Committee Report on Department of Labour 2006/7 Annual Report

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Employment and Labour

12 November 2007
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Meeting report

LABOUR PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
13 November 2007

COMMITTEE REPORT ON DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR 2006/7 ANNUAL REPORT

Chairperson:
Ms O Kasienyane (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Department of Labour 2006/07 Annual Report presentation
Department of Labour 2006/07 Annual Report [available shortly at www.labour.gov.za]
Committee Report on Annual Report of Department of Labour [available at Committee Reports once published]

Audio recording of meeting


SUMMARY
The Committee deliberated on the Committee Report on the 2006/07 Department of Labour Annual Report that had been presented to them on 23 October. The Report highlighted areas of concern that included the financial aspects of the Annual Report, the Auditor General’s audit report, and service delivery issues. The Committee had already resolved that the Department must report to it on a quarterly basis so that it could ensure that the audit matters and other problems were being rectified. The Committee were vocal in raising their concerns. They agreed to study the contents further and give their recommendations at the next meeting.

MINUTES

The Chair stated that the Committee would focus on areas of concern raised in the Committee Report on the 2006/07 Department of Labour (DOL) Annual Report. She expressed concern that the Committee was not putting in enough effort in performing its oversight role. She said this was her opinion despite the fact that it had been reported in a TV programme that the Committee was one of the best four performing committees in Parliament.

Mr M Mzondeki (ANC) suggested that the Committee look at the DOL Annual Report.

Mr L Labuschagne (DA) suggested that the Committee should rather look at the Draft Committee Report on the DOL Annual Report as it highlighted areas of concern in the DOL Annual Report.

The Chair invited members to give their observations and contributions on the various areas of concern as contained in the Draft Report before them.

Financial Aspects

Mr T Anthony (ANC) suggested that the Committee should first check to see if all the concerns they raised about the DOL’s Annual Report had been captured in the Draft Report.

Mr Mzondeki suggested that they should be allowed time to cross-check that the figures tallied with what is in the DOL Report, since members had only received the Report that morning. Mr Anthony agreed that members should be allowed time to study the financial figures in the Report and come back to discuss their findings.

The Chair ruled that members go and study the Financial Aspects section of the Draft Report and come up with proposals on it.

Auditor General’s Report

Mr Mzondeki complained that the Department had been receiving a qualified Auditor General’s report for the past three years. He said the Department always came up with the same corrective measures. He suggested that the Department should be invited to explain why this was always the case.

Mr N Nene (ANC) suggested that the Committee should consult the reports of the Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) to find out whether the Department had given reasons for the continued qualified audit reports.

Mr Anthony stated that the Committee might need to refer to the Government Immovable Asset Management Act (GIAMA) to be able to solve the problem of the incomplete asset register in the Department.

Mr Labuschagne complained that the existence of staff debt to the tune of R10.2 million was evidence of negligence and lack of proper administration in the Department.

The Chair agreed that the Department needed to have a system in place to deal with the issue of staff debt.

Mr E Mtshali (ANC) recommended that the Committee should not support the debt write-off plan of the Department. He was of the opinion that debt write-off would only lead to the accumulation of more debt in the Department.

Mr Mzondeki insisted that the Department should be invited to explain how it was implementing its debt management policy.

Mr Labuschagne stated that the debt situation in the Department was unacceptable. He suggested that the Department employ the services of a debt recovery company to recover the outstanding debts.

Mr Anthony observed that the Department had not furnished the Committee with details of the debts. He suggested that the Department be invited to substantiate the debts by providing information on how many staff were involved, how much was owed per staff member, when the debts were accumulated etc.

Mr Mshudulu suggested that the Department be invited along with officials from the Office of Auditor General to explain and substantiate some of the issues and concerns raised in the Annual Report.

Mr Labuschagne suggested that the Committee should check again in the first quarter of 2008 to see if the Department had complied with the audit recommendations. By doing this, it would be clear if the corrective measures were actually being carried out or not.

Mr Mzondeki agreed that the Committee should state in its recommendations that it would carry out an inspection in the first quarter of next year to see if the corrective measures had being implemented.

The Chair agreed with the proposal stating that the Committee had already resolved that the Department must report to it on a quarterly basis.

Mr Anthony suggested that a preliminary audit be done before the Auditor General’s audit to avoid the occurrence of qualified audits in the future.

Service Delivery

The Chair stated that a detailed report was required on all the service delivery points contained in the Annual Report.

Mr Mshudulu recommended that the Committee’s researchers should draft questionnaires to help members gather enough information at the Labour Centres in their various constituencies.

Mr Labuschagne stated that the questionnaire was a good idea but would only be useful in the long term as something that could be done next year. The Committee should focus now on completing its report and recommendations on the DOL Annual Report.

The Chair also agreed that the questionnaire proposal was a good one as it would give the members something to work with when they perform their oversight inspections. She urged the members to critically study the points of concern raised and come up with proposals during the next meeting. They would adopt their Committee Report and their own Annual Committee Report at the next meeting.

The meeting was adjourned. 

 

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