A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
HOME AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
5 June 2007
INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION, FILM AND PUBLICATION BOARD, GOVERNMENT PRINTING WORKS STRATEGIC PLANS 2007/08
Chairperson: Mr H Chauke (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Electoral Commission 2007/08 Strategic Plan presentation
Government Printing Works Strategic Plan 2007/2008 presentation
Film and Publication Board Strategy Plan Review 2007-2012 presentation
Film and Publication Board Final Budget 2007/08 – 2009/10
Film and Publication Board: 5 Year Strategic Plan, 2007-2012
Department of Home Affairs 2005/06 Annual Report: Erratum
Committee Report on Department Budget (available at Committee Reports once adopted)
Department of Home Affairs Annual Report 2005/06 available at www.dha.gov.za
Department of Home Affairs Strategic Plan: 2007/8-2009/10 presentation
Department Strategic Plan Volume 1 [available later www.dha.gov.za]
Department Strategic Plan Volume 2: Performance Plan [available later www.dha.gov.za]
Film and Publication Board website www.fpb.gov.za
Independent Electoral Commission website www.iec.org.za
Audio Recording of the Meeting
The Committee reviewed the strategic plans for 2007/08 of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the Government Printing Works and the Film and Publication Board. Upon the receipt of the errata on the issues raised at the last meeting with the Department of Home Affairs, the Committee also adopted that Department’s Annual Report and Strategic Plan.
The Chairperson thought the IEC’s reputation of untainted independence commendable. Having heard their presentation he emphasised the necessity of clear timelines and processes for how the strategy would be implemented. Without these the Committee would not be able to perform adequate oversight. Members raised questions on the value and relevance of the special vote, the implications of the electoral units at municipal level, corrupt tendering processes at local level, participation and empowerment of local small businesses.
The Committee, while impressed by the improvements at Government Printing Works, was still concerned about the lack of timeframes for the implementation of the strategic plan and was concerned that the strategic plan was too grandiose. Concerns were raised about the slow progress in moving to better premises, the lack of feedback on its intended corporatisation and the absence of a clear human resources succession strategy.
The Film and Publication Board presented their strategic plan but was told that they would not get the allocation needed to implement it. The Film and Publication Board had suspected that that would be the case and would strengthen its relationship with the National Treasury in an attempt to secure more funds. The Committee was pleased to have finally met with the new Board Chairperson and emphasised the importance of her presence at Film and Publication Board meetings with the Committee.
The Chairperson pointed out that the Department needed to give greater support to Government Printing Works and the Film and Publication Board.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson noted that the Committee would receive presentations on the strategic plans of the Electoral Commission (IEC), the Film and Publication Board (FPB) and the Government Printing Works (GPW). All of these entities’ annual reports had already been adopted. He informed the Committee that the relocation of the Harbour Refugee Office in the Western Cape would be dealt with in the next quarter as the provincial manager was still trying to find alternative premises.
The Chairperson said that the IEC was a body that had never been embroiled in any controversy as far as its appointment processes were concerned. They were fully independent, but were still accountable to Parliament. There had also never been any controversy as far as election outcomes were concerned. The IEC was doing its work very well and the Committee functioned as a support body rather than having a number of unnecessary interactions that could be construed as impacting on their independence.
While he had knowledge of the international activities the IEC was involved in, the Committee had never had the opportunity to observe this at first hand. The Committee relied on the reports they received, as well as on information received from some members. The matter had been raised with the ANC whip in the hope that it would be raised with the Chief Whip. He felt that in matters related to elections the Committee should be prioritised. It would be important for the Committee to be part of the observer missions. He had been part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer mission that attended the last elections in Zimbabwe.
The Chairperson felt that some of the IEC’s concerns around resources and the impact their international obligations had would be better raised in the House. The Committee needed greater clarity as far as the IEC’s devolution of powers to the municipalities as well as the problems between the Independent Democrats (ID) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) following the recent by-election at the Tweewaterskloof in the Western Cape, were concerned. The problems experienced in Tweewaterskloof were typical of the Western Cape and the ANC was at pains to address the matter.
Independent Electoral Commission
The Chairperson of the IEC, Dr Brigalia Bam led the delegation which comprised the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ms Panzi Tlakula, the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Mr Mosutho Moepya, Commissioner Terry Tselane, Manager in the Office of the CEO Mr Steven Lantry and Ms Geraldine Chaplock Louw, Manager: Party Funding and Compliance, who was standing in for the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who due to a bereavement in his family had been unable to attend.
Dr Bam commented that listening to the Chairperson she had thought it a good idea to supply the Committee regularly with updates of IEC activities.
