Status on the Vacancies and Transformation Targets within the Department of Foreign Affairs

QUOTE

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 672

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 15 OF 18 MAY 2007

Mr L B Labuschagne (DA) to ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs:

(1) What was the percentage of vacancies in her department as at 1 April (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006 at (i) highly skilled production levels 6-8, (ii) highly skilled supervisors levels 9-11, (iii) management level, (iv) senior management or equivalent level and (v) top management or equivalent level;

(2) whether there are any transformation targets with regard to (a) ethnic diversity and (b) gender in her department; if not, why not; if so, what are these targets;

(3) whether these transformation targets have had a negative impact on the filling of vacancies; if not, what are the reasons for these vacancies not being filled; if so , what are the relevant details;

(4) whether her department has reached its targets as set out in its budgeting programme for (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006 despite these vacancies; if not, why not; if so,

(5) whether her department has considered eliminating these vacant posts; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

REPLY:

(1) Percentage of vacancies as at 1 April of the following years:

a) 2004

(i) Highly skilled production levels 6-8 : 35%
(ii) Highly skilled supervisors levels 9-11 : 15%
(iii) Management level: (This category is included in (ii) above).
(iv) Senior management : 18%
(v) Top management : 0%

b) 2005

(i) Highly skilled production levels 6-8 : 25%
(ii) Highly skilled supervisors levels 9-11 : 16%
(iii) Management level: (included in (ii) above)
(iv) Senior management : 1%
(v) Top management : 0%

c) 2006

(i) Highly skilled production levels 6-8 : 28%
(ii) Highly skilled supervisors levels 9-11 : 18%
(iii) Management level (included in (ii) above)
(iv) Senior management : 9%
(v) Top management : 8%

(2) (a) Ethnic diversity targets

The Department does not do ethnic diversity targets. In setting the Employment Equity targets, the department carefully aligned itself with the Employment Equity Act requirements and the White Paper on Transformation of the Public Service and set targets for the designated groups as defined in the Act i.e. Blacks, Women and People with disabilities.

 b) Gender targets ( April 2001-March 2004)

 The Departmental overall gender targets were set as follows:

Males : 50%
Females : 50%

Further to these overall targets, the Department adopted and strived to achieve the minimum targets for Senior Management positions as set by the Department of Public Service and Administration. These were 30% of all senior management positions to be occupied by Women. This target was to be achieved by March 2005, and was accordingly achieved.

In 2006, the Department adopted the revised equity targets for women in the SMS and people with disabilities. These targets which have been approved by Cabinet who prescribed that 50% of all SMS level positions should be occupied by women. The Department is currently improving its systems and processes to work towards these targets by 31 March 2009.

3) The filling of vacancies remains a challenge for the Department. To this end, recruitment and selection processes have been improved to effectively deal with the filling of vacancies. Two dedicated recruitment cycles per year have been implemented to fill the vacancies.

The Department has always viewed the recruitment drives as opportunities to achieve the employment equity targets. However, these targets have had no negative impact on the filling of vacancies. Efforts have been made to attract people from the designated groups by forming partnerships with external organisations and sourcing potential candidates from such organisations. These included Institutions of Higher Learning, South African Institute of International Affairs, the Office on Status of Women and other organisations that deal with unemployed graduates and other marginalised groups.

The vacancies in the Department are caused in some instances by the mobility resulting from internal promotions and transfers to other departments.

 (4) (a) 2004.

Following the expiry of the departmental Employment Equity Plan, the Department embarked on a process of developing a new plan with clear employment equity targets. The table below shows progress made during the 2004 financial year by 31 March 2005 for SMS levels

Designated groups Target Progress as at 31 March 2005
Blacks 72% 69%
Women 30% 31%
People with Disabilities 2% 1.21%

(b) 2005

 In 2005 the department focused recruitment efforts on women. The department had made strides towards achieving the targets in respect of black at SMS level.

Designated groups Target Progress as at 31 March 2005
Blacks 74% 72%
Women 30% 33%
People with Disabilities 2% 1.26%

(c) 2006

The Department continued with the process of developing the Employment Equity Plan. To this end, it embarked on an intensive process of conducting employment equity audits in order to identify barriers to equity. The process included the auditing of policies, practices, environment as well as the organisational culture . Employment equity barriers have since been removed from all employment policies and the results of the culture and climate survey are currently being shared and discussed within the organisation. The results of the audits will inform the new Employment Equity Plan.

While the work was continuing, the department prioritised the achievement of targets for women at SMS and for people with disabilities in general as prescribed by the Department of Public Service and Administration.

Designated groups Target Progress as at 31 March 2005
Blacks 74% 73%
Women 50% 36%
People with Disabilities 2% 1.5%

(5) In 2006, the Department took a decision to eliminate unfunded vacancies. Following this decision urgent steps were put in place to fill the funded vacancies as these are viewed as an opportunity to promote equity and diversity in the Department. To this end, the Human Resources developed service level standards for the filling of vacant posts. These standards were consulted and adopted departmental-wide. A total number of 389 vacancies were advertised and 385 (218 external appointments and 167 internal promotions) were filled. Again, promotions continue to impact on the overall vacancies and availability of suitable skills is even more of a challenge.

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa