ADDRESS BY THE DEPUTY MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY, MS THEMBI SIWEYA, MP, ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2021/22 BUDGET VOTE FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING, MONITORING AND EVALUATION; NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, PARLIAMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA; CAPE TOWN
19 May 2021
It is a pleasure for me to present this Budget Vote on behalf of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). The outbreak of the Coronavirus and its effects on our livelihoods, has made us appreciate the smallest things in life. We can no longer take for granted the gift of life, health and wellness.
The Coronavirus has robbed many of us our loved ones and, as much as we have managed to minimise the death toll in South Africa, every life lost is one too many. Let me once again convey my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the late Minister Jackson Mthembu, who led this Department with excellence. We remember him for his larger than life personality and selfless dedication to serving the nation. The world is poorer without him.
South Africa has survived some of the worst atrocities ever experienced by humankind, and we are sure to prevail over the current crisis. We are already on course to recovery. The vaccine programme is underway and the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan announced by the President in October last year outlines our way out of the economic challenges brought about by the pandemic.
Our role as the DPME is to ensure that government departments and state entities implement integrated programmes that advance our national vision as articulated by the President during the State of the Nation Address. The Department is mandated to institutionalise planning, develop a robust monitoring system backed by evidence and evaluate government programmes and their contribution towards the National Development Plan (NDP).
Madam Speaker, The NDP remains our lodestar as we make efforts to deal with the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
As the DPME, we are duty-bound to ensure that all government components and state-owned entities remain focused in the primary task of creating jobs, reduction of poverty and inequality as espoused in the NDP. We recognise the need to further strengthen planning and improve the integration and harmonisation of planning at all levels towards the realisation of the country's development goals. To achieve these objectives, the DPME will in the year ahead develop the Integrated Planning Policy Framework and revise the Integrated Planning Framework Bill.
We believe that a critical component of this project of institutionalising planning is spatial planning because it will assist us to expedite the task of reversing apartheid spatial development patterns and achieve spatial transformation and spatial justice. To this end, we are working with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) in finalising the National Development Framework, which will embed the spatial element of the development agenda and complement the NDP and the MTSF.
We welcome the review of the implementation of the NDP by the National Planning Commission (NPC), which has pointed out some of the gaps in implementation and made recommendations that will inform the re-invigorated implementation strategy with credible delivery mechanisms and priorities.
I am pleased that the NDP Review as well as the end-of-term Handover Report has been submitted to Cabinet. As the term of the current NPC is coming to an end, we have a process for the appointment of the new Commission for the 2021 – 2026 term.
Madam Speaker, we wish to express our gratitude to the out-going Commissioners for the remarkable work that they have done over the past five years and believe that their reports will be valuable in the development of future plans and implementation strategies.
Madam Speaker, the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa happened at a time when government was gearing itself for the implementation of the 2020/21 financial year. In view of the COVID-19 disruptions and the concomitant lockdown, the DPME had to review and reprioritise aspects of the 2019 – 2024 Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) to align them with the current challenges confronting our society.
The MTSF is a five-year government programme through which the NDP Vision 2030 is implemented. It provides a framework for policy coherence, planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation at national, sectoral and institutional levels and across the spheres of government. The 2019 – 2024 MTSF is structured according to the seven priorities and aligned to the electoral mandate of the governing party, which form the basis for the programme of the sixth administration. This new implementation paradigm is a radical shift to a comprehensive framework that is inclusive of resourcing, integration of all public sector institutions and social partners.
The 2019 – 2024 MTSF combines the NDP Five-Year Implementation Plan with a revamped Integrated Monitoring System and accountability framework. The MTSF translates the Seven Apex Priorities of the Sixth Administration into actionable deliverables. The seven priorities include:
It further prioritises the empowerment of women, youth and persons with disabilities across all the seven priority areas as integral to the achievement of our constitutional vision of a more equitable and inclusive society. Government's programme of action, including the Annual Performance Plans (APP) of all departments, is aligned with the Seven Priorities. The DPME will be monitoring how government departments and state owned entities are implementing the seven priorities in their respective sectors. We will produce regular reports and recommend corrective measures where there is failure in the implementation of the priorities.
The top priority of “A Capable, Ethical and Development State" underpins all seven priorities of the MTSF and is the most germane to the work of the DPME. One of the fundamental elements in building a capable state is a public service that has the requisite human capabilities, institutional capacity and attendant systems to deliver on the national imperatives as envisioned in the NDP.
As part of ensuring good governance and accountability, government departments are required to be well capacitated, and that the vacancy rate should be below 10%. The DPME vacancy rate is far lower than this threshold. Gender parity remains well balanced in the DPME, with women being the majority in senior management. The Department attracts qualified, skilled and dedicated personnel that helps us fulfil our mandate, raise the bar high and set new benchmarks for service delivery.
We are pleased to announce that the DPME has obtained yet another clean audit from the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA), registering eight consecutive clean audits received by the Department since its inception. This reaffirms and epitomises the DPME as an excellent model for the public sector. We lead by example.
In line with the imperatives of Priority 1, the department developed a new National Anti-Corruption Strategy. This strategy was developed through a comprehensive consultative process which involved civil society, academia, business and various clusters of government. We will facilitate and monitor the implementation of this strategy during the MTSF period.
With regard to Priority Two, we will produce performance reports on selected State Owned Entities (SOEs) in the areas of Water, Energy, Roads infrastructure, Broadband and Rail Infrastructure. Government has embarked on a massive drive to build infrastructure in these areas, and it is imperative that South Africans from all sectors of society benefit from these developments.