Mr Moepya pointed out that the by-election in Tweewaterskloof had taken place about two weeks earlier. There had not been a single objection to the process that had been followed during the election. Only once the results had been declared, individuals approached first the media then the IEC to say that members of the public, including a councillor, living in other wards registered in the ward in question for the purposes of taking part in the election. The allegations were serious.
The IEC had collected all the registration application forms for that ward and was in the process of verifying where the voters were registered prior to the registration for the by-elections. A determination would be made after the investigation’s conclusion on 8 June.
The Chairperson requested a report on the findings of the investigation.
Mr W Skhosana (ANC) wondered from what political party the councillor was who had allegedly also been involved.
Mr Moepya did not have that information at hand, and did not think that revealing the person’s identity prior to the conclusion of the investigation would be appropriate. All the information would be available after 8 June.
The Chairperson wondered what role the party liaison committee had played and why the matter had only been raised after the elections.
Mr Moepya explained that the party liaison committee worked very well. Sometimes at local level however, members of political parties missed some of its meetings. From the time that a by elections was declared, the party liaison committee sat regularly depending in the needs of the relevant community. Three days before a by-election the party liaison committee sat every day. It was important to note that the allegations were only made after the results of the by-election were declared. The IEC took all allegations seriously and that was why they had no choice but to investigate the matter.
Ms Tlakula delivered the IEC presentation which detailed the Electoral Commission’s (IEC) plans for the coming financial year. Their strategy was divided into eight strategic objectives, which included delivering free and fair elections in a cost effective manner, maximizing citizen participation in democracy and electoral processes and to ensure the provision of effective voting station infrastructure. The IEC’s budget emphasis for 2007/08 would include completing their already started staff retention plan and opening all registration offices for two week-ends in order to allow for new registrations and the verification of details on the voter’s roll. The presentation also showed exactly the budget breakdown across the strategic objectives over the next three financial years.
The Chairperson felt that the report had not been clear enough as to when and how the IEC planned to implement the objectives raised in the presentation. The Committee would need such information in order to measure the Commission’s achievements against the timelines it had set itself.
Ms Tlakula explained that the presentation was a synopsis of the IEC’s strategic objectives. The complete strategic plan contained all the indicators, outcomes and outputs for the current financial year. The budget breakdown showed how the IEC aimed to realise their objectives. She added that the IEC hoped to have, by the end of July, advertised the identified vacancies.
The Chairperson requested Ms Tlakula to indicate where in the documentation he would be able to find the information he sought.
Ms Tlakula explained that the detail could be found in a different, bulkier document that the IEC could send to the Committee.
The Chairperson emphasised that when the strategic plan was being presented all the information he had requested should be presented. The Committee needed that information so that it could make a proper assessment of the strategic plan and thus hold the IEC to account. He was confident that the document would be forwarded as soon as possible.
Ms Tlakula apologised for the oversight.
Mr S Swart (ACDP) said that it was always nice to have IEC with them. He recalled that the IEC had during a meeting with the Committee in 2006 raised concerns about their budget for foreign deployments. He had raised the matter with President Mbeki during question time and had been assured that the budget would be supplemented should there be any shortfall. He wondered whether the matter had indeed been addressed.
Ms Tlakula confirmed that the IEC received a budget for foreign deployment because some of their work resulted from bilateral agreements between the South African and other governments. The DFA, through the African Renaissance Fund, gave the IEC R138 million for their activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo for example and also funded the IEC’s activities in the Comoros.
Mr S Swart wondered whether the IEC could give the Committee an indication of what the voters’ roll looked like at the moment. He wondered whether there had been any significant increases or decreases in voters since 2006.
Ms Tlakula said that the Annual Report reflected that at present there were about 20 million registered voters. The high death rate among registered voters (between 35 000 – 40 000 per month) also impacted on the numbers.
Noting members’ incredulity, Dr Bam added that the figure related only to the voters’ roll and did not reflect the national figures. The IEC was not responsible for the national statistics.
The Chairperson could nit believe that between 35 000 and 40 000 registered voters died per month. He thought it a serious matter and asked how the birth rate compared.
Ms Tlakula reminded the Committee that the IEC only dealt with people who were 18 years or older and eligible to vote. They could not supply figures for the birth rate.
The Chairperson commented that the rate should not be that high. “The campaign for healthy lifestyles had to be intensified”. He wondered how South Africa’s figures compared with those of other countries.
Mr Moepya spoke of conference that had been held the week before and where the impact of the death rate had been discussed. The IEC had been the only electoral commission able to provide such figures because the DHA kept the information on the population register and that information could be compared to IEC’s voter registration data. Other electoral commissions indicated that they experienced problems as far as unregistered people pretending taking over registered voters’ identities and then voting if they did not turn up.
