Every year at the end of September the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on labour prepares it budgetary review and commentary. Every year, the Auditor General of South Africa assesses the various departments, and in particular the Department of Labour, in order to see that proper accounting standards have been adhered to, and that proper financial control is brought into being. Our beloved Department of Labour has failed over the last 4 years. There has probably been failure over the last 20 years, but we have been monitoring this failure for the last 4 years and we held our breath for at least some improvement this year. Lo and behold, the Auditor General has said that the department has failed dismally, and for instance in the Compensation Fund, the Special Investigating Unit investigated an allegation of financial misconduct at the request of the Minister. This misconduct involved key officials. The investigation has been completed, but no report has been forthcoming. Obviously, the investigation found something that the Minister does not wish to tell us about.
Even NEDLAC incurred expenditure in excess of the approved budget. It was shown that there was irregular expenditure during this financial year. The CCMA irregularly spent R35,5m. The Auditor General of South Africa has condemned this expenditure. The Auditor General has said that the entire labour portfolio has regressed to the extent that the financial health could not be reliably measured.
We still have nothing further to report on the national minimum wage, but it does appear that NEDLAC is now in a bit of disarray about whether the national minimum wage should be hooked onto the Basic Conditions of Employment Act or be stand-alone legislation. We are beginning to think that the chances of anything being ready to be implemented on the 1st May 2018 is minimal.
It has been said that it is strange that men should take up crime when there are so many legal ways to be dishonest. The Department of Labour is starting to show us that we desperately need the Auditor General’s reports on a more regular basis other than once per year.
There was an interesting case with regards to the Department of Higher Education and Training when an employee tried to resign without notice to avoid disciplinary action. The court specifically pointed out that the disciplinary action may go ahead in any event, and if the person is subject to a notice period, this action could take place during that notice period.