A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION SELECT COMMITTEE
22 May 2007
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION & PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION: BUDGET & STRATEGIC PLAN 2007/08: BRIEFINGS
Chairperson: Mr S Shiceka (ANC, Gauteng)
Documents handed out:
Public Service Commission Work Plan and Budget, presentation
DPSA Budget 2007/08, presentation
The Committee heard briefings from the Department of Public Service and Administration and the Public Service Commission on the topic of the budget. The Chairperson noted the need for documents to be provided no later than a week prior to the Committee meeting. He expressed disquiet at the late submission of the reports. The Committee decided that the briefings would be given, but that the presenters must return at a later date to provide answers to Members’ questions.
The Public Service Commission reported that its mandate was to investigate, monitor and evaluate the organisation and administration of the Public Service. The work in the field of anti-corruption and professional ethics had escalated through the management of the Anti-Corruption Hotline and conducting public administration investigations. The monitoring and evaluation systems were continuing. The increase in demands for intervention in all areas placed increased pressure on the office. The employment equity tables for staff were presented. Spending patterns had improved, and it was projected that there would be an under spend of less than 1.5% in the current year. If donor funding had not been obtained, the Commission would not have been able to run some projects. The Commission had received an unqualified audit for the past six years. The objectives, projects and completion dates for the two branches of the Commission were described. The budget for 2007/08 was R105 million, rising to R116 million by 2009/10. Members asked questions on vacancies in departments, the high number of senior officials in acting positions, assessments and mobility of Heads of Department, when the evaluation of professional ethics would be available, whether employment equity reflections were worthwhile, the increase in the size of the public service and whether enough was being done on corruption. Further questions related to those departments identified as being poor in service delivery, payment of performance bonuses, whether officials under investigation should be suspended pending finalisation of their cases,
corruption in goods transport, the standards for evaluation, declaration of conflicts of interest, the desirability of incentives for officials to work in rural areas, donor funding, liaison with other institutions on corruption, and the lack of consistency of the feeding scheme programme.
The Department of Public Service and Administration indicated that it had six programmes to support its aim to transform the public service, and promote good governance. hese were fully outlined, with completion dates, in the presentation. Particular attention was paid to programmes under Management of Compensation and e-government advances. Anti corruption strategies would be implemented by March 2009, in the public service at all levels - national, regional and global. There had been a change to the budget structure because of consolidation of three previous programmes and the addition of other sub programmes. The allocation for 2007/08 was R357.2 million. The classification of spending was tabled, and the increases in compensation noted since 2003. No questions were asked as the presenters were to return to a later session to answer questions.
Chairperson’s opening remarks: submission of reports
The Chairperson noted the need for documents to be provided by presenters no later than a week prior to the Committee meeting. He expressed disquiet at the late submission of the reports. The Committee, after discussion, decided that the briefings should be given, but that the presenters must return at a later date to provide answers to Members’ questions.
Briefing by Public Service Commission (PSC)
Mr Mashwahle Diphofa, Deputy Director General: PSC, explained that the mandate of the Public Service Commission, was to investigate, monitor and evaluate the organisation and administration of the Public Service. This was intended to assist parliament in exercising an oversight role. He noted that the work in the field of anti-corruption and professional ethics had escalated through the management of the Anti-Corruption Hotline and conducting public administration investigations. A new Chief Directorate would take effect on 1 April 2007. The monitoring and evaluation systems were continuing. The increase in demands for intervention in all areas placed increased pressure on the office. The employment equity tables for staff were presented. It was noted that spending patterns had improved, so that there was underexpenditure in 2005/06 of only 1.6%. It was projected to under spend by less than 1.5% in the current year. However, he warned that if donor funding had not been obtained, PSC would not have been able to run some projects. Unqualified audits were received for the past six years.
The PSC had two branches, one for monitoring and evaluation and another for investigations and human resource reviews. The objectives, projects and completion dates under each branch were set out.
Mr Diphofa set out the budget figures. The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) allocations were tabled for the three years from 2007 to 2010, with breakdowns across the programmes, showing an allocation of R105 million rising to R116 million over that period.
Following the Chairperson’s earlier ruling, the questions asked by Members were to be responded to at a future meeting.
Mr Z Ntuli (ANC, Kwazulu Natal) asked what caused the vacancies in the department. He expressed concern that Members had never really been provided with coherent reasons for the vacancies. He asked if this was primarily due to a shortage of qualified people, and asked if the PSC could explain also why some provinces had a large vacancy rate.
The Chairperson added that South Africa had a high level of unemployment yet simultaneously had a government that was seemingly unable to employ people. He noted the need to ensure that government posts were taken up and fully optimised.
Mr L Fielding (DA, Northern Cape) noted that in all departments in government the movement of senior officials was high and there were several acting appointments. He questioned whether there was a problem with the Labour Act or with performance and stated that this problem must be resolved because it created problems for all departments.
Mr A Worth (DA, Mpumalanga) said he was pleased to see that the performance improvement programme was scheduled to conclude in March 2008. He expressed admiration as he thought that it had been a large task given the numerous Heads of Departments (HODs). He asked also about the assessments and mobility of HODs. He noted that the Minister desired that all playing fields be leveled so that staff could be transferred with ease across departments. Finally he questioned when the evaluation of professional ethics completed for the Free State Province would be made available for the Members, given the PSC’s desire to complete another such evaluation for the province of Kwazulu Natal.
