BUDGET VOTE SPEECH BY THE HONOURABLE JEFF RADEBE, MP, MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: PLANING, MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AT THE NATIONAL ASSEMPBLY, CAPE TOWN
17 MAY 2017
Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Buti Manamela
Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Commissioners of the National Planning Commissioners present here
Ladies and Gentlemen
I have the honour to table this budget vote for the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME).
This year marks what would have been the 100th birthday of the liberation struggle stalwart and the longest serving President of the African National Congress, Oliver Reginald Tambo. As you know His Excellency President Zuma has declared 2017 as The Year of OR Tambo, in honour of this icon.
In addition, this year, in August, it will be five years since the National Development Plan: Vision 2030 was adopted by parliament by consensus of all political parties (and later by cabinet) as our country’s long-term vision and roadmap, which enjoys broad support across society.
The budget vote presents an opportunity for us as government and the country to assess our performance in pursuit of inclusive growth and socio-economic development, and to chart a way forward for the remainder of the mandate of the current administration.
This budget vote also takes place in the aftermath of credit downgrades of the country by two prominent ratings agencies, with an imminent additional rating by another agency any time soon. This is a major setback in our journey towards creating a better and more prosperous South Africa.
2. PAYING HOMAGE TO O.R. TAMBO
The centenary of OR Tambo demands of us to reflect on the life of this colossus of the liberation struggle, and to keep in mind his vision and mission as we take a retrospective view on the road we have traversed as a nation, and how we move forward.
OR Tambo’s life is intertwined with the trajectory of our liberation struggle. Tambo selflessly dedicated his life to freedom and equality for all the people of South Africa regardless of colour or creed. Tambo was a unifier, a sincere servant of the people, with a strong conviction that true freedom and democracy could only be expressed through a better life for all.
3. CURRENT SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
It remains true that South Africa is a better place to live in compared to the pre-democracy era, and the lives of the majority of ordinary South Africans have improved since the dawn of democracy.
Our economy grew at an average of 3.2% a year from 1994 to 2012, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased in real terms from R1.6 trillion in 1994 to just over R3 trillion in 2015. Employment has grown from 9.5 million persons in 1994 to 16 million at the end of 2015.
Access to housing and basic services has improved through the construction of four million new houses since 1994, and increasing connections to electricity to 95% of households and piped water to 85% of households.
The social protection system has expanded to cover more than 17 million recipients, lifting millions of children and old people out of severe poverty. From 2001 to 2011 poverty has halved, and the percentage of households that experienced hunger has decreased from 23,8% to 11,3%.
We are among leading countries to reach near universal access to basic education, at 98% of 7 to 15 year olds in schools. Eligible TVET students receiving financial assistance annually increased from 188 182 in 2012 to 235 988 in 2015; and students enrolled at universities increased from 950 000 in 2012 to 985 212 in 2015.
4. OUR CHALLENGES
Madam Speaker and Honourable Members,
We recount these indicators of progress not to be complacent, but to draw inspiration from our achievements in our mission to build a nation inspired by the vision of Oliver Tambo.
Our challenges remain daunting: We have not made the required progress in promoting inclusive growth and transforming the economy and society for the benefit of the black majority of our citizens.
The economy is underperforming relative to its potential, and thus impeding our ability to decisively address the trio challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
The brunt of unemployment is borne mostly by youth, who are the majority in our population.
Ownership of the economy by black people, as measured by shareholding on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, is still minuscule.
Black people are not beneficiaries of mineral resources in the ground, which are overwhelmingly owned by large pre-dominantly white-owned companies. As Karl Marx said “he who owns the gold writes the contract.”
The majority of black people still do not own the land in which they were born. Only 8 million hectares of arable land have been transferred to black people, which is only 9.8% of the 82.4 million hectares of arable land in the republic.
Beyond containing extreme poverty, the challenge is for us to reduce income inequality in order to minimise dependence on social grants and free basic infrastructure. This requires that we accelerate inclusive growth to enable more and more people to earn income from direct participation in the economy and the labour market, and from various forms of enterprise.
This is our country’s overriding priority.
Government has identified the fight against corruption as one of our key priorities. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes states that corruption weakens democratic institutions, and hampers economic growth and development. Informed by the NDP, we have committed ourselves to adopting a whole of government and societal approach in the fight against corruption, in both the private and public sectors. This past Sunday we launched a discussion document as a basis for nation-wide consultations towards a National Anti-Corruption Strategy. In this regard, we will be undertaking public engagements in all provinces and with various sectors, with the aim to have the Strategy finalised by the end of the second quarter of this financial year.
5. THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN AND RADICAL SOCIO-ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION
Viewed against the background I have just outlined, it is clear that the National Development Plan: Vision 2030 is our nation’s blueprint and programme to build on our achievements, and to decisively confront our challenges.
The NDP is the overarching plan that seeks to fulfil the aspirations of the majority of South Africans, and black people in particular. It underpins our developmental endeavours, and informs the policies and strategies spearheaded by government.
OR Tambo said: “Racial discrimination, South Africa’s economic power, its oppression and exploitation of all the black peoples, are part and parcel of the same thing.” In this way, OR was forewarning that political freedom would be meaningless without economic freedom. Freedom must come with the full enjoyment of rights to human dignity, decent employment, education, food, shelter, and equal opportunities, among others.
Radical socio-economic transformation is premised on this perspective, and its core objective is to expedite the fundamental changes required for black people to attain true economic freedom, underpinned by the NDP. In this sense, the NDP is the programme to advance radical economic transformation.
If he was still alive, OR would be a leading advocate and supporter of the National Development Plan, as a vision and programme that embodies much of what he stood for, along with other struggle icons – Madiba, Sisulu, Slovo, Kathrada, Biko, to name a few.
The most fitting tribute that we can pay to this gallant leader is to reaffirm the relevance of the NDP, and to strive to implement it with unity of purpose and decisiveness.
For this purpose, we need to more assertively and creatively exploit the strategic levers at the disposal of government – including the budget, legislation; procurement; licences; transformation charters, development finance institutions and state-owned companies. We need better coordination, coherence and accountability.
6. THE ROLE OF DPME
In this context, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) has a key strategic role to play.
As DPME, we have been entrusted with the daunting task of serving as the custodians of this noble plan, the NDP Vision 2030. In addition to the programmes we are undertaking, we are in the course of promoting awareness of the Plan through an NDP branding campaign. We are grateful to departments and entities that are co-branding the NDP corporate image. The more people know about the NDP, the more they embrace its vision.
The mandate of DPME is to ensure that government programmes advance the NDP and achieve the desired outcomes and impact, and to promote improved implementation.
Our departure point is that we have an overarching long-term national development plan in the NDP, towards which government has prioritised 14 measurable Outcomes in its current Medium-Term Strategic Framework 2014-2019, as the first five year implementation agenda for the NDP. These outcomes include Quality Basic Education, Improved Health Standards, Reducing Crime, Creating Jobs and Infrastructure Development, Nation Building and Social Cohesion.
Through our monitoring function, DPME’s task is to report to government through Cabinet (which we do on a quarterly basis), as well as report to the nation, on our performance against our objectives, and to do so without fear or favour.
No plan or strategy to achieve long-term socio-economic change can succeed without a mechanism to periodically measure performance and provide critical feedback to ensure we improve our collective efforts and results.
To this end, as is tradition at the mid-point of each administration, government conducts a thorough assessment of performance of our plans and programmes, and on this basis to chart a way forward. This exercise is led by the DPME, based on the reports of departments, and drawing on independent evidence and data.
What is exercise telling us/what do we hope to get from it?
Related to this is the need to further institutionalise better planning in government. The changes that the state must implement are complex and have a long-term time-frame, which requires sound planning and effective coordination.
The aim is to streamline and consolidate the overall government planning system and related legislation, in order to better advance the implementation of the NDP in an integrated manner.
Another key area is the alignment of planning and budget allocations to NDP priorities across government. Despite several reforms since 1994 to improve the resource allocation process, including the Public Finance Management Act, the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), there is widely felt the need to strengthen the alignment of the national budget to NDP goals and targets.
At its August 2016 Lekgotla, Cabinet has therefore decided that DPME, with National Treasury, must review government expenditure and plans prior to the start of the formal budget process, to ensure that the budget receives stronger political guidance and supports government priorities. This exercise will culminate in a Budget Mandate Paper that DPME will produce annually before National Treasury allocates the budget.
We are currently working on adjustments to the responsibility for spatial planning. Between myself and the Ministers of Rural Development and Land Reform, and of Cooperative Governance, we have agreed to reassign key functions in the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, and some to the Department of Cooperative Government.
The Role of the National Planning Commission (NPC)
The President appointed the second National Planning Commission in September 2015, as an independent body of experts to advise on planning issues, and in particular to promote the implementation of the NDP across different sectors of society. This Commission took the baton from the first NPC which produced the NDP.
This Commission, of which I am the Chairperson, is a vital component of the institutional make up of planning in the country. The NPC is already adding value through thoughtful critiques of our performance in implementing the NDP, in particular resource allocation for NDP priorities, enriching various aspects of the Plan through targeted research, and engaging various stakeholders outside government to raise awareness about the NDP and strengthen support for it, and thus promoting the active citizenry that the NDP calls for. DPME is integrating the NPC’s advice into our work.
