National Treasury on the Vulindlela Project: briefing

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PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
13 September 2001
NATIONAL TREASURY ON THE VULINDLELA PROJECT:BRIEFING

Chairperson: Mr N Nhleko

Documents handed out:
Vulindlela, an initiative of the Department of National Treasury, South Africa

SUMMARY
Department of the National Treasury presented on the Vulindlela project which they stated was an extremely complex process. The Committee enquired about the accessibility and confidentiality of the information kept by Vulindlela.

MINUTES
Mr Nhleko (ANC) introduced Vulindlela as a collaborative project between the Department of Public Service and Administration and the National Treasury. Mr Nhleko said the envisaged comprehensive presentation by the National Treasury would assist the Committee in improving its oversight role. The government would then be able to assess the progress that the department is making in terms of policy implementation.

Presentation by the Accountant-General
Mr Ismail Mamoojee, the Accountant-General in the National Treasury told the Committee that the Vulindlela project was initiated in February 1998. Vulindlela is designed as the preferred central database that would meet the needs of the Treasury and other stakeholders. Its primary purpose is to provide management, policy and planning information that will enable the department to operate smoothly. Vulindlela would result in improved human resource and personnel expenditure information.

For more details in the presentation please refer to attached document

Discussion
Mr Baloyi (ANC) asked how accessible is the information to other departments. How soon is the information updated?

Mr Imran Patel from the National Treasury replied that access is limited to specific departments, even in those departments where Vulindlela operates access control is being used, for example one has to put in a password first before getting the data. To update the information, Vulindlela asks respective departments to provide that information.

Mr Patel added that information should be available to all public servants. Certain departments would like to provide information up to a certain level, not beyond. They do not want certain information to be used for other purposes outside their department.

Mr Baloyi asked how Vulindlela records qualifications of all public servants?

Mr Patel replied that on information on education qualifications has to be improved because the system cannot record certain degrees, especially Bachelor of Science degrees. Another problem is when the information on qualifications is not on the persal. This should include qualifications when staff are employed and further qualifications after employment. Staff members should also submit those qualifications to their departments immediately.

Mr M Kgwele (ANC) enquired how the department looks at the performance of the various departments in the public service.

Mr Patel replied that they get that information from the departments concerned. For performance agreements it is difficult to provide the information because the system is still new. Vulindlela, however, is not responsible for looking at performance. Public service departments should be honest in assessing individual performances of their employees. Most departments are reluctant to report people who are underperforming.

Ms L Maloney (ANC) asked what does the department do with people who do not want to provide information to them.
A member asked how often does the department update information, she suggested that the department should have a system where information is updated automatically.

Mr S Mamoojee from the National Treasury replied that most managers do not rely on information technology and it is high time that they do so in order to be able to update their database. Information is updated automatically every month.

Mr Kgwele (ANC) wanted to know how could the department avoid a situation where public servants would use the system for unlawful purposes.

Mr Patel enquired if the Committee had been briefed on the issue of e-governance that had been introduced by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA). This system is more sophisticated and it will address the question of privacy, which he thought is important when dealing with this new arrangement.

The meeting was adjourned

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