The Chairperson thought that members would have to, in their constituencies and party work, intensify the campaign for healthy lifestyles.
Dr Bam pointed out that the IEC received the statistics only and did not get any information as to the cause of death. That was not the IEC’s business.
The Chairperson agreed that the cause of death was not the IEC’s concern but the high death rate was a serious matter. He was merely pointing out that parties should not only “make noise” in Parliament but should do the same in their constituencies so that they could help address the challenges society was faced with. Parties bore that responsibility too.
Ms Tlakula added that the reasons for vacancies and the number of by elections could also be ascribed to the high death rate.
Mr S Swart wondered how ID fraud impacted on the IEC’s work. The presentation had made reference to aligning the voter registration systems with the Home Affairs Identification System.
Ms S Kalyan (DA) wondered, bearing in mind that the home affairs system was not yet ready, what timeframes were attached to the alignment of the voter registration system with the identification system.
Ms Tlakula assured Members that the IEC’s system was able to detect fraudulent identity documents. The system would however not be able to pick up the ones whose tampering was “foolproof”.
Kgoshi Mathebe noted that the CEO had repeatedly made mention of research that the IEC was undertaking to ensure that electoral matters were improved upon. He was sure that that blind voters was not only a concern to political parties but also to the IEC. He wondered what measures the IEC had put in place to ensure that blind people were able to cast their votes without being influenced by the people who assisted them at the voting stations.
Ms Tlakula confirmed that accommodating blind voters adequately was a challenging. Some sectors of people living with disabilities were agitating for Braille ballot papers. The IEC was not convinced that that would be a cost effective option considering that only a very small percentage of blind people in South Africa were able to ‘read’ Braille. The IEC had designed a different kind of ballot paper that could be used by blind people. At the moment what was common was for blind people to request their relatives to assist them. Perhaps in time the IEC would be able to use Braille ballot papers if its use increased.
Kgoshi Mathebe wondered whether the IEC was able to effectively monitor the activities of the Municipal Electoral Offices (MEO) so as to ensure that they did not only recruit their families and friends. In the past there hd been serious problems relating to MEOs recruiting their friends and families despite them not being able to perform. This resulted in delays in the opening of voting stations and the late delivery of materials.
Ms Tlakula said that during the 2006 elections she had discovered that the MEO in a Limpopo province ward had employed a relative as ward manager, another relative was among the voting station staff while another relative of his was a candidate! The IEC’s systems were able to detect such nepotism. The fact that the candidate nomination system was linked to the employment electoral staff system also made it possible to detect irregularities. When such issues were brought to the IEC’s attention they were investigated and if there was truth to the allegation the person in question was removed.
Ms N Mathibela (ANC) noted that independent candidates tended to after the elections fall under a certain party. She could not understand how that was possible.
Ms Tlakula said that independents contested the elections as independent candidates and once they were within a council they could, on any issue, form a voting block with another political party. It was within their democratic right and the matter was outside of the IEC’s control.
Kgoshi Morwamoche (ANC) sought clarity as to why in that day’s presentation the IEC’s organogram included MEOs, yet the both MEOs and Electoral Provincial Coordinators (EPC) had been excluded from Employment Equity Report the IEC had submitted to the Department of Labour (DOL).
He also noted that the IEC had reached a settlement agreement with IEC officials at MEO level in KwaZulu Natal and asked why other provinces had been excluded.
Ms Tlakula admitted that the situation was tricky. She explained that MEOs were not IEC employees, but were employed by the municipality. The IEC had had a “complicated scheme” whereby the EPCs were meant to be employees of the MEOs who were the IEC’s agents at municipal level. This scheme was challenged in court as it was in contravention of the labour legislation. After the EPCs challenge of the scheme the IEC conceded that according to the scheme the EPCs were for all intents and purposes IEC employees. An out of court settlement was made with the EPCs in KZN.
Because this was a period of transition from being IEC employees to falling under the municipality, the IEC having submitted a report to that effect to the DOL took the decision not to include the EPCs in the above-mentioned equity report. The IEC conceded that the EPCs were its employees until such time that the electoral units had been established and they were transferred to the municipalities.
Ms Ntlakula realised that her explanation for the omission was not all that convincing. She emphasised that the matter ha been raised by a DOL inspectors and that the DOL had been informed of the arrangement.
The Chairperson asked whether there had been any interaction between the IEC and trade unions, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and local municipalities as far as the proposed move to municipalities. He wondered to what extent workers supported the move.
Ms Tlakula explained that the IEC was meant to implement the project prior to the election in 2005. They held consultative meetings with SALGA during 2005, and they endorsed the move. All of the municipalities had been given a copy of the draft contracts and 75% of the councils had passed resolutions to support the establishment of the electoral units.
