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Keynote Address by the Honourable Jeff Radebe, MP Minister in The Presidency for Planning Monitoring and Evaluation at the DPME Staff Imbizo GCIS Auditorium Pretoria

5 DECEMBER 2017

It is such a pleasure to have the DPME staff under the same roof as we close what has been an historic year. This historic moment presented us with an opportunity to take a retrospective view on the road we have travelled both as the Department and as a nation, and forge new directions for 2018 and beyond.  

The year 2017 was declared as the Year of OR Tambo, in honour of what would have been the 100th birthday of Oliver Reginald (OR) Tambo, who passed away in 1993. Tambo left indelible footprints in our collective memory and his vision as the leader of our liberation movement is entrenched in the contours of our democratic society. I had the singular honour of chairing the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on the OR Tambo Centenary celebrations. I am proud to say that the programme of the OR Tambo Centenary has been a resounding success.

It is almost impossible to speak of OR Tambo without mentioning his close friend and comrade, the late Nelson Mandela. Tambo and Mandela met on the soccer field as students at the University of Fort Hare in 1940. They struck a friendship that would last a lifetime. They joined the African National Congress (ANC) and played an instrumental role in the founding of the ANC Youth League in 1944.

Tambo was succeeded by Mandela as the President of the ANC in 1991. It is such a coincidence that these close companions succeed each other even in their years of birth. As we conclude the OR Tambo centenary, we begin the Nelson Mandela centenary. The whole world has been celebrating Nelson Mandela Day for a number of years, but next year’s instalment has to be something special, as the 18th of July 2018 marks what would have been Madiba’s 100th birthday. It is an honour and a privilege that I have been entrusted with the responsibility of serving as the chairperson of the IMC for the centenary of the late President Mandela.

Those of us who had the privilege of working closely with Madiba know that he always insisted that as a leader he was part of a collective — his successes were the successes of the people. Madiba has touched the lives of multitudes of people all over the world, but it is his compatriots, we the South Africans, who are the ultimate benefactors of his life. This also places on our shoulders the responsibility to champion, uphold and cherish Madiba’s ideals. As the DPME, we have the daunting task of ensuring that the world pays a fitting tribute to this global icon.

This year also marked the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the National Development Plan (NDP). The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), as the custodians of the NDP, spearheaded the programme for the national celebrations of the 5th anniversary of the NDP and introduced a number of programmes to reach out to different sectors of society. The celebrations of the NDP offered us the glorious opportunity to reflect on the successes, failures and lessons learnt during the first five years of this ambitious plan.

The triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality continue to bedevil our journey towards a better and more prosperous South Africa. The confrontation of the challenges that we face as the society requires tenacity and great determination. The monitoring of our performance is particularly crucial now as we have reached the midpoint in the tenure of the current administration. We have conducted a comprehensive midterm review, which reflects on the key challenges that continue to confront us as a nation. Most importantly, the midterm review reflects on the key actions that need to be taken in the remainder of the term of office of government.

 

One of the DPME’s major achievements this year is the cabinet’s approval of the Mandate Paper, which was initiated by the National Planning Commission (NPC). Cabinet identified the need to strengthen the alignment of the MTSF and the NDP for the purposes of budget prioritisation. DPME was instructed to develop, on an annual basis, the Mandate Paper to guide the budget process for 2018, to ensure a focused implementation of Government’s plans. The Mandate paper was approved by cabinet in August.

 

The Budget mandate paper is conceived as a process for the Presidency to oversee the national budget process. This allows the Presidency to assume a Birdseye-view on the performance and expenditure of government and its entities. The alignment of the responsibilities of planning, monitoring and evaluation with budget allocation ensures that there is coherence in the work that we do. In this way, we will be able to provide the rationale and the systematic basis for reinforcing key strategic choices according to priority areas of government.

 

Our major setback in the Department must have been the departure of our Deputy Minister, Buti Manamela, who has been redeployed to the Department of Higher Education and Training. While we were still looking forward to working with him until the end of the administrative period in 2019, we believe that his experience and passion is needed more in the education sector. Education is the apex priority of government.

As the popular saying goes, “one man’s loss is another’s gain.” We are confident that he will continue doing us proud and that the experience he acquired while working as our Deputy Minister will be useful in his new portfolio. The projects that he was championing, including his mandate of Youth Development, will continue under the jurisdiction of the DPME.

While we have lost the Deputy Minister, we are fortunate to have Ms Mpumi Mpofu as our not-so-new Director-General. I have had the pleasure of working with Ms Mpofu before and I know she’s a consummate professional. Her reputation as an experienced government administrator precedes her. Her track record in her previous roles as the Secretary of Defence and the DG of the Department of Transport speaks for itself.

As we are wrapping up the year and getting ready to confront the challenges of the new year, let us appreciate the contribution we have made towards creating the great South African nation that we all espouse. Theis one of the best performing departments in government and I want it to remain that way. As we are getting ready to embark on long journeys to various holiday destinations, I want to thank each and every member of the DPME family for their contribution in service of the nation.

Let us use this festive season to rest and reinvigorate our energies so that we can return as a highly powered force in January 2018. I am looking forward to 2018 especially because it marks the 100th birthday of the founding father of our democratic society, the late President Nelson Mandela. I am quite confident that it will be as much of a success as the OR Tambo has been this year.

I wish everyone Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

 

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