ADDRESS BY THE MINISTER KHUMBUDZO NTSHAVHENI, MP, ACTING MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY DURING THE PRESIDENCY BUDGET VOTE DEBATE
02 June 2021
Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Thandi Modise, His Excellency, President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa Deputy President David Mabuza, Honourable members,
45 years ago, in this month of June, young people across the country fought against bantu education in what became known as the 1976 student uprisings, which triggered another wave of mass rebellions led by the students and youth of our country against the Apartheid system. Their struggle for a free South Africa is echoed by the voices of present day South African youth and students when they demand access to better and affordable education through the “Fees Must Fall" and “Decolonisation of Higher Education" movements and equal access to economic opportunities with their clarion call for “Economic Freedom in our Lifetime". In addition, the governing party of South Africa, the African National Congress, has mandated us to deliver on the aspirations of the founding fathers of a democratic South Africa of building a non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous and equal society.
The work to build a prosperous and equal society requires a capable and development state. The President, His Excellency Mr. Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa has clearly articulated that this Presidency is seeking to restore the capability of the state and engender a developmental approach to the work of the state and that this is our topmost priority.
Our ability to deliver on the aspirations of our founding fathers for a prosperous and equal society will be determined by our success in building a capable, ethical and developmental state. Drawing from the categorization We have organized our work of restoring state capacity on five (5) focus areas:
A better coordinated and focused government
At a horizontal level, Presidency coordinates government through a Cluster approach that is managed through the Director-General in the Presidency who is also Secretary to Cabinet. The government clusters have been repurposed to focus on the seven (7) priorities.
To strengthen the ability of the Director-General in the Presidency to coordinate and direct the work of the clusters in line with government priorities, we have commenced the transitioning of the position to that of the Head of the Public Administration in order to strengthen coordination of strategic leadership at national level in support of the President.
In addition, November 2020, Cabinet approved that the Minister of Public Service and Administration should conduct public consultations on the amendment of Public Service Act of 1994 and the Public Administration and Management Act of 2014 with the view to take forward the strategic intent of establishing a single public administration. Once the amendments to these pieces of legislation have been effected, our ability to integrating and consolidating resource utilisation and technical capacity across the three spheres of government will be enhanced.
At a vertical level and to strengthen the implementation of the intergovernmental coordination framework, the 6th administration has introduced and is currently embedding the District–based Development Model to foster a unitary approach in the implementation of national priorities. In another words, the implementation of the national priorities must be the lived experiences of our people in their local communities. Development does not exist in a vaccum but must be felt in the communities and localities where we all live.
The Sixth Administration adopted the DDM as an approach to break silos among state institutions and foster collective investment in district spaces through partnerships with all stakeholders including private sector in a particular district. The DDM which was initially piloted in the Ethekwini Metro, Waterberg District Municipality and O.R. Tambo District Municipality has since been rolled out to all districts in South Africa. The President designated all Ministers and Deputy Ministers as district champions who work closely with the leadership at provincial and local government levels. We are starting to register progress in developing One Plan with One Budget for each district informed by the national priorities of government and the material socio-economic conditions of the particular district.
We are implementing the DDM to mobilise all stakeholders in society towards investing in our communities. The DDM “one plans" will contain commitments by all citizens in a particular district towards better delivery of services and realisation of our development aspirations in aspects such as health, housing, water, sanitation, environment, local economic development, tourism, and so forth. Through this model, the Presidency and mobilise national and provincial governments, as well as business and civil society, to support municipalities to perform their mandates. The Presidency is working closely with the Department of Cooperative Governance and other transversal departments like the National Treasury, to ensure better implementation of the DDM. Improved DDM institutional arrangements will also help ensure that when the new leadership of municipalities comes into office after the 2021 local government elections can build better and capable municipalities that serve our people.
In addition, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) is finalising the drafting of the Intergovernmental Monitoring, Support and Intervention Bill. This legislative instrument will strengthen the alignment of provincial and local government support mechanisms, as well as better implementation of government interventions in line with sections 100 and 139 of the Constitution. Of recent, we have witnessed significant improvements in the implementation of section 100 interventions in the North West province, and the details of this will be shared by the Minister of COGTA with the National Council of Provinces.
At the apex of vertical coordination and bolstered by the need for effective coordination of government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the role of the Presidential Coordinating Council has been invigorated. The PCC which is chaired by the President and constituted by Minsters, Premiers, and Executive Mayors and now expanded to include representatives of traditional leaders continues to play a significant role in facilitating a united South African approached to governance matters that affect all spheres of government and community leadership.