The whole process was disturbed by the March 2006 local government elections after which new councils had been elected and these now had to also be consulted despite the fact that the resolutions passed by a previous council were binding.
Some officials had now joined the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) and the IEC was in consultation with that body. The union had requested them to sign a recognition agreement but the IEC had declined because it did not think it necessary. The IEC would recognise them as a union that represented the EPC and would work with them during negotiations.
Once the municipalities were established, the bargaining council would have to determine the salary scales for the EPCs. The councils supported the project but there was no “uniform support” among the EPCs. The majority felt that they should remain within the IEC as fulltime employees. This would mean having fully-fledged IEC offices, which would have been possible, had the IEC had the funds available.
She added that Members should bear in mind that the work of the IEC was cyclical and that they had been struggling with issues of accountability or supervision. EPCs were very far from provincial offices. When they were situated within a municipality they were not municipality officials and therefore the MEOs felt that they had no control over them. The IEC was making an attempt at cleaning up the rather “messy” arrangement and she acknowledged that the process was painful. That notwithstanding it was probably the vest route for the IEC to follow.
Kgoshi Morwamoche reported that IEC officials from the various offices complained that there salary discrepancies between MEOs in the various provinces. He wondered why this was the case.
Ms Tlakula assured Members that EPC salaries were in accordance with what municipal workers were paid. Municipalities were graded differently and thus officials in different municipalities were paid differently.
Kgoshi Morwamoche was concerned that since the IEC was a Chapter 9 and should thus be independent, that independence was threatened by the fact that MEOs and EPCs would now fall under municipalities.
Ms Tlakula explained that when it came to electoral functions the EPCs would not be under local government control but would report to and be accountable to the IEC. They would only be accountable to the municipality for municipal functions. This was made very clear in the contract that would be signed between the IEC and the municipalities. The IEC was cognisant of the fact that it was the only organisation mandated by the law to administer elections. She assured the Committee that processes had been put in place to safeguard the IEC’s independence and integrity.
Kgoshi Morwamoche asked why the IEC could not second their staff to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) where they would be able to assist with issuing Identity documents rather than to the municipalities.
Ms Kalyan wondered how the IEC would effectively provide input into the development of address allocation objective considering that there were so many informal settlements.
Ms Kalyan wondered whether any political party had not complied with the requirements of the Public Funding of Represented Political Parties Act by failing to submit audited statements. She asked what action was taken against such parties.
Ms Louw responded that the political parties the IEC funded had all responded. At times there were problems because financial statements got submitted late but they were usually submitted by the time the Annual Report went to print. The only remedy when political parties were late with the statements would be to give them notice of suspension form the next payment of the fund and that usually met with a good response.
Dr Bam added that non-compliance was a universal problem and not peculiar to South Africa or developing countries. South Africa was one of the few countries where compliance was good. The IEC was proud of the political parties and hoped that the tradition would continue.
Ms Kalyan wondered whether the IEC saw any amendments to the electoral legislation so that South Africans living overseas would be able to cast special votes in the 2009 elections.
Ms Tlakula reminded members that in 2004 an amendment allowing South Africans who were overseas to vote, had been made so that they could participate in that year’s election. Considering that only about 2000 of these special votes had then been cast, one could debate whether one received value for money for that decision. The question was whether the practice should be continued. She hastily added that if Parliament “in its wisdom” decided to do so, the IEC would abide by that decision.
Mr Skhosana asked whether the definition of “special vote” spoke to the matters it was aimed to address.
Mr Moepya explained that special votes only applied to national and provincial elections. The law was very specific that certain categories of people had to be given special votes. The IEC had created opportunities for the infirm, pregnant women, etc. Special votes were cats three days before elections – the IEC along with observers from political parties visited the special voters.
He added that parties believed that the special votes should be extended to local elections. The IEC was working with the national party liaison committee on the matter. He pointed out that there were practical considerations that had to be taken into account.
Ms I Mars (IFP) found the international training courses very exciting and sought clarity as to whether South Africans were being trained for international service or whether foreigners were being trained for service on behalf of their own countries.
The Chairperson wondered how much the participants paid for the course.
Ms Tlakula explained that both South Africans and people from other election management bodies (EMB) across the world were being trained. The courses were normally sponsored. Australia was the main sponsor and the IEC merely provided accommodation and meals.
Mr M Sikakane (ANC) wondered whether the new training unit would be permanent. He was concerned that as South Africa’s electoral system improved and South Africans became more aware difficulties would decrease making the unit redundant.
Ms Tlakula explained that there were two reasons why it was necessary to have a fully-fledged permanent training unit. After each election only about 30% of the electoral staff were retained making it necessary to train the other 70% needed for the next election. Secondly the IEC wanted the training to be continuous so that they nurtured election specialists. If staff were only trained for elections their quality would be very low.