We will also do the assessment of the availability, implementation and rollout of broadband network so that we can create an enabling environment for rapid expansion through licensing and increase of the spectrum.
Among the factors that relate to Priority Three, monitoring systems will be put in place to set us on a path for phased implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) to achieve universal health coverage for all South Africans by 2030. Our work will focus on the upgrade of public health facilities and reduction of costs for private healthcare. The cooperative manner in which both the private and public healthcare centres handled the COVID-19 pandemic, is an affirmation that universal access is achievable.
One of the major injustices visited upon the people of South Africa was land dispossession. Land Reform in South Africa is aimed at resolving social, economic and transformation conundrum that is as a result of our historical injustices. The DPME sits in the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Land Reform and forms part of the technical team and is responsible for producing monitoring reports on the land claims projects. We will continue producing monitoring reports to keep us abreast with the developments and help us ensure that the pace of land reform is in line with the timelines of the NDP.
The adoption of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) is a major milestone towards the realisation of Priority Seven, which envisages a “Better Africa and World". This is a vital step in improving collaboration and co-operation, as well as fostering integration, increasing trade and accelerating the building of productive capabilities and infrastructure amongst African countries. The DPME will monitor the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area while at the same time identifying new areas of collaboration and greater macroeconomic opportunities.
Madame Speaker, I could be detailing the work we will be doing in each of the seven priorities, but time will not allow. Suffice it to say, every output, every deliverable and programme within the DPME is aligned with the seven priorities.
We will continue to guide departments at national and provincial levels to ensure that Strategic Plans and APPs are aligned with the MTSF and key policy interventions such as the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan.
The DPME will continue to monitor the implementation of the MTSF and the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan to track progress in the implementation of the intended outcomes and produce periodic reports. These reports will culminate into Bi-Annual MTSF Integrated Monitoring Reports which will be submitted to Cabinet. These reports are vital in generating the Ministerial score cards, which will be key in the performance assessment of Cabinet members.
Madam Speaker, the NDP serves as the platform through which government localises its international, continental and regional commitments. A recent analysis by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) indicates that there is a 74% level of alignment between the NDP, AU Agenda 2063 and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This report will be submitted to Cabinet in due course.
DPME, through the NPC Secretariat, is responsible for the Coordinating Mechanism for sustainable development in the country as adopted by Cabinet in 2019. A Voluntary National Review (VNR) on SDGs reporting on AU Agenda 2063, regional integration across the Southern African Development Community (SADC), other sustainable development plans, as well as on NDP, will be produced as part of this mechanism.
Madam Speaker, through our Public Sector Monitoring and Capacity Building programme, we will continue to work directly with communities to enhance service delivery. We will intensify our efforts to position the Presidential Hotline as the gateway to government services. The Presidential Hotline facilitates communication between government and the citizenry in order to find solutions to service delivery challenges. Our objective is to ensure that the majority of service delivery complaints are resolved expeditiously.
The DPME coordinates the evaluation of policies, programmes and processes across the public service in order to support the developmental impact of government. Considering the changed context, the DPME has initiated a process to revise the National Evaluation Plan (2020-2025) in order to align with the available resources and emergent priorities following the COVID-19 disruptions and the revised MTSF.
All evaluations in the National Evaluation Plan are implemented through partnerships with the custodian departments. We are happy to see that partner departments have used the evaluation results to introduce improve their systems and create value for the citizens. For instance, an evaluation of the Birth Registration Programme assisted the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to finalise the Birth Optimisation Strategy. We are happy to note that a system to digitise birth registration information is being implemented to enable all birth registrations to be completed within the legislated 30-day period. An Evaluation of Older Persons Act has been instrumental to in informing the Older Persons Amendment Bill.
In building a smarter organisation, the DPME has started with the development of the Centralised Data Management and Analytics System (CDMAS). Among other benefits, this system will simplify the submission of performance information by departments to the DPME, improve knowledge management and the production and dissemination of performance reports.
Our monitoring and evaluation approaches have been enhanced by the District Development Model (DDM), which aims to improve the coherence and impact of government's service delivery efforts. The DDM will ensure that plans translate into implementable programmes and this would give us a clear line of sight in monitoring implementation, from national to provincial, right down to the district level.
Madam Speaker, to ensure that the lessons learned in dealing with pandemics of this nature are not lost, the DPME has compiled a country report of South Africa's response and management of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will provide a baseline for approaches in handling pandemics and disasters of a similar nature. On this note, I wish to extend a word of gratitude to our partners, the Government Technical Advisory Centre and the National Research Foundation and the many research experts across the country who have contributed to the production of the South African COVID-19 Country Report.
To curb incidents of corruption and irregular expenditures around the vaccination programme, the DPME has since developed the Corruption Risk Mitigation Plan for the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Bi-annual reports will be released and the first report is due by the end of June 2021.
As I conclude Madam Speaker, it is important to reiterate that the DPME has a vital role to play in ensuring that all departmental plans are geared towards the realisation of the six priorities identified by the 6th Administration. To this end, the 2021/22 strategic plan focuses the work of the Department in ensuring that the MTSF 2020-2024 is fully implemented, monitored, constantly reported and critical government programmes are evaluated. Although we would have hoped for more resources to cover this magnitude of work, we welcome the DPME's voted budget of believe that the allocated budget Four Hundred and Fifty-Three million (R453 million) for the 2021/22 financial year. I therefore invite the House to support this statement as the Budget Vote for the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.
I thank you.