ATC201014: Report of the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings on the Executive Undertakings made by the Minister of Employment and Labour during the House Sitting of 11 July 2019, as Adopted on 14 October 2020
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON PETITIONS AND EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS ON THE EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS MADE BY THE MINISTER OF EMPLOYMENT AND LABOUR DURING THE HOUSE SITTING OF 11 JULY 2019, AS ADOPTED ON 14 OCTOBER 2020
On 02 September 2017, the Honourable Minister of Employment and Labour (Minister) made the following executive undertakings during the Question and Answer Session: in the National Council of Provinces (House):
- Executive Undertaking 1: “The department has nine provincial offices, 126 Labour Centres, 25 satellite offices and 467 visiting points which are part-time offices. To this, we will add 10 specialised youth centres over the next two years."
- Executive Undertaking 2: “In this financial year, we will also ensure that our entrenched labour market tools, mainly the UIF, strengthen our Labour activation programme to focus on the following: Vocational and remedial training of the unemployed; programmes for the youth in transition from school to work, including apprenticeships and some 130 000 learnerships over three years; and also subsidised, targeted measures to provide employment including hiring subsidies paid to private sector employers, and assistance to the unemployed persons who wish to start their own businesses.”
- Executive Undertaking 3: “The department will form partnerships with the employers and training institutions, particularly in collaboration with the Department of Higher Education and Training to address the future skills needs of the labour market.”
1.4 Executive Undertaking 4: “During the course of this financial year, we will add 200 inspectors to the current team that is working to ensure implementation of the national minimum wage. With the Deputy Minister and the DG, we will be launching a blitz of inspections in the near future.”
- Executive Undertakings 5: “There’ll be an increase in the income replacement rate for maternity benefits to 66%. We’ll extend a contributor’s entitlement to benefits under certain circumstances and there’ll also be finance employment services.”
- PROCEDURE OF THE COMMITTEE
The concerned executive undertakings were referred to the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings (Committee) by the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, on 07 August 2019, for it to scrutinise and subsequently report to the House on their implementation.
After their referral to the Committee, proceeded to extend an invitation to the Minister to appear before it and report on the progress made by the Department of Employment and Labour (Department) in implementing the concerned executive undertakings, which falls under its respective portfolio.
- MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE
On 02 September 2020, the Minister, Deputy Minister and relevant officials of the Department appeared before the Committee to report on the progress made in implementing the executive undertakings under consideration.
The following Committee Members were present at the meeting with the Department:
3.1 Hon Z V, ANC, Eastern Cape (Chairperson);
3.2 Hon S Shaikh, ANC, Limpopo;
3.3 Hon T S C Dodovu, ANC, North-West;
3.4 Hon E M Mthethwa, ANC, KwaZulu-Natal;
3.5 Hon B M Bartlett, ANC, Northern Cape;
3.6 Hon I M Sileku, DA, Western Cape; and
3.7 Hon S E Mfayela, IFP, KwaZulu-Natal
The Committee Members present, at the meeting, were supported by the following Committee officials:
3.8 Mr N Mkhize, Committee Secretary;
3.9 Adv. T Sterris-Jaffer; Committee Research;
3.10 Mrs N Fakier; Executive Secretary; and
3.11 Mr M Dumezweni, Committee Assistance
The following representatives of the Department of Employment and Labour appeared before the Committee during the meeting:
3.12 Hon. T W Nxesi, Minister,
3.13 Hon. B E Moloi, Deputy Minister,
3.14 Mr T Lamati; Director General;
3.15 Ms M Bronkhorst, Chief Operating Officer;
3.16 Mr S Morotoba; Deputy Director General-Public Employment Services;
3.17 Adv. M Yawa; Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Corporate Head;
3.18 Mr K Mudumela, Chief of Staff-Ministry;
3.19 Mr Z Moweli; Head-Deputy Ministry Office;
3.20 Ms O Mjo, Ministry-Special Adviser;
3.21 Dr J Lewis, Ministry-Special Adviser; Mr S Mali;
3.22 Mr S Mali , Media Liaison Officer, Parliamentary Liaison Officer (PLO);
3.23 Ms K Magagane, PLO in DM Office;
3.24 Mr T Wababa, PLO; and
3.25 Mr W Dlwengu, DG’s Office
- PROGRESS REPORT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT AND LABOUR
In their progress report to the Committee, the Minister and the Director-General reported as follows:
- Executive Undertaking 1:
The Department of Employment and Labour (Department) reported that in its commitment to establish ten specialized youth centres to provide face to face interactions with young people. It indicated that four of those were earmarked for funding by the Department whilst the Six were to be funded by the European Union (EU) Project that the Department is jointly implementing with the Department of Higher Education Science and Technology.
The Cape Town based Youth Centre is operational and the other three located in Durban, New Castle and De Aar have been initiated. The two will be completed before end of November 2020 whilst the De Aar is scheduled for completion before end of February 2021.
The Six to be funded by the EU were initially earmarked for Johannesburg; Germiston; Thohoyandou; Potchefstroom; Mdatsane or Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein.The funding towards the six Labour Centres is re-directed towards procurement of 24 mobile panel vans that are to be well equipped with the applicable computers. These will be distributed to all Provinces for use as part of the Department mobile version of our Youth Centre. This move will address the Department current space problem, assist it to extend its reach and eliminate the need for work seeker to travel long distances to they offices.