Kgoshi Mathebe wondered whether electronically transferring election results straight from the voting station to the national capturing centre would be possible in the near future.
Ms Tlakula said that if South Africa’s infrastructure was improved that would be considered. In some voting stations there was not even electricity so transmitting would be difficult.
Kgoshi Mathebe wondered what measures the IEC put in place to ensure that local communities and small business people benefited from the tenders the IEC awarded. He suggested that for big tenders, the IEC should ensure that smaller companies were linked to big companies.
Ms Tlakula said that local business benefited to some extent because there were goods and services that the IEC procured locally e.g. the printing of ballot papers for local elections. Some things were cheaper done through bigger companies.
Kgoshi Mathebe said that he had never come across anyone from his area that had been awarded a tender by the IEC. This led him to wonder whether the IEC or the MEO issued tenders. When he was part of the SADC observer mission to Zambia he noted that everything there had come from South Africa. He wondered why the IEC could not compel bigger companies to undertake joint ventures with smaller companies.
Mr Moepya explained that there was no large-scale procurement at MEO level. They procured goods locally. The IEC’s Annual Report broke down the organisation’s procurement in terms of micro, small, medium and large enterprises. 29% of the IEC’s quotations went to micro enterprises. The MEO did procurement of generators, chairs, tables etc locally. Local printers printed ballot papers provided they met the necessary security and safety printing and distribution requirements. 5,9 % of quotations went to very small enterprises who sometimes even got assistance from the IEC as far as collateral was concerned. 38% of the contracts went to very small enterprises, 18,7 to medium and only 8,8% to really big contractors. The IEC tried to balance risk with local delivery, and he admitted that they could do more.
Ms M Maunye (ANC) wondered why, considering that they did so for other countries, the Government Printing Works (GPW) could not print ballot papers for the IEC too.
Mr Moepya explained that the IEC worked very closely with the GPW who was the technical experts during the tendering process for local printers to print ballot papers. Often when the smaller printers experience mechanical difficulties the GPW stepped in to assist.
The Chairperson pointed out that the question was related more to why the GPW was not used to print ballot papers.
Mr Moepya explained that when it came to local government elections there were over 4 085 different ballot papers. The GPW was very well set up to print large runs of ballot papers, and doing 4 085 smaller runs might present a challenge. In addition local government elections often fell during exam times, which meant that the GPW would be over extended. He assured the members that the IEC made use of the GPW wherever it could and pointed out that the voters roll was usually printed by that body.
Kgoshi Morwamoche was curious as to why the IEC’s response did not echo the GPW’s assertion that they would be able to cope with printing ballot papers for local elections.
The Chairperson requested the GPW to comment on the matter.
Mr Tom Moyane, GPW CEO, confirmed that the GPW was the IEC’s technical expert. The GPW printed documents in accordance with the IEC’s requirements. There were times when the GPW’s workload was to heavy. At these times the GPW gave technical advice but took security measures into consideration. He added that the reality was that the GPW printed the bulk of what was needed by the country.
The Chairperson reminded the IEC that they were expected to provide the Committee with the timelines for the implementation of their strategic plan. The Committee would like to have further engagements with the IEC as far as the arrangement they would be entering into with municipalities. It was felt that if not handled properly, it might create problems. He warned that if it was badly managed the arrangement, if not satisfactory in the eyes of the workers, might result in strike action which, on the eve of an election could be disastrous. Members would also like greater detail as far as the EPCs salaries as well as the empowerment of local businesses. The Committee was interested in seeing that the budget the IEC was allocated benefited locals too. This could only add to the strengthening of the democracy. In his final words to the IEC he commended Dr Bam for her leadership under which the IEC did very good work.
The Committee adopted the IEC’s strategic plan for 2007/08.
Government Printing Works (GPW)
Mr Tom Moyane, GPW Chief Executive Officer, made the presentation and led the delegation which included Ms Nomsa Mdakane, Executive Director: Human Resources and Transformation. He emphasised that the GPW was an organisation in transition that was transforming its systems and processes, skills and culture. Corporatisation, technological upgrading, production process optimization and marketing effectiveness and alignment underpinned the GPW’s strategy for the next financial year.
Kgoshi Morwamoche wondered what the GPW was doing to address the fact that due to the low salaries it paid, many of its officials left for greener pastures.
Mr F Beukman (ANC) thought that lack of succession planning was a common trend within the civil service. Succession planning and the development of long term career patterns were much more easily done within the private sector. He wondered what practical steps the GPW had done in terms of succession plans and how these training plans would be implemented over the next three years. Human capital was a base function and he felt that the GPW would not be able to implement its plans for research and development without first addressing issues related to its base function.
