Planning department does not seem to have teeth, Makhosi Khosa says
Minister Jeff Radebe’s department has been accused of being preoccupied with planning and not concerned enough with managing implementation
The "powerless" Department of Planning‚ Monitoring and Evaluation has come under attack from MPs‚ who have questioned whether its existence is "value for money" for the state.
The department is headed by Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, and oversees the National Youth Development Agency. The department is also mandated to monitor the performance of senior officials and ministers.
It is charged with monitoring the government’s long-term strategy‚ the National Development Plan (NDP).
Public service and administration portfolio committee chairperson Makhosi Khoza had some tough words for the department and its acting director general‚ Tshediso Matona.
Matona appeared before the committee to brief it on the department’s annual performance plan.
"There’s something that is frightening, actually. In terms of the NDP‚ by 2030 we should have created 11-million jobs" Khoza said. "There’s not a single mention of the biggest disruptor in this document, and that is the digital revolution that is before us. It’s disrupting everything." Khoza added: "And what bothers me is that this is the department that is supposed to be at the centre that is supposed to be leading the implementation of the NDP. We are seven years down the line. Where are we? We are still talking about planning‚ good Lord, but 2030 is in 12 years’ time from now." She said the presentation and some of its omissions did not make sense.
"Are we getting the value for money from this department? Is it cut out to do what it is supposed to do? Does it have teeth? Maybe we are talking to people who don’t have teeth. Tell us why are you so powerless. I’m going to be frank and honest with you [director-general Tshediso Matona]‚ I honestly don’t believe … the assumptions that you made when you were drawing up this document‚ I don’t think they’re correct. I also don’t think you’re up to speed with reality that we’re facing‚" said Khoza.
Khoza warned that SA’s dream will be "deferred until it fades away".
"I wish minister Radebe was here‚" Khoza said.
DA MP Désirée van der Walt also raised concerns about the department’s performance.
"…I think we should monitor and evaluate you because I don’t find concrete evidence on value for money that you spoke about, director-general. You are now overseeing the ministers‚ directors-general and all the senior managers. Now you even bring in local government," Van Der Walt said.
She added: "You can plan for life. You can monitor‚ you can evaluate‚ but how are you bringing the changes? What are you doing on the ground? What have you changed since you started?" The DA’s Sej Motau questioned the department’s ability to assess the performance of ministers.
"Look what happened recently during the reshuffle of the Cabinet. I don’t think there’s anyone in here who can tell me the performance was taken into account when these assessments were done. Does the president ever talk to you and the ministers concerned about their performance?" he asked.
Matona seemed taken aback by Khoza and the committee. He said the department was relatively new.
"Personally I believe we are on the right path‚" said Matona. He said they were not an implementing department. "We monitor those that do that." He acknowledged that the performance of directors-general was lacking, "and that is a big problem".