Adoption of Report on Departmental Budget: voting

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Employment and Labour

14 March 2000
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Meeting report

LABOUR PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
15 March 2000
ADOPTION OF REPORT ON THE BUDGET OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR


Documents handed out:
Adoption of Report on the Budget Vote of the DOL (Appendix 1)
Draft Guidelines for Provincial Visits to Labour Centres (Appendix 2)

Chairperson: Salie Manie (ANC)

MINUTES
Members raised a concern about the reduction of 32% to the Employment and Skills Development Services Programme. The Director-General's explanation that the funding of the National Skills Fund would be largely through the implementation of the Skills Levy from April 2000 was unconvincing to the Committee. They said the public might think that they had decreased the allocation to the Employment and Skills Development Services Programme.

Despite this reservation, the Committee adopted the report, except for an explanation from the DP that their support should not mean that they agree with the content of the report.

In conclusion the Chairperson referred the members to a copy of the Draft Guidelines for Provincial Visits to Labour Centres (see Appendix 2) and asked members to familiarise themselves with the content during recess.

Appendix 1:
Date: 14 March 2000
To: All Members of the Portfolio Committee on Labour

Re: Adoption of Report on the Budget Vote of the DOL

Please find enclosed a copy of the Report, which will be considered and adopted at the Portfolio Committee meeting tomorrow (Wednesday 15 March 2000).

I would like to request that all members familiarise themselves with the content of the Report as Members will be required to make input with regard to amendments or additions to the report before the adoption thereof.

I would also like to apologise for the short notice of the meeting and would like to furnish the following as reasons thereof:

1. Due to the fact that the report has to be submitted to Committee Section 3. days before it can appear on the order paper and the ATC, it is imperative that we adopt it now as we will not have time to follow this procedure when members return on the 4th of April 2000.
2. This is the last week that the Committees are sitting before constituency.
3. When members come back on the 4th of April the Budget will be debated in the House.
4.The Committee could not have its regular meeting on the Tuesday because of a change in the parliamentary programme.
5. The Report on the Budget Vote thus has to be adopted by the Committee tomorrow.

I would like also to remind members that a quorum would be needed for adoption of the Report.

Salie Manie
Chairperson: Portfolio Committee on Labour

BUDGET REPORT
A. Introduction
The Committee viewed the Tabling of the Budget Vote of the Minister of Labour on 7 March 2000 as an ideal opportunity to interact with the Department to assess whether their work is still on track and to examine carefully what the needs are of each programme and what still remains to be done.

This Report records for each Programme and the Budget Vote as a whole -
1.a discussion on the 2000-2001 budget allocation
2.Presentation made to the Committee; and
3.the Committee's comments

The recommendations in paragraph K of this Report are directed to the Department of Labour as a whole.

A Vote 19:The Department of Labour Budget Vote

1. 2000-2001 Budget Allocation
The Department of Labour's allocation has decreased by 10.83%. The
Department has been allocated R748, 327 million in 2000/01 in contrast to the
1999/00 budget where the allocation was R839, 259 million.

2. Presentation by the Director - General end the officials of the Department of Labour 7 March 2000

Advocate Rams Ramashia (Director-General of the Department) said that the Departments activities had previously been dominated by policy development, putting in place a new legislative framework and setting up new labour market institutions. However that the new programme of action signaled a strong shift towards implementation. He said Department aims to ensure that the range of public services which the Department delivers are professional and client-orientated. He further went on to outline the Departments key activities for the year as well as budget allocations.

C. Programme 1: Administration:

1.2000/01 Budget Allocation
The allocation towards administration is R154, 661 million for 2000/01, which is an increase of R 26,167 million allocated in 1999/00. Administration's allocation has thus been boosted by 20.36 %.

2.Presentation by the Director-General: 7 March 2000

The Director-General said that the key focus of the Departments administration would be the establishment of a Public Private Partnership to set up an electronic one-stop service, which would underpin the Departments commitment to accessible1 professional and client-oriented service. He expressed confidence that the Department would be ready for the Public Finance Management Act, which comes into effect on 1 April 2000, and said significant groundwork including training and awareness raising had been done.