Ms Mdakane responded that the GPW would implement a different and unique approach to succession plans and the older work force. They took into consideration the uniqueness of the security printing industry, which had its own culture and ethics. When officials left the GPW not only lost individuals but also a bit of the culture of the organisation. The GPW would be developing a multi generational strategy whereby those who would be leaving in the near future would become coaches to the new recruits for example.
She added that the GPW would have to have a skills audit that would be informed by where the organisation was headed. They would then be able to identify gaps in order to make specific plans to address them.
The Chairperson wondered where in the strategic plan this strategy could be found.
Ms Mdakane directed members to the transformation process.
The Chairperson reminded the presenters that they had to give members a clear indication of where their plans were situated in the strategic plan. Members would then be able to hold them account and understand their vision.
Nr Beukman thought it necessary for the Committee to receive a “more concrete exposition”. He was specifically interested in the measures that would be out in place to ensure skills transfer and retention so as to ensure “staff replenishment”.
Ms Mdakane said that such a staggered plan was contained in the business case for the corporatisation of the GPW.
The Chairperson requested an update on the long awaited relocation of the GPW to new and improved premises.
Ms Kalyan wondered what impact the forensic audit they were currently undergoing would have on the functioning of and the vision of the GPW over the next three years.
Mr Moyane did not think that the forensic audit would have to great an impact on human capital. The audit was aimed at ascertaining whether the corporate governance the organisation was sound. The GPW would like to see the conclusion of the forensic audit so that their attention could focus to other areas of urgency. The audit was shifting attention from the core business GPW was involved in.
Ms Kalyan recalled that there had been a roll over of over R3 million that had been set aside of the retrenchment package. He wondered whether these packages had been made available to the GPW and if yes, she sought the GPWs input as to why the take up had not been that good.
Mr Moyane said that the GPW’s business case for corporatisation (corporatisation strategy document) looked at all issues including the ones Ms Kalyan had indicated.
Ms Kalyan wondered when exactly the draft security printers bill would be available.
Mr Moyane explained that the GPW had two legs – security printing and non-standard printing. The bill spoke to the need to ring-fence non-standard printing within three years. This would also involve discussion with the Department of Public Enterprises. He emphasised that the GPW might still through the diversification process be involved in non-standard printing and would then be competing with the printers.
Ms Kalyan wondered whether the unomatic equipment had been procured yet.
Mr Moyane confirmed that the equipment had been acquired and had been tailor-made to the business processes that were underway within the GPW.
Mr M Swart (DA) felt that the GPWs presentation had been wonderfully prepared but was concerned about the absence of information such as dates that would assist the Committee to keep the organisation to account.
Kgoshi Mathebe concurred and said that he was not satisfied with a strategic plan that lacked time frames. He did not see how that deficiency could translate to the realization of the GPW’s aspiration to becoming the printer of choice. He also wondered how if they could not cope with the workload in South Africa, the GWO would be able to dominate the continent.
Mr Moyane noted the Committee’s concerns and agreed that any strategic plan had to measured in terms of when the deliverables would be achieved. The GPW had submitted their strategic plan the week before and had due to other obligations requested their appearance before the Committee to be postponed. They would provide the Committee with the necessary information.
Ms Mathibele echoed the above two members’ sentiments. She wondered whether the GPW would be able to track fraudulent identity documents.
Mr Moyane assured the Committee that it was possible for the GPW to know when, where and by who a document was published as well as when it had been dispersed. The onus of information security rested with the DHA while the GPW was the recipient of information received through a secure line and were accountable only for what happened in their environment. He believed that through the discussion around an integrated approach with the DHA as far as the printing of security documents “track and trace” would become more possible.
Ms Kalyan recalled that the government memorandum 29 of 2000 instructed the DHA to establish the GPW as a public enterprise. She wondered what the status if that process was and commented on the grandiosity of the corporatisation plans. She asked whether considering that the GPW would perhaps fall under the DPE in the future, the Committee was not perhaps wasting its time interacting with it.
Mr Moyane explained that the GPW was a trading entity. In 2004 Cabinet had ordered the DHA to corporotise the GPW. He sought the Chairperson’s protection because the GPW was unable to speak on the DHA’s behalf. He was able to assure the Committee that the corporatisation was underway, and that the GPW had all the necessary documentation. The GPW would also be engaging the Minister, her deputy as well as the newly appointed Director General OF Home Affairs. Both the business case and the printers bill were ready for tabling. The Bill stated that the DHA and not the DPE would be the stakeholder.
