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DEFENCE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
10 August 2004
DEFENCE SETA REPORT: MINISTER OF LABOUR AND HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT BRIEFING; IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DEPARTMENT HUMAN RESOURCE STRATEGY 2010: DEPARTMENT BRIEFING
Chairperson: Prof. K Asmal (ANC)
Document handed out:
Department of Defence Human Resource Strategy 2010: Edition 2
In his briefing, the Minister of Labour and Human Resources Development informed the Committee that 25 Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) - including the Defence SETA - had been assessed on their performance. These SETAs had until March 2005 to prove themselves or risk liquidation. The Department then presented their Human Resource Strategy until 2010. The Chairperson recommended that within six months, the Department should establish a single focal point of accountable responsibility; greater emphasis on staff training and retraining; a three monthly report on the Department's deliverables (such as cadet entry, learnership entry and exit formula) and a report on its IT system and computerised complaints mechanisms.
Mr M Mdadlana, Minister of Labour and Human Resources Development, reported that following a request to deal with non-performing SETAs, 25 SETAs had been assessed and two of these had been informed that they were under-performing. The evaluation had nothing to do with re-establishment but only with agreed performance targets set by the SETAs themselves. The Ministry received quarterly reports of performance from each of the 25 SETAs. The 'lifespan 'of these SETAs would be until March 2005, at which time, some of the SETAs would be re-established, merged with others or closed down.
The Defence SETA assessment had shown that five out of eight defence targets had been met. The institution had thus far been trying to justify that they had been inaccurately assessed. They claimed the primary reason for non-performance was a lack of funds and support. This SETA had made a budget presentation for the training of 40 000 Umkhonto we Sizwe military veterans, and R39 million had been granted. This figure had since been trimmed down to 4 000 trainees. They had also asked that government revisit the annual allocation to SETAs from the current 10% to 20%. The Defence SETA covered the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Department of Trade and Industry, Defence and SA Intelligence. Each of these departments contributed to their income, but most came from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Lastly, he highlighted some critical questions. Was the SETA Board ensuring that all stakeholders were contributing their quota? Was it offering enough value on delivery? What was the skills level of the people serving on the Board? Was it necessary to allow the Board to continue or should it be shut down?
Dr G Koornhof (ANC) enquired whether the R39 million allocated was meant to be spent in the current financial year. He asked a way out of the present quagmire to avert a recurrence of similar problems.
Mr Mdadlana responded that the SETA should answer all the critical questions he had raised. There also needed to be an agreement between the Defence SETA and the Veterans Association.
Mr S Huang (ANC) drew attention to the Defence SETA's reduction of 40 000 trainees to 4 000, and yet at the same cost of R39 million.
Mr Mdadlana reasoned that the SETA CEO would better answer this question. He however indicated that the R39 million allocated could not be used for employing more people.
Mr E Monareng (ANC) asked who co-ordinated the military veterans.
Mr Mdadlana could not answer as he had insufficient knowledge of the administrative structure of the military veterans. He also did not fully understand the linkage between the Umkhonto we Sizwe military veterans and the other veterans associations.
The Chairperson wondered whether it was normal for a SETA with an annual expenditure of about R6.5 million to have funding problems.
Mr Mdadlana responded that the administrative cost of the SETA was supposed to be 12.5% of their total expenditure, excluding the costs of dealing with other problems that might arise.
The Chairperson concluded that in line with the President's vision of an efficient government, there was need to have a demographic balance of youth in the Defence Force. To achieve the goal of a highly skilled and technologically-orientated Force, it was necessary to offer many incentives to attract youth to the Force.
Department Human Resources briefing
Brigadier-General A De Wit (Director: Human Resources Planning) presented on the Implementation of the Department's Human Resources Strategy until 2010. Achievements of their strategy included the Mature Youth Foundation training programme, MSDS contribution to enhance representivity in junior ranks, and progress in gender representivity. Challenges included that representivity had yet to normalise in middle management (white persons surplus) and at junior levels (African persons surplus); achieving compliance with Defence Review guidelines at all levels and in all musterings; and retaining black expertise in competition with the private sector. Some of the 'Desired End States' included: an optimally representative Department of Defence and SANDF, operational and functional expertise, excellent human resources service delivery, and a practised 'One Force model'.
Mr Monareng wondered why the promotion strategy had been omitted from the report. He counselled that such areas as the exit mechanism should be handled in a way that did not create the impression of frustration or redundancy with age.
Lieutenant-General T Matanzima (Department Chief of Corporate Staff) responded that the briefing did not elaborate on the promotion policy although that document was available. The promotion strategy of the Department took care of 'fast-tracking'.
Mr D Dlali thought the presentation was not precise on gender representivity and wondered if South African women were not interested in the Defence Force. The Chairperson asked the position of the Defence Force on women taking part in combat.
Lt-Gen. Matanzima said that the Department had women in the artillery and in the fighting units. There were also female Lieutenants and colonels in fighting positions in the SANDF troops in Burundi.
Mr Huang reiterated his earlier question on why the SETA veteran training figure had decreased from 40 000 to 4 000 while the budget increased 20%.
Mr P Manda (DIDETA CEO) answered that the matter began in 2001 when the SETA was asked to submit a paper to the National Skills Acquisition Fund. A feasibility study showed that the training of 40 000 military veterans would require R309 million. But of this sum, only R39 million had been granted. This necessitated the trimming of the training capacity to 4 000.
The Chairperson recommended that within six months, the Department should establish the following: a single focal point of accountable responsibility; greater emphasis on staff training and retraining; a three monthly report on the Department's deliverables (such as cadet entry, learnership entry and exit formula) and a report on its IT system and computerised complaints mechanism.
The meeting was adjourned.
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