D. Programme 2: Employment and Skills Development Services 1.Budget Allocation 2000/01

The allocation for the programme in 2000/01 is R274, 361 million. It is a 32% decrease compared to the 1999/00 allocation, which was R406, 285 million.

2.Presentation by the Director- General

The Director-General said that much attention was focused on the Departments flagship Employment and Skills Development Services programme which is tasked with the implementation of the Skills Development Act and the Skills Development Levies Act and receives over a third of the Departments Budget. The Director-General said that the reduction in the allocation for 2000/01 is due to the fact that the funding of the National Skills Fund will be largely through the implementation of the Skills Levy from April 2000.The Department had driven extensive preparations with stakeholders to set up Sector Education and Training Authorities (Seta's). ln March 2000, The Minister of Labour is expected to formally establish 25 Seta's covering each sector of the economy.

E. Programme 3: Labour Relations

1.Budget Allocation 2000/01

The programme is allocated R212, 861 million, which represented a 1,9% increase compared to the 1999/00 allocation of R208, 937 million. More than half of the allocation is a transfer to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

2.Presentation by the Director- General

The Director-General said that the main emphasis would be on the implementation of the Employment Equity Act, as well as the introduction to the amendments to aspects of the Labour Relations Act and the BCEA to address unintended consequences.

F. Programme 4: Occupational Health and Safety

1.Budget Allocation 2000/01

In 2000/01 R36, 477 million is allocated to this programme. It is a 26,28% increase on the R28, 885 million allocated for 1999/00.

2.Presentation by the Director-General

The Director-General said that the Department would play the leading role in implementing a cabinet decision to integrate OHS competencies currently under the Departments of Labour, Health and Minerals and Energy. A preventative campaign to promote workplace health and safety is to be launched in 2000 to raise awareness and build capacity among stakeholders. Special attention will be paid to health and safety in small businesses and the informal sector. The Compensation Fund will be concentrating on improved service delivery through automation and decentralisation, as well as developing policy on new areas such as compensation for workers who contract HlV/Aids in the workplace and extending coverage to domestic workers.

G. Programme 5: Labour Market Policy

1.Budget Allocation 2000/01

For the year 2000/01, the programme is allocated R33, 308 million. It is a 33,25% increase on the 1999/00 allocation, which was R24, 996 million. The increase is attributed to higher spending on personnel intended to strengthen capacity within labour policy. The programme is responsible for transfers to the National Productivity Institute, which for 1999/00 amounted to R20, 440 million.

2.Presentation by the Director- General

The Director-General said that a range of activities were underway to monitor, analyse and disseminate labour market information and statistics. Objective to conduct research to assist in monitoring, review and formulation of labour market policies to ensure policies remain relevant to the developments within the Labour market The Department has published a report with regard to strike statistics. The programme provides on-going support for activities relating to implementation of Job Summit Agreements and other related programmes. It also renders assistance to other areas in need of support. There is and need to be a close working relationship with STATS South Africa to ensure statistics are relevant to activities the Department of Labour is engaged in. The Department is also embarking on research on the incidence of casualisation in the hospitality and retail sectors and wants to determine extent and nature of this phenomenon. Research is being conducted to determine the impact of labour marks policies and which would inform future policy formulation.

H. Programme 6: Social Insurance

1.Budget Allocation: 2000/01

An amount of R21, 408 million is allocated to the Social Insurance Programme for 2000/01. The allocation represents a 1,08% decrease on the 1999/00 allocation of R21, 841 million.

2.Presentation by the Director- General

The Director-General said that the Social Insurance programme is responsible for contributions to the Unemployment Fund and the Compensation Fund, as well as for medical expenses of workers employed by the state who sustain injuries and diseases whilst on duty. Advocate Ramashia said that negotiation in Nedlac and the new legislation's passage through parliament would be top priority for the Department this year. The focus will be on the Social Security System. Department of Labours activity in social security need to be co-ordinated within the broader development of a comprehensive social security system. There is a need to improve guidelines in order to facilitate overall improvement of the management of the Fund. The main focus is on service delivery in order to maximise use of technology, management and training right down to Labour Centre level. The need to minimise fraud with regard to the Fund is of extreme importance. The new UIF Bill has been submitted to Nedlac.