Ms Mdakane added that the implementation plan was subject to approval. The corporatisation spoke directly to the transformation of the GPW. They were preparing for the second sitting with the joint National Treasury and Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) panel. As soon as the panel approves the plans, engagement with all stakeholders including the Portfolio Committee would start.
The Chairperson wondered whether he should thus assume that there was no update for the present financial year bit that the committee should expect one in the next.
Ms Ntakane said that the GPW was expected to make two presentations to the joint panel – one in February and one in July.
The Chairperson asked whether the GPW had considered the Auditor General’s report.
Ms Mdakane after a moment of apparent confusion as to what the Chairperson was referring to, said that the GPW “was aware” of the report.
The Chairperson was curious as to why the strategic plan spoke nothing of that report, when the GPW was meant to address some of the issues the Auditor General had raised. The Committee expected that entities supplied it with all the necessary information members needed to hold them to account. The Committee was interested in knowing how they would implement the strategic plan.
Ms Mdakane explained that some of what the Auditor general had raised had to do with the GPW’s operational effectiveness and processes.
The Chairperson said that the Committee understood the challenges the GPW still faced. They understood that capacity related issues left the organisation “quite vulnerable”. The corporatisation plans presented a very important issue and the Committee would seek clarity from Cabinet. In the last financial year the Deputy Minister had revealed clear plans for the corporatisation and the executive would now have to provide feedback so that the Committee could monitor progress. He reiterated that timeframes were vital and always had to be present. Bidding them farewell he added that the Committee was aware that many changes had been made and wished the GPW well in its endeavors to further improve the organisation.
The Committee adopted the GPW’s strategic plan for 2007/08.
The Chairperson welcomed the Film and Publication Board and noted that they had a very ambitious plan that required R15 million. He was not sure whether they would receive that money. He added that the Board would, in the next few weeks, be called the council and would thus have greater powers.
Film and Publication Board
The Chairperson of the FPB said that it was interesting to learn that she would soon be chairing a council. The change would clarify some of the issues the new members of the board were grappling with.
She thought it important to point out that the strategic plan was not in line with the financial allocation the FPB had received. The FPB worked very closely with other government structures as well as with other NGOs and would need the Portfolio Committee’s assistance in all the activities it would embark upon. The FPB was a small organisation with very little resources and felt that considering the revenue they brought in they would have to campaign to partner with some structures. She then handed over to the CEO.
Ms Shokie Bopape-Dlomo (CEO: FPB) introduced the recently appointed Chief Financial Officer, Ms Mapule Makoala, and the former acting CFO, Jonas Poshoko, as well as the office manager, Ms Tabisa Mahlawe.
The Chairperson commented that the FPB Chairperson, when invited by the Committee, had failed to appear before Parliament. Considering that she had never appeared before the Committee, he suggested she introduce herself .
Ms Thoko Mpulwana then proceeded to introduce herself as the newly appointed Chairperson of the FPB. The Deputy Chairperson, Mr Lesley Sethibe, was unable to attend. She put on record that she and her deputy had not failed to appear before the Committee out of disrespect but because they had been straddling many other responsibilities. She assured members that they were fully aware of and approved all presentations that the CEO had made in their absence.
The Chairperson pointed out the importance of either the Chairperson or the deputy chairperson, as leaders of the policy development side of the FPB, being present when reporting to the Committee.
Ms Bopape-Dlomo made the presentation, which detailed the two projects the Film and Publication Board (FPB) would be focusing on in the current financial year. The first was there 5 year strategy and one year operational planning, and the second would involve a structural review, role profiling and grading. The FPB wanted to build a reputation as “a credible and visible content classification authority”. The strategy could be divided into five objectives aimed at ensuring an enhanced, integrated and constitutionally sound framework, developing and maintaining organizational capacity and capability, sound corporate governance and compliance, reflecting contemporary norms and values and adhering to their vision of being a credible classification authority.
Mr Beukman noted that the presentation made reference the organisation’s ability to develop and maintain organisation capacity and effectively manage and implement their legislation. Being in the “season of succession” he sought clarity on the FPB’s succession plan especially as far as the legal function, which would now focus more on monitoring and implementation was concerned.
Ms Bopape-Dlomo said that the FPB was concerned about such issues. In the past 6 months they had lost 3 three senior staff members. The Board was trying to enhance its “career planning advantages”. One of the key challenges it was faced with was the fact that its salaries were not competitive. The FPB could also not afford to make counter offers.
She felt that there was little difference between what the legal unit and the monitoring and implementation unit was doing. As a result there was a tendency to disintegrate their services, which created problems. She felt that the FPB did not have enough legal work so as to justify a better-resourced unit.
Part of the reason they thought it necessary to highlight issues around knowledge and information management was to be able to record information so that the knowledge could be passed on.