Mr Le Roux (DA, Eastern Cape) raised issue with the idea of employment equity. He asked whether this was not too sensitive an issue since many people no longer wanted to be classified according to race. He questioned whether this was a problem that the PSC encountered and asked what was to be done concerning it. Secondly he asked if the size of the public service was growing out of proportion. Thirdly, he requested an opinion on whether the government was doing enough on the issue of corruption, which was becoming a major problem.
Kgoshi L Mokoena (ANC, Limpopo) raised several issues. With reference to slide five, he asked clarification on who an ‘African’ was. He recognised the work of the PSC in providing unqualified audits, and asked what the Commission was doing to aid other departments to follow their lead. With reference to service delivery, Mokoena asked that the PSC should provide names of the departments performing the worst according to the service delivery inspections conducted in March. With regard to leadership and performance improvement, he requested the Commission’s opinion of the Department of Local Government’s tendency to pay performance bonuses to municipalities before the project was concluded. He questioned the labour relations improvement slide, which detailed grievances and complaints, and asked what could be done about officials who continued to be employed by the government pending finalisation of their cases. He argued that this was not fair. He stated that the Department of Public Works was unaware of South Africa’s property or assets outside the country. He expressed embarrassment that there was such depth of corruption in the departments. He stated that the advance of technology also resulted in the advance of corruption. He therefore queried what could be done about the chain of corruption that occurred all over the nation especially in the area of goods transport from one region to another.
Mr N Mack (ANC, Western Cape) queried the evaluation of HOD performance. He asked if there was a structure to evaluate, such as a committee or criteria that would give uniformity across all performance evaluations. He noted that some municipalities did not even have a structure to do evaluations. Secondly he wanted to know why only senior managers, not those in more junior positions, were required to declare conflicts of interests. Thirdly he noted that all departments had rollovers, and enquired if there was any excuse for this. He asked whether officials really did deliver and whether there was a general capacity to deliver. He also noted that local government was struggling. He wanted to know if there was incentive for officials to go to rural areas like Beaufort West where skills were needed. He also expressed concern with the tendency of some provinces, such as Western Cape, to change administration and in the process impede service delivery.
The Chairman replied to Mr Mack’s latter concerns regarding the local government by stating that the PSC did not have authority to deal with this.
Dr F van Heerden (FF+) asked about donor funding. He noted that certain projects could not have been completed without donor funding and wanted to know if funding was requested by PSC or whether interested parties –national or international- would proactively provide funds. He also raised a question regarding citizens’ participation, and asked how involvement of the citizens could be promoted. He also asked for more information on the early warning systems and government alert. Dr Van Heerden also wanted to know why the presentation had mentioned only one province under the “Report on the Quality of PAs and Compliance with their requirements”. He asked whether PSC was liaising with other parties in conducting the national anti-corruption programme. He wanted to know also if the property management under Programme 1 of the budget had experienced an improvement.
Mr A Moseki (ANC, North West) wanted clarification whether the increased demands in the field of anti-corruption were a result of greater awareness on the side of the clients. He wanted also some information concerning monitoring and evaluation and whether the Committee was receiving value for money. He enquired if the work in the North West would be continued elsewhere.
Ms F Nyanda (ANC, Mpumulanga) expressed concern that some programmes, like the feeding scheme expected to be ongoing in Mpumalanga, were not in effect.
The Chairperson said that the Commission must respond to the Committee in writing so that they could continue to engage on the issues. He also added that in terms of the Constitution, PSC was intended to report to the Committee to try to ensure that best practices were followed, and so that the Committee could continue effective oversight. He was particularly concerned about the issue of qualified or disclaimed audits across the public service. He was concerned that government could not account for spending, and this was bad for society, and suggest that there was a need for the PSC to look into best practices of other departments.
Professor Stan Sangweni (Chairperson: PSC) stated that PSC would commit to providing responses.
Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) Briefing
Professor Richard Levin, Director General, DPSA, noted that DPSA intended to become a global leader in public service excellence. It would support the Minister in leading public service transformation, providing professional advice and support and promoting good governance nationally, on the African continent and globally. The DPSA had six programmes, and the outputs for each programme from 2007 to 2010 were described in depth. The operational plan for 2007/08 was also tabled, with a number of programmes being set out and their completion dates described. Of particular note were the programmes under management of compensation, which included a remuneration policy, conditions of service, the move to a single public service and the automisation and testing of an integrated financial management system set for December 2007. DPSA was also creating and decentralizing a policy and procedure on incapacity and ill-health. Strides would be made in e-government systems, including a standardized IT plan guideline and informational library. Anti corruption strategies would be implemented by March 2009, in the public service at all levels - national, regional and global.
Prof Levin tabled the budget over the MTEF cycle, noting the changes to the budget structure by the consolidation of three previous programmes and the addition of sub programmes on human resource development and management (Senior Management Service, Human Resource Planning and Employment Equity), Management of Compensation (Remuneration and Job Evaluation and Conditions of Service) and Service Delivery Improvement (Community Development Workers). The new allocation for 2006/07 had been R442.4 million (with contributions relating to Global Forum, GEMS and DRC) and the allocation for 2007/08 was R357.2 million. The classification of spending was tabled, and the increases in compensation noted since 2003. Finally the DPSA staff establishment was tabled.
No questions were asked as the presenters were to return to a later session to answer questions.
The meeting was adjourned.
No related documents
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.