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PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON LABOUR
23 October 2007
DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR ANNUAL REPORT BRIEFING
Chairperson: Ms O Kasienyane (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Department of Labour Annual Report Presentation
Department of Labour Annual Report [available at www.labour.gov.za]
Audio recording of meeting
The Department of Labour briefed the Committee on its Annual Report. The Chairperson announced that this meeting would take the format of presentation of the Report, followed only by questions of clarity. The Committee would consider the report but would be hearing comments also from stakeholders on the Report, and would arrange a subsequent meeting at which the Members could ask detailed questions of the Department. The briefing set out the main achievements in respect of service delivery, noting the statistics for finalisation of claims against the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the Compensation Fund and the Employment Services System. Sector Education and Training Authorities applicants and learners were being matched through the new database to employment opportunities. Details were given of financial support and training, as well as workplace inspections. The financial statements and figures for the various programmes were tabled. Detailed descriptions were given of achievements in specific programmes.
The financial statements were then tabled, and this showed 2.7% under spending. Transfers and subsidies showed under-transfers of R6 million against R410 million transferred. The Auditor General’s three reports covered the Department, the Sheltered Employment Factories and the National Skills Fund. All three had received qualified reports. The qualifications for each were set out, together with a note of the corrective action taken.
There were no questions asked by Members, only a comment that the Department should be prepared to indicate the areas in which it had achieved improvements since the last report.
Department of Labour (DOL) Annual Report 2006/07 Briefing
The Chairperson welcomed the Department and thanked them for inviting the Committee to the National Skills Conference.
The Chairperson said that this meeting would differ from others, since Members of the Committee would listen to the presentation on the annual report and only ask questions of clarity. After hearing the Department’s Annual Report presentation the Committee would be inviting stakeholders also to talk to the Report and then schedule another meeting where the Committee would ask detailed questions.
Mr Les Kettledas, Deputy Director General, DOL, apologised that the Director General could not attend the meeting since he was out of the country. He began the presentation by introducing the achievements on service delivery by the Department, noting that 88% of the Unemployment-Insurance Fund (UIF) claims had been processed and paid within six weeks of receipt of completed documents. 35% of Compensation Fund claims were processed and paid within 90 days. Phase 1 of the Employment Services System was completed and being implemented, and had identified the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and matched applicants with available jobs or skills development opportunities.
2 637 projects were identified for support, and 88% were supported through skills development across the provinces. Training was given to 118 153 unemployed people, of whom 77% had been placed. Breakdowns by province were provided for those retrenched people who had been registered, counselled and referred for training. Figures were included for youth trained and placed across the provinces. The DOL also attended to workplace inspections, and 76% had been found compliant with requirements. 97% of labour complaints were settled within 90 days. Over 5000 workplaces identified as high risk were inspected.
The Occupational Health and Safety bill had been finalised.
Mr Kettledas tabled the expenditure and commitments in respect of various programmes. R2.2 billion was allocated to skills development, and 81% had been used to pay 27 providers to train 20 000 unemployed learners in Adult Basic Education and Training programmes. R10 million was budgeted for the printing of guides and training of career guidance counsellors. R316 million grants for bursaries to over 10 000 students was given, and R78.5 million was allocated for funding of undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Mr Kettledas indicated that all 23 SETAs had signed service level agreements and performed satisfactorily against set targets, as detailed in the presentation. Strategic projects to the value of R886 million were initiated to support provinces over the next three years.
Detailed descriptions were tabled for the achievements in the administration communications strategy, the labour market policy (LMP) and labour project (LP) in process of welfare sectoral determination, including an explanation that the sample for testing was found to be very broad and the activities had been extended into the next financial year. The child labour activities and projects received focus. The funding to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) was described.
Mr Kettledas went on to describe the particular achievements in each of the programmes for administration, human resource management, the monthly and quarterly reporting systems
Mr C van der Merwe, Chief Financial Officer, DOL, tabled the financial statements were tabled. He noted that there was 2.7% under spending (R39 million) on the budget. The highest expenditure was on service delivery and there was under spending on social insurance. The transfers and subsidies amounted to R410 million transferred, showing an under variance of R6 million.
The Auditor General’s (AG) Report was encapsulated in three parts, Department of Labour, sheltered employment factories and the National Skills Fund. The part relating to the DOL was qualified in respect of asset management. Corrective action had been taken by implementing an asset management unit and reconciling the registers. The difficulties here had arisen because of insufficient time to complete the tasks. There was an emphasis of matter relating to administration of leave records where the Department had put in corrective measures. There was a problem in staff debtors amounting to R10.2 million and the Department was in the process of recovering those debts. The South African Police Service and various tracing agencies had been used to assist in tracing, but if people remained untraced the matter would be referred to the State Attorney for advice. There was insufficient monitoring of the salary PERSAL control account, and the Department would improve its actions to clear the account. The Department had not yet complied with the requirement to produce an environmental management plan, which was in the draft stages. There was insufficient documentation in relation to the internal audit, and reliance could not be placed on the internal audit. A Risk Management Unit had been appointed.
There was also a qualified audit report for the Sheltered Employment Factories. The qualifications here related to the non-following of processes for supply chain management, but corrective measures had now been taken to advertise for alternative supplies on a periodic basis. The impairment of fixed assets exercise was not completed and corrective measures implemented here had resulted in 60% now being completed, with the remaining five factories still being done. There was no disclosure on stock in transit at year end, but correctional measures had been taken to monitor, and documents had been sent to the AG. Risk assessment and non-compliance with applicable legislation were also raised, and corrective measures were now in place. The strategic plan was not achieved in relation to matters of governance.
The National Skills Fund had also received a qualified report. The qualification related to the project expenditure and the NSF had undertaken a detailed analysis of processes against the qualification, and would be aligning the requirements, policies and processes. The other qualification related to reflection of commitments, and the accrual based accounting system would be implemented. The Department had taken note of the emphasis of matter on the basis of accounting, the governance issues, material corrections, preparation of manuals, and the internal audit.
The Chairperson noted that there were areas of concern that would be addressed later in detail. However, the current questions would be for clarity only.
Mr M Mzondeki (ANC) requested that when the Department presented to the Committee again it should indicate the areas of improvement since the last report.
The meeting was adjourned.
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