Department of Labour Annual Report 2006/07

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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


17 October 2007

Chairperson: Ms M Themba (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Department of Labour Annual Report 2006/07
Compensation Fund Annual Report 2006/07
[available later at]
Department of Labour Annual Report presentation

Audio recording of meeting
The Committee was briefed on the Department’s performance over the past year as contained in its Annual Report. The briefing focused on the service delivery and other achievements in its different programmes including the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the Compensation Fund, Employment and Skills Development Services, Human Resource Development, Labour Policy and Labour Market Programmes. This was followed by a briefing on its 2006/07 expenditure information and on the steps it had taken to rectify the qualified audit reports that the Auditor General had given to the Department, the Sheltered Employment Factories and the National Skills Fund.

Department of Labour presentation
Mr Les Kettledas, Deputy Director General (DDG): Labour Policy and Labour Market Programmes, led the delegation from the Department of Labour. He stated that the presentation covered reporting on the implementation of the department’s programmes as well as the financial and expenditure information for the period under review. Under service delivery, he noted that the Department processed and paid 88% of Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) claims within six weeks of receiving complete documentation, while 35% of compensation fund claims were processed and paid within 90 days of receiving complete documentation. Also Phase 1 of the Employment Services System (ESSA) had been completed.

Employment and Skills Development Services
Mr Kettledas stated that with respect to skills development initiatives, 2,637 projects were identified and out of this, 2314 (88%) were supported. Furthermore, under service delivery the following had been achieved by the department:

- 118,153 unemployed persons had been trained and of this, 90,691 (77%) had been placed with 36%receiving accredited training.
- 2,294 retrenched persons had been registered, while 696 of these were counselled and 642 referred for training.
- 3,826 youths were trained and 1,462 of them placed in sustainable employment.
- Out of 180,767 workplaces inspected, 136,845 (76%) complied with requirements.
- 97% of labour related complaints were settled within 90 days.
- 5,692 workplaces in high-risk industries were inspected in terms of Occupational Health and Safety. There was a 23% decrease in reported incidents.
- The draft Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Policy and Bill had been finalised in consultation with OHS Advisory Council.

Employment and Skills Development (ESDS) & Human Resource Development (HRD)
Mr Kettledas stated that the total funds available was R2.2 billion, and of this, R37.8 million was paid for the training of 20,000 unemployed ABET learners. Also, R10 million was budgeted for the printing of guides and training of career guidance counsellors, while R316 million was approved as grants to benefit 10,900 learners on learnerships, apprenticeships and internships. Other achievements in this area included:

- 1,148 undergraduates and 1,042 post-graduate students received bursaries totalling R78.5 million.
- All 23 Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) signed Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and 20 of them had performed satisfactorily against set targets.
- 98,588 employed and unemployed learners were trained in programmes linked to scarce skills of which 33,674 were completed.
- 3,287 youth were trained in new venture creation learnerships.
- Strategic projects worth R886 million were initiated to support nine provinces over the next three years.

Labour Policy and Labour Market Programme
Mr Kettledas said that research samples to inform welfare sectoral determination was expanded and timeframes for the project was extended into 2007/08 financial year. Also, an awareness raising strategy on the elimination of child labour was conducted in all provinces, just as pilot programmes were implemented to address worst forms of child labour including sexual exploitation, trafficking and children used by adults to commit crime.

A new labour market information report had been published which covered issues such as industrial action, employment/unemployment trends, labour market review, state of skills etc. Participation at the ILO Conference and its Governing Body was ensured. The Minister was appointed Chairperson of the Governing Body for a year.

Mr Kettledas highlighted achievements to do with the Department’s administration in the following units: communications, human resource management, information technology and financial management.

Expenditure Information and qualified Auditor General’s Reports
The briefing looked in detail at the Auditor General’s qualified audit reports for the Department, Sheltered Employment Factories and National Skills Fund and explained what corrective measures had been put in place (see document).

The Chair commended the Department for the establishment of its gender policy. She asked when it would be implemented and when copies of the policy would be presented to the Committee for their input.

Ms Matlohadla (ANC) asked if there had been any growth in employment statistics and whether there was an online registration for jobseekers. She also asked how the Department registered its assets.

Ms Mchunu (ANC) asked where the registering of retrenched persons took place. She also raised a concern as to the danger of non-trained and non-counselled retrenched staff might resort to criminal activities if they are not attended to.

In his response, Mr Kettledas stated that the Department was currently working on a regulation that would require employers to register vacancies with the Department. Not only vacancies but also opportunities for learning could be registered. Currently, jobseekers registered at the various work centres nationwide, and there was currently 40,000 jobseekers on the Department’s database and about 6,000 existing opportunities. He pointed out that there had been a recorded growth in employment as over 200.000 new jobs were created during the year under review.

On the asset registration, Mr van der Merwe (Chief Financial Officer) stated that the Department had employed a consultant to assist with the management of the asset register. He added that the register had not been linked to any office or location yet.

On the gender policy issue, Ms M Xaba (DDG: Corporate Services) stated that the Department was currently undertaking a consultative process with other stakeholders. They were working with other agencies and departments to deal with the problems of child trafficking, especially considering the build-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The Chair asked if the Department was also consulting at the provincial level.

Ms Xaba responded that the Department was not consulting at the provincial level. She however stated that such consultation was necessary.

The Chair thanked the delegation for the report and presentation and repeated her request that the gender policy be presented to the Committee for their input.

The meeting was adjourned.


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