In integration of government commences at a planning level. Since 1994, we have made significant strides in strengthening the government planning system as part of developing integrated development plans that improves service delivery thus improving the quality of life of our people. As we are all aware, our national developmental agenda is guided by our Vision 2030 as outlined in the National Development Plan. The
National Planning Commission completed the review of the NDP which was submitted to Cabinet and published for all South Africans. The review provided a comprehensive assessment of progress in implementing the NDP and recommendations for course correction to enhance performance towards 2030.To recalibrate our way back towards attaining the goals of the NDP, the National Planning Commission is finalizing a framework for the implementation of the NDP. This framework will inform the reorganization and realignment of the Medium-Term-Strategic-Framework (MTSF) which was developed as a five-year plan towards the achievement of the NDP Vision 2030 goals. It is the MTSF which details the implementation plans and targets of the government's 7 priorities which guides the government's Programme of Action which the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) conducts government performance assessment. The MTSF also informs the Performance Agreements of the Ministers, and the President. The DPME has just completed the 2020/21 financial year Programme of Action Assessment Report and it is being considered by Cabinet and will be released to the public. Of course, the budget cuts that were necessitated by the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, has not only necessitated budget reprioritization but the downward revision of the MTSF targets.
The DPME has also concluded an assessment of the alignment of the Provincial Growth and Development Strategies (PGDS) of provinces to the MTSF priorities and targets. Provinces have been given an opportunity to correct the misalignments and exclusions within their PGDS. In addition, the DPME will assist COGTA to ensure full alignment of the DDMs' One Plans to the MTSF.
c) A competent government
The NDP requires us to “reinvigorate the state's role in producing the specialist technical skills to fulfil its core functions." On 18 November 2020, Cabinet released the Framework for the Professionalisation of the Public Service, which was gazetted by Minister Mchunu on December 2020 for public consultation. Our framing of the professionalisation public service is based on the need to change attitudes, behaviour and performance of public servants towards serving the citizens. We insist that public servants must have requisite technical skills and competencies to execute their responsibilities with regard to implementing government policies and plans. Information regarding performance of Directors-General (DGs) indicates that they need support systems to enhance their performance in terms of ensuring that the state delivers on its developmental agenda. As indicated by the President, the National School of Government and universities will play a critical role in continuous professional development of the DGs and other public servants.
Similarly, the delivery of basic services and the roll-out of our ambitious infrastructure plan as announced by the President both by municipalities, state-owned enterprises and both provincial and national government requires technical skills like engineers and artisans. Student enrolments at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges reached 673 490 in 2019, reflecting a 2.5% or 16 357 increase when compared with 2018 (657 133). The collaborative work of the Departments of Employment and Labour, Higher Education and Training, Communications and Digital Technologies and Small Business Development is underway to ensure a significant increase in not only the enrolments for technical skills training at TVET colleges and SETAs but also a platform for access both job and business opportunities in the roll-out of South Africa's Infrastructure Plan.
Furthermore, we are working to improve the performance monitoring and assessment system within the public service commencing with that of the Directors-General. The Presidency working with the DPSA are working to align the performance agreements of DGs to those of Ministers and country outcomes. In addition, work is underway within the DPME to ensure that performance assessments within the public service are not a tickbox exercise. From now onward, the POA assessments will be linked with country outcomes such that government clusters and provincial governments cannot be deemed to be performing well, whereas the country indicators are regression. The good performance of government must translate to positive and meaningful improvement to the lives of South Africans. Government's work must be about the impact it makes to the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. We commit to the Xitsonga dictum that says “Mhitiro ya bulabula".
In the year that we mark 25 years since the adoption of the Constitution, a capable public administration must lead in upholding the values of the Constitution. Chapter 10 of the Constitution enjoins the public administration to be governed by the democratic values and principles. The Constitution demands the following, amongst others, from the public administration:
On the path to an accountable public administration, it is pleasing to remind South Africans that we are starting to note that the latest report of the Auditor-General of South Africa points to an improvement in the audit-outcomes of national and provincial government departments, and public entities. Irregular expenditure also improved from R66,9 billion in 2018/19 to R54,3 billion in 2019/20. National Treasury is implementing measures to assist departments, municipalities and entities to improve their financial management capabilities.
In addition, there is an improvement on compliance with disclosures of financial interests by senior managers and work is underway to compliance amongst other levels of the public service. The lifestyle audit system is being implemented in departments.
