Public Service Commission Budget: briefing

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PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
9 March 2005
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION BUDGET: BRIEFING

Chairperson:
Mr P Gomomo (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Public Service Commission budget
Public Service Commission Consolidated Year Plan 2005/06

SUMMARY
The Public Service Commission (PSC) briefed the Committee on its medium-term budget. The Commission had received unqualified audits for the past three years. The budget had increased over the years and underspending had dropped since 1999. The Commission had spent most of its budget on administration costs. Underspending was gradually declining due to the filling of vacancies and the increasing amount of work being done by the Commission.

MINUTES
The Commission was represented by Professor S Sangweni (Chairperson), Mr M Skosana (Director-General) and Mr D Maphumulo (CFO). The latter briefed the Committee on the Commission's Medium Term Expenditure Framework. He only focused on the budget since the Commission had already presented its business plan, achievements and challenges in a previous Committee meeting.

Mr Maphumulo reported that there had been some changes in spending patterns since 1999. Underspending (or savings as a percentage of total budget) was gradually declining. The budget allocation had also increased largely due to the nature of the structure of the Commission. There had been an increase in the number of personnel and projects undertaken. The money spent on compensation for employees had also increased over the years. It had spent 72% of its budget on personnel and 28% on operations.

The Commission had submitted its financial statements as required by the Public Finance Management Act, and had received unqualified audits for the past three years. It was hoped that the same would continue in the next financial year.

Discussion
Mr K Minnie (DA) asked if the administration costs were increasing because the Commission was creating new positions or filling existing vacancies.

Mr Maphumulo replied that the Commission was doing both due to ongoing restructuring. For instance, the information technology component of the Commission would have five new staff. The Commission had managed to fill vacancies at senior management levels and it was in the process on filling junior positions. Mr Skosana added that the increase was also due to the normal annual increases on salaries.

Professor Sangweni added that the amount of work done by the Commission had also increased in both qualitative and quantitative terms. He gave the Monitoring and Evaluation Project as an example.

Mr A Simmons (NNP) asked how many vacancies existed and what the Commission was doing to fill them.

Mr Maphumulo replied that there were 26 vacant posts. The Commission would soon shortlist candidates for some of the positions.

The Director-General added that the Commission had 37 Senior Managers and four posts were vacant at that level. They would be filled during the course of next month. The public service had an average vacancy rate of 10%, and this was considered to be normal.

Ms L Maloney (ANC) asked if the Commission's staff composition, especially at senior level, was ‘gender sensitive’. The Commission had the responsibility of monitoring if the staff composition of all departments were representative. It was thus important for the Commission to ‘take the lead’ in this regard.

Mr Skosana replied that the Commission had reached the targeted level of representivity. It still had the opportunity to increase the number of women employed at senior level. It was working with an organisation that assisted with the recruitment of disabled candidates. Unfortunately no candidate names had yet been forwarded. The Commission was trying its best to meet the targets.

Professor Sangweni added that the Commission was working under difficult conditions. Its personnel were ‘exposed’ to the public service in general and qualified for positions in other departments. This had led to some of its employees leaving to take up more senior positions within the public service.

Ms Maloney asked if the Commission conducted internships in order to expose students to the kind of work it performed. Mr Maphumulo replied that the Commission had five female and five female interns. They had started their internships in September 2004.

The Director-General added that the internships were linked to learnships under the Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSSETA). Some of the interns had proved very competent and would soon be absorbed into the Commission. The interns would be accredited for the work they had done.

Ms P Mashangoane (ANC) asked about the cause of underspending. The Director-General replied that savings had been due to unfilled positions. The Commission had come into existence in 1999 and there had been many vacancies in that year. The figures had improved since 1999.

The meeting was adjourned.

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