provide those employed with short-term income, but should facilitate their entry into more permanent employment.

Follow-up discussion

The acting Chairperson asked about the fiscal constraints South Africa was facing, and what impact this would have on achieving goals. What would the broader impact on unemployment be?

Mr Nkuna responded that interventions for fiscal problems needed to be dealt with on a departmental basis, because all departments had different problems. The President had signed performance agreements with Members of the Cabinet, and these needed to be met at the end of the year. There had been engagement with the Treasury to ensure that there was a budget to enable the goals to be met.

Deputy Minister's closing remarks

Deputy Minister Kekana agreed that there was a lot of work to be done, and said that the Department would revert to the Committee with further answers and information at a later stage.

The acting Chairperson thanked the Department, and excused them from the meeting.

Adoption of minutes

The Committee discussed the minutes of 5 September. Their adoption was moved by Mr Mlenzana and seconded by Mr Mmemezi.

The meeting was adjourned.

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