I. Programme 7: Auxillary and associated services

1. Budget Allocation 2000/01

In 2000/01 the programme is allocated R15.247 million. This allocation is a
23,82 % decrease compared to the previous years allocation, which was R20,
021 million.

2. Presentation by the Director-General

The Director - General explained that this programme makes provision for transfers to Nedlac and activities relating to International Relations relevant to labour mailers. The deadline in the allocation is attributed to a shift towards contribution to work centres for the disabled and workshops for the blind. Advocate Ramashia said that the Department's areas of work in International Relations included Africa, Organisation for African Unity: Labour and Social Affairs Commission, the African Regional Administration Centre dealing with English speaking countries in Africa to focus strengthening of labour administration within English Speaking Africa. Other areas are the International Labour Organisation as well as Technical Co-operation. To advocate for the establishment of a common regulatory framework on Labour, employment and related social issues, the Department promotes adoption of SADEC Protocol on Labour Relations lssues. The Department hosted a SADEC Conference where 14 member states of SADEC was able to share their experiences with regard to labour relations mailers and to strengthen capacity of independent trade unions and employer organisations. The Department appreciates the effort of Businesses in South Africa in establishing a Business Body to interact within SADEC employment and Labour sector. They have been able to bring in all the employer bodies. The representative of the Department said that technical co-operation should complement our national resources and that they will seek additional resources through technical co-operation.

J. Committee's comments

The briefing by the Department, Advocate Ramashia and his delegation, indicated a need for the Committee to be involved in issues forthcoming from the Department and especially with regard to the Budget The committee reaffirmed its intention to involve itself in the processes of the Department with the intention to fulfil its oversight function in a more pro-active way. This implies that the close relationship with the Department will have to be continued The committee raised a number of concerns with regard to the individual programmes of the Department as it relates to the budget The issues that the committee felt that the Department should focus on are the following:

a) the filtration of the performance management contract to all the levels in the Department and not only the DG and superior officials
b) the co-ordination and powers of inspectors
c) the promotion of small businesses
d) to follow up on the workplace forums in place so as to establish which sectors are lagging behind in this area
e) to improve accessibility and client-orientated service in the rural areas
f) to indicate to the Portfolio Committee in a formal briefing what the proposed changes in the BCEA encapsulates
g) to streamline the payment method of the Compensation and Unemployment Funds

K. Committee recommendations for the Department of Labour

In concluding its review of the Budget Vote of the Minister for Labour, the Committee would like to stress the continuing importance of the Public Management Act. Service Delivery is crucial to the effectiveness of the Department and the continued effective implementation of methods and mechanisms to ensure efficient delivery should remain the top priority of the provincial offices and labour centres.

The Committee therefore recommends that provincial and labour centres

a) Develop and maintain a dear understanding of what is required of them in terms of delivery, based on the clearly articulated needs of service users.
b) Carefully revise and engage in continual progress checks to ensure that the budget is utilised not only optimally but in such a way that justice is done to all the programmes implemented - so as to ensure that the public receives the ultimate benefit

Salle Manie (MP)
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee

Appendix 2:
14 MARCH 2000
PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LABOUR
DRAFT GUIDELINES FOR PROVINCIAL VISITS TO LABOUR CENTRES

This is just a draft guideline for the provincial visits. Members may use individual visits to labour centres during constituency period. Members however use their discretion in asking additional questions.

The Department of Labour's aim is to target improved service delivery and ensure that the range of public services which the Department delivers are professional and client-oriented.

The Portfolio Committee's focus, when visiting the labour centres, will be:
> To establish whether the centres function in line with this aim of the Department.
> To establish which factors are hampering professional and client - oriented service delivery.

Portfolio Committee's Objective:
> To develop recommendations to be included in a report to Parliament and the Department of Labour with regard to the functioning of labour centres.

The questions I interviews at the labour centres will thus include the
following questions:
> To establish the organisational structure of the labour centre.
> To establish whether a work plan exists for each of the organisational units.
> To establish whether the staff is aware of the work plans.
> To establish what the current
a) difficulties
b) constraints and
c) obstacles are to implementing the work plan.
> To establish whether the staff have any concrete suggestions on how service delivery can be improved.

Salie Manie
Chairperson: Portfolio Committee on Labour

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