Not only is the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) behind schedule with its 2013/14 annual report, it has also been rapped over the knuckles by a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee as the “lowest performing department in the Public Service”.
The elaborately named Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation has, according to a Parliamentary Communication Services statement, “voiced its dissatisfaction” with six national departments for weaknesses in management practices.
Top of the list is the DMV which did not appear before the Portfolio Committee when invited and “more concerning it showed weaknesses in 15 of the 31 measurement standards (prescribed in the 2012/13 Management Performance Assessment Tool) and was rated the lowest performing department in the entire Public Service. This included weaknesses in areas such as payment of suppliers within 30 days, professional ethics as well as internal audit”.
“The National Development Plan clearly emphasises a need to professionalise the public sector through strengthening internal systems as an instrument to improve service delivery. This tool will ensure accountability and oversight are strengthened,” said committee chairperson, Bertha Mabe.
“The Committee is of the view they (the six national departments) missed an opportunity to receive ideas that would have assisted them in improving performance. It remains a worrying factor this department (DMV) and many others continue to fail small businesses by their failure to pay within the prescribed 30 days,” she said.
Along with the DMV, the other under-performing departments are Human Settlements (where former Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu is still beating the veterans’ drum), Public Works (long acknowledged by the SA National Defence Force as being a problem when it comes to refurbishment or maintenance of military facilities), Water Affairs, Correctional Services and Justice.
All are cited by Mabe for under-performing in specific areas which impacted on their work.
The DMV annual report for the 2013/14 financial year would have been and will still be the first time the veterans’ arm of the Department of Defence (DoD) tables its own report in Parliament. Previously DMV affairs and financial statements have been part of the DoD annual report.
The combined annual report for 2012/13 totalled 360 pages and the latest annual report for Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s department runs to 296 pages.
She informed Parliament early last month the DMV annual report would not be tabled in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act because its chief financial officer was placed on special leave at the beginning of August pending disciplinary action. She did not give an indication of when the 2013/14 DMV annual report would make it to Parliament.
Reacting to the delay, opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party shadow deputy defence and military veterans minister, Shahid Esau, said it was “clear evidence the DMV is in meltdown”.
“It is in a shambles and not able to provide care to thousands of military veterans who are in desperate need,” he said.