To achieve these reforms, DPME has been developing an overarching policy to further institutionalise planning and to frame legislation for this area.
DPME is the custodian of the Operation Phakisa methodology borrowed from Malaysia’s Big, Fast Results. This tool is proving helpful to government and other key role-players in unlocking delivery in key areas of priority espoused in the NDP. We are undertaking Operation Phakisa initiatives in the Oceans Economy, in Health, Education, Mining and Agriculture sectors.
Since its launch by President Zuma in July 2014, Operation Phakisa in the Ocean Economy has unlocked R7, 323 billion in both public sector and private sector investments, and a total of 6 952 jobs have been created.
The Phakisa: ICT in education has also been progressing since its launch in 2016, with the deployment of devices in schools, and 2884 schools receiving mobile trolley tablets for learners, and 221 special schools being connected, with 125 Teacher Resource Centres connected out of 147. Progress has also been made in the development of e-content, with 978 schools having received OpenView HD ( OVHD ) in the 2016/17 financial year.
In the health sector, progress is being made to upgrade primary health centres into Ideal Clinics.
The Operation Phakisa for Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform was launched in September 2016, co-hosted by DPME and the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Rural Development and Land Reform, with the participation of key industry stakeholders. Participants agreed to 27 key initiatives pertaining to grains, livestock, horticulture, producer support, rural development, land reform, and labour.
Socio-Economic Impact Assessments (SEIAS)
In February 2015, Cabinet approved the Socio-Economic Impact Assessments programme (SEIAS) to improve the development of policies, legislation and regulations, in line with NDP objectives. SEIAS assists government to mitigate against the unintended consequences of new and existing legislation and regulations. It is also applied to major Strategies, Plans, Magistrate Court Rules, Charters and Frameworks. Cabinet approval for any of these will not be obtained a SEIAS being undertaken.
Monitoring the Payment of Suppliers within 30 Days
Non-payment of suppliers negatively impacts on sustainability of small business, and therefore on economic growth and employment creation. DPME is tasked with the responsibility to ensure that departments and state agencies meet their PFMA/MFMA obligation to pay suppliers within 30 days. This work is yielding positive results. In the short time since DPME took on this task, we have intervened in a total of 207 cases of non-payment of valid invoices, and R327 million has been paid to service providers, as at end of March 2016.Through this intervention, we are positioning the DPME as a gateway to government services.
In order to assess whether or not our plans are achieving their intended results, we carry our evaluations to determine the underlying reasons, and recommend improvements. For this purpose, the target is policies and programmes that are strategic to the NDP. To date, a total 59 NEP evaluations have been undertaken covering over R100 billion of government expenditure.
We are promoting the discipline of evaluations as part of institutionalising evidence-based planning in government.
Honourable Members and fellow South Africans,
DPME has been allocated a total budget of R923 million for the 2017/18 financial year, which is expected to increase to R942 million and R996 million respectively over the MTEF.
The Department’s budget for the 2017/18 financial year includes a transfer payment to the National Youth Development Agency of R433 million. The 2017/18 funding allocations per programme are as follows:
Administration: R168 million
National Planning Coordination: R55 million (for NPC costs, SEIAS, Strategic Plans & APPs)
Sector Planning and Monitoring: R52 million (mostly compensation and travel costs)
Public Sector Monitoring and Capacity Development: R40 million (for MPAT, Local Government Monitoring)
Frontline and Citizen Based Monitoring: R57 million (including Presidential Hotline and Siyahlola Projects)
Evidence and Knowledge Systems: R109 million (including National Income Dynamics Study, Evaluations and Research)
Youth Development: R442 million (mainly transfer to NYDA)
The Department is currently implementing its revised organisational structure with a view to increasing the capacity to more effectively execute our mandate.
We will utilise our budget conscious of the constrained economic and fiscal environment. It is worth mentioning that the Department has obtained clean audit opinions for the previous four financial years. The audit for the 2016/17 financial year is underway, and we are confident we will continue the track record of clean audits and good governance.
Madame Speaker and Honourable Members,
The challenges that we face today as the South African nation are not insurmountable. They require that as compatriots we work together, and work harder, accelerate the achievement of inclusive growth and socio-economic development, so that we can overcome unemployment, poverty and inequality in our nation.
Let me conclude with inspirational words from Ben Okri’s poem, “Turn on your Light:”
Only free people can make a free world
Infect the world with your light
Help fulfil the golden prophecies
Press forward the human genius
Our future is greater than our past.
Indeed, our future is greater than our past. Our future is NDP.
I therefore request this house to support the 2017/2018 budget of the DPME.