Ms Mathibela wondered whether there were any vacant posts within the FPB at present and was curious as to how long the appointment process was. He was particularly interested in how the classification process accommodated cultural diversity.
Ms Bopape-Dlomo responded that at present the only vacancy was that of a monitor in the North West. She said that the FPB had now more or less determined what type of people they would like to appoint as monitors. Walking from door to door and checking what kind of films video stores were distributing was neither challenging nor satisfying. The FPB had thus tried to enhanced their job description by including awareness raising campaigns, etc. The monitors were the first phase of the interaction with the FPB and were thus public relations officers more than merely inspectors. It was important that they created proper impressions when people met with them, the face of the FPB.
She informed members that the FPB aimed to fill posts within 5 weeks and had actually succeeded in doing better – they recruited for some posts within as little as a week.
Mr Skhosana noted hat the CEO had indicated that many people absented themselves from work due to the impact of the workload they bore. He wondered whether the age of the employees and the classification duties might be playing a role.
Ms Bopape-Dlomo said that the FPB wanted to be seen as a young, vibrant and very energetic” organisation. They wanted to be seen as officials who although not very well paid, were very committed. This was the culture they wanted to inculcate. Her policy was to have young energetic people who stayed for two or three years and left their mark on the organisation, rather than have people stay with the organisation for ten years during which time they contributed next to nothing. She felt that the small size of the organisation meant that the FPB team was well-rounded and multi-skilled which assisted in making the workload lighter. On the other hand it also made them very attractive to other employers.
She pointed out that al office managers and team managers were responsible for all operational functions. They functioned at deputy director level. The former CFO had left because he had been offered a position somewhere between that of chief director and a deputy director general. The FPB would not have been able to match that offer.
The Committee was curious as to what level Ms Bopape-Dlomo functioned.
She confirmed that she was at the level of a director.
The Committee was shocked and the Chairperson sought clarity on why she had been placed at such a low level.
Ms Bopape-Dlomo was not in a position clarify that. At the time of her appointed she had been told that it would be clarified, but to date nothing had been done. She would be pleased to have the matter resolved, as she would then earn a better salary.
The Chairperson said that the matter would be noted so that a speedy resolution could be found. He requested Mr Nkambule, DHA: CFO to brief the newly appointed Director General on the matter.
Kgoshi Mathebe was curious as to whether the FPB was aligning its priorities with Government priorities. He thought that in some instances such alignment might prove difficult.
Ms Bopape Dlomo said that as a public entity the FPB adhered to the Government’s political priorities. It was crucial that considering South Africa’s diverse cultures it was important that the FPB struck a balance in especially its classification decision.
Ms Mpulwana added that the FPB was guided by the Constitution. Anything that violated it could not be allowed.
Kgoshi Mathebe wondered whether the CEO had had a chance to read the book “Diminishing Cultures of Africa”.
Ms Bopape-Dlomo said that while she was aware of the book, she had not yet read it.
Kgoshi Mathebe undertook to forward a copy to her.
The Chairperson realised that the plans the FPB wanted to implement were “huge” and he also knew that they would not be receiving the necessary money to implement it. He wondered whether given that fact, the FPB had considered how they would implement their strategy without the necessary funds.
Ms Bopape - Dlomo reminded the Committee that the strategy would be implemented over five years. They have limited themselves in the first year to the review of policy in the hope that they would be able to canvass for more money in the subsequent years. The review would be aimed at filing some gap that had been identified and would not be a too expensive exercise.
The FPB had met with National Treasury who seemed sympathetic to their cause. They had agreed to strengthen their relationship in the hope that National Treasury would be able to lobby for more resources for the.
The Chairperson thanked the FPB for their input. The Chairperson thought it important that the DHA gave more support to FPB as well as the GPW. The Auditor General’s report reflected that the GPW and the FPB shared some of the same problems the DHA had. He thought that the FPB’s problems might be resolved now that they had new leadership. He was still concerned about the “dreamlike” strategic plan the GPW had presented. He bid the FPB farewell and thanked the CEO for her input and leadership during the deliberations on the Films and Publications Amendment Bill.
The Committee adopted the FPB’s strategic plan for 2007/08.
Adoption of corrected Department of Home Affairs Annual Report and Strategic Plan
Mr Nkambule thanked the Committee for the opportunity. He explained that the error on p105 of the Annual Report that the Committee had identified had now been rectified through an erratum. The Committee adopted the DHA’s Annual Report and Strategic Plan.
Adoption of the Committee’s Report on the DHA’s Budget Vote
The Committee adopted the report.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would deal with the additional matters at a later stage. He would address them on the status of the Accountant General’s appearance before the Committee at the next meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.