We are fully aware that the audit outcomes of municipalities have regressed but the National Treasury, COGTA and SALGA are hard at work to ensure improvement in the compliance to regulations and applicable legislation. In preparation of the new term of office of municipal councils with the upcoming local government elections, the COGTA, DPME and National Treasury are finalising the review of 21 years of local government which is build on the 20 year Review conducted by SALGA. This review will include measures to strengthen the instruments of monitoring and supporting municipalities.
Amil Cabral taught us to “hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, and failures. Claim no easy victories…".
If the DA had dared to listen to the teachings of Cabral, they would not be suffering electoral losses in all the bi-elections held to date. The so-called better run municipalities by the DA do so because they continue to exclude black townships in their so called better service delivery. We don't have to go far for evidence of this, we just need to roam the streets of the townships of the Cape Flats.
The President has instructed us to ensure that the practice where South Africans deem it normal to pay bribes public servants and politicians to receive services that they are entitled to, should come to an end. I do not want to debate the broken window theory but the DPME working with DPSA will soon release a report on number of public servants dismissed on charges of bribes from the public services. We are committed to ensure that the fight against corruption and malfeasance remains blind and reiterate that the President has issued proclamations to the SIU to investigate allegations of corruption and malfeasance irrespective of whomever is alleged to be involved. The Presidency continues to work with the Minister of Justice, Constitutional Development and Correctional Services to insulate our law enforcement agencies against undue influences and interference as part of rebuilding an independent and robust justice system. As government, we understand the impatience of our people with the pace at which investigations and prosecutions take place but we must never forget that “the wheels of justice turn slowly but grind exceedingly fine".
We have committed to building an ethical state, which has zero tolerance to corruption. In November 2020 Cabinet adopted the National Anti-Corruption Strategy which seeks to ensure that all sectors of society work together in the fight against corruption. In this regard, I am working closely with the Minister of Justice, Constitutional Development and Correctional Services, Mr Lamola, to implement institutional arrangements as proposed by this strategy as announced by the President in the 2021 SONA.
The National anti-Corruption Strategy has six pillars, namely (1) Promote and encourage active citizenry, whistleblowing, integrity and transparency in all spheres of society; (2) Advance the professionalisation of employees to optimise their contribution to create corruption-free workplaces; (3) Enhance governance, oversight and consequence management in organisations; (4) Improve the integrity and credibility of the public procurement system; (5) Strengthen the resourcing, coordination, transnational cooperation, performance, accountability and independence of dedicated anti-corruption agencies; and (6) Protect vulnerable sectors that are most prone to corruption and unethical practices with effective risk management.
Within government, we have started to implement aspects on the NACS by introducing measures to prevent corruption in the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines. This effort is coordinated under the Inter-Ministerial Committee, which is led and chaired by His Excellency Deputy President DD Mabuza.
In order to protect the integrity of national Covid-19 vaccine roll out, we have taken the lead in developing a proactive multi-stakeholder response to identify and mitigate against corruption risks. We have done this by bringing together a wide range of organisations and capacities to identify and mitigate against corruption risks across the vaccine roll out value chain – from procurement, distribution and storage to vaccine administration.
This response draws on a dynamic platform made up of a diversity of skills, capacities and perspectives to identify risks and proactively strengthen mitigations to corruption-related risks, as part of the broader risk management response.
This Corruption Risk Mitigation Plan is supported and implemented by a large number of organisations both inside and outside government. These include the Special Investigating Unit, Department of Heath's anti-corruption unit, the National Treasury's Chief Procurement Officer, the South African Police Service, the South African Revenue Service, the Public Service Commission's National Anti-Corruption Hotline, the Presidential Hotline and the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa.
In addition, the process draws on the work of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, the Auditor General of SA, the Chief State Law Advisor.
To date this process has resulted in the strengthening of a range of mitigations to risks identified in the vaccine roll out. We are confident that we will protect this vital national effort from the threat of corruption.
The fact that the SIU is investigating the allegations of corruption related to the PPE procurement and Digital Vibes contracts point to our commitment to fight against corruption. We recognises that the prevention, detection and prosecution of corruption goes beyond law enforcement, requiring the activation of capacities and systems across government and the broader society.
To you Mr. President, do not lose heart because of the unfair criticisms on your work, your ancestors Masingo have taught you, “mutshimbidza vhusiku ndi mu tenda lotsha", in any case mutonda Venda, muvhuya ndi o faho.
The indicative funding between 2021 and 2025 amounts to R2 428 364 (Two billion, four hundred and twenty eight million, three hundred and sixty four thousand rands). The allocation per anum for four years has been outlined below per Economic Classification:
I thank you
Ndi khou livhuha