The Department reported that a Revised Work Plans have been submitted to the National Treasury and it is anticipated that the EU will release R27million during November 2020. The purchase and rollout is projected to be finalised by the end of the current financial year ending March 2021.
The Department has also installed Self Service Stations in 64 of the 126 Labour Centres that allows young people to access most services similar to those offered by Youth Centres. The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and Compensation Fund are also procuring Self Service Units for the remaining 62 Labour Centres. These initiatives will complement the Department already existing Online Services.
- Executive Undertaking 2:
The Department reported that the Labour Activation Programmes (LAP) that they use to fund under the UIF are being reviewed to focus more on Employment Schemes that will result in participants to derive income whist participating in the program but also ensure that they enter into formal employment; cooperative or self-employment at the end of the program. There are negotiations underway with the organisations that were awarded LAP contract to adjust their focus.
The Director General appointed a LAP National Adjudication Committee to adjudicate proposals focusing on employment of the unemployed. The requirement for training is to meet any skills gaps that may exist in relation to the available opportunities. The LAP interventions focus on contributors to the UIF who have lost their jobs. Section 5(d) of the UI Act provides for financing of the retention of contributors in employment and the re-entry of contributors into the labour market and any other scheme aimed at vulnerable workers. However, the UIF is alive to the realities of the labour market, that the youth are a bigger share of the unemployment statistics.
The Department indicated that in order to accommodate these youth component that many never have worked the UIF accommodates 30% of non-contributors in LAP interventions. This is additional to those young persons who are contributors already catered for in the mandatory 70% minimum target.
The Department is participating in a joint project with the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Higher Education and Science and Technology funded by the EU through the National Treasury. This Project will fund Youth Centres and other Career Counselling, Employment Schemes and placement interventions that are aimed at facilitating the transition of youth from school to work.
Work Plans have been submitted to the National Treasury and funding is anticipated to flow from November 2020.
- Executive Undertaking 3:
- Department reported that the UIF’s focus is aligned to the employment mandate. All new partnerships emanating from the work of the LNAC will be on the basis of them creating employment. Training will be provided for the sole intention of enabling entry into available jobs.A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Psychometric assessments were concluded with two employers. The one deals with recruitment of technical staff for South Africa Airway (SAA) technical and the other is for Gauteng Nursing Council.
The Department informed that two other MOU’s were completed with other Government agencies, namely the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the Department of Higher Education and Training, to communicate the Khetha Programme to work seekers at Labour Centres.The UIF has been guided by the Department of Higher Education and Training in relation to relevant training/skills programmes required by the job market.
The current mandate of the Department of Employment and Labour is job creation, as such the UIF has shifted the focus of the LAP programmes to job creation..The UIF considered partnerships with entities of provincial Governments the Department of Higher Education & Training, and the Department of Energy.The Department supports and contributes to an initiative that is led by the Department of Higher Education Science and Technology in determining scarce and future critical skill that will be in demand
- Executive Undertaking 4:
The Department reported that it conducts blitz inspections and in the 2019/20 Financial Year, it has conducted approximately 3459 blitz inspections country-wide. The sectors it focused on are: hospitality;community; wholesale and retail;agriculture;domestic; construction,finance,manufacturing security and transport.
The Department indicated that a general trend regarding non-compliance was around the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and National Minimum Wage Act. Each Province has developed and will adapt, where necessary, an annual Blitz Inspection Schedule focusing on different sectors. This is determined by trends of problematic and high risk sectors in various provinces.
The Department informed that it has now 2 283 Labour Inspectors. This figure includes the new 500 Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Labour Inspectors that have been added to the Branch.The 2 283 Labour Inspectors includes the 500 new OHS Labour Inspectors. Thus far about 60% of the 500 new OHS Labour Inspectors have already been recruited and placed.
The process of employing the new Labour Inspectors should be completed by end ofOctober 2020.
The 500 additional OHS Labour inspectors will add to the 176 current OHS Labour Inspectors of which 60% of the 500 is already recruited and placed in employment. The Branch was intending to add 200 Employment Standards Labour Inspectors on contractual basis. These were going to help mostly with the enforcement of the National Minimum Wage Act and Employment Equity Act.
The submission for these had already been approved but could not continue with the recruitment and selection process due to budgetary constraints.
- Executive Undertaking 5:
- Department reported that the UIF has implemented the flat rate for maternity. The flat rate for maternity benefits was implemented on the 02 January 2019 and all claims are assessed and paid on the 66%.
- OBSERVATIONS AND KEY FINDINGS
In noting the progress report given by the Department of Employment and Labour in relation to the implementation of the executive undertakings under review, the Committee made the following observations and key findings:
5.1 The Department assured the Committee it has factored all the above mentioned executive undertakings in its current budget. However, the Department indicated that additional budget cuts are expected, but further gave assurance that the implementation of these executive undertakings will be factored in the revised budget.
5.2 The Department was intending to add 200 Employment Labour Inspectors on contractual basis. These were going to help mostly with the enforcement of the National Minimum Wage Age Employment. The Department informed that the submission for these had already been approved but could not continue with the recruitment and selection process due to budgetary constraint.
5.3 The Department acknowledgement that there will be less job opportunities for young people and more retrenchment. But assured that the situation is being remedied, by partnering with relevant stakeholders and putting together a recovery plan which will stimulate economic activities (especially in core sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing).
Further, in noting the progress report made by the Minister of Department of Employment and Labour, the Committee, lastly, observes that the executive undertakings have been adequately implemented and therefore recommends that they be closed.
Report to be considered.
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