Governance and Administration Cluster: Briefing on Programme of Action 2009
11 Nov 2009
Presenter: Hon. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Home Affairs
Panellists: media briefing by Minister of Home Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma; Richard Baloyi, Minister of Public Service and Administration; Sicelo Shiceka, Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs; Richard Levine, Director-General (DG) of Public Service and Administration
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Home Affairs presented the key issues arising from the first Progress Report on the implementation of government's Programme of Action (PoA).
Several initiatives were in progress, which included the implementation of a robust counter-corruption strategy and the mounting of a campaign aimed at encouraging South Africans to value their identity and protect their citizenship. In addition a campaign was launched to accelerate birth registration and access to identity documents at the qualifying age, by all bona fide South Africans.
The Minister commented, in detail, on the management of immigration. The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) was nearing completion of the restructuring of national government and would have addressed the creation of new, split departments and the transfers of certain functions. The Minister reported that the successful conclusion of the Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) negotiations and salary adjustments heralded a new and positive era in the relationship between employer and unions. A Public Sector Summit was planned for 2010. She also briefed the media on the Public Service Anti-corruption Strategy and the Public Sector Anti-corruption Capacity Building Programme.
The Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (Palama) would partner with National Treasury in the redesign of the Standard Charter of Accounts to improve audit performance across government.
The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) had initiated a series of countrywide assessments of local government across all the provinces. A national consolidated report was then compiled on the current state of local government in 2009 – the State of Local Government Report. The report informed an intergovernmental recovery plan: the Local Government Turnaround Strategy.
One of the key projects of the 2009 PoA was Operation Clean Audit 2014 which was launched in July 2009. The Revenue Enhancement, Debt Collection and Public Mobilisation Campaign was also one of the special projects in the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
[Note: Unedited transcript]
Journalist: In the bringing in scarce skills, there have been a number of programmes before that have had that as their aim so what will be different about this one. Are you going to set quotas again, or are there already quotas. In the past there appeared to have been a focus on bringing in skills from other countries other than G7, would there be any stated preference for any particular region of the world to bring these skills from?
Journalist: To Minister Baloyi, in the statement is says that you are putting finishing touches to the changes in the reconfigured administration, can you give more details on that. I want to ask about the allocation of functions to the Economic Development Department. Can you explain that?
Journalist: On SAFM this morning the Acting DG of Public Works complained that the Minister had appointed a consulting firm and put out a tender when he was not supposed to and that lead to a serious clash between them and he is the CEO and was eventually removed as Acting DG.
He claims the Minister went over his power and what is required of him by law. I was wondering whether the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) was informed of this and what do you understand about the role of the Minister in this whole debacle? I noticed that the performance and monitoring, Mr. Colins Chabane's department, is also here in this cluster, but I don't see anybody from Performance and Monitoring. What is happening with the issue of performance appraisals of Ministers, have those been done. The President said they will be done by July, Have you been appraised and do you want to share your scores with us?
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma: On the question of scarce skills, as I said I located this in the broader Immigration Policy because we think we should have a policy that really is welcoming to South Africa. The paradigm must shift from us wanting to keep everybody out and allowing a few exceptions. We should be a country that's welcoming to people coming into South Africa. We are a country that wants to develop our tourism industry. If we are going to develop our tourism industry we can't have a paradigm that says we keep everybody out and allow a few exceptions.
If we are going to be getting scarce skills for accelerating our Economic Development we should also be welcoming. I'll say for instance at the moment people who come to ask scarce skills, they tend to be given a permit for 1yr and then they have to renew it all the time. Our view is that that's not good enough because a person wants to have some certainty over a period of time about what's going to happen if the go to a new country to work there. So if there is a scarce skill that's being recruited we should be able to give them maybe a 5tyr period to work so that there is stability in their lives and there is also certainty about what's going to happen.
If we are going to be looking at students that are coming to study here either graduate or post graduate we should be able to give them their permits at their country of origin instead of getting them here and letting them run around looking for permits instead of concentrating on their studies. So it's all issues like those and in terms of recruiting scarce skills from particular countries, we have not decided that there are particular countries that are going to be earmarked for exclusion that is not the case.
In terms of performance appraisals, it will be very difficult for the President to appoint us in May and appraise us in June or July, I'm not sure that would have been visible. But I haven't seen any. What is being done is identifying from the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) they key performance areas and then looking at what could be measured in those key performance areas. If there is one key performance areas then you work a number of issues that will be looked at whether it's in education, you look at various areas that will then be used as a criteria for coming with whatever score you come up with.
You can't just wake up and say this is the score you are getting, it must have been worked out. The way I interpret it is not that it's purely performance for the Minister but its whether we are indeed delivering the service that we are supposed to deliver to our people. That's why it's based on those MTSF and its based on what it is that we are looking at in terms of service delivery in a particular Department and therefore can we say that Department is really delivering. I think a Minister is as good as his or her Department and what the output of that Department is.
Richard Baloyi [Minister of Public Service and Administration: As the Minister of Home Affairs has indicated, we are may talk to the extent of the development of the framework and the development of the agreement in terms of MTSF. It would not have been possible up to this stage to say you have been performance assessed. Given that you are moving from an arrangement where the reconfiguration is one of the questions that one is going to deal with, the reconfiguration of government departments has been one of the issues that we needed to deal with. We are in at advanced stage in terms of tying up the performance areas with the ministerial performance evaluation in terms of the strategy focus of respective ministries and departments as the Minister has indicated.
If I were to talk about the question on the reconfiguration where we are saying that we are busy with finishing touches; after the pronouncement of the reconfiguration of government departments, the splitting, we needed to then take the first steps, being to create a legislative environment that establishes and prepares to de-establish in terms of Departments that will cease to exist like the Department of Education.
We now have a Department of Basic Education and a Department of Higher Education. These Departments exist in terms of the legislation; you need to work towards that. The proclamation has been done, the issues around allocating functions and details has been done. The issue of having to then take forward those functions, you then say how you get this department organised.
You must have an organisational structure what we call an organogram. With some of the Departments we have already finalised that but with others we are still working on that. These are the final stages that we are talking about when we say we are at finishing stages. You specifically asked about economic development, the Director-General will come to that in terms of exactly where we are but generally in terms of what we are doing that is the finishing touches that we are doing in terms of finalising the organisational development. There are areas where functions split.
You will have to look at what point do you say this goes to the other one. At one point do you say it goes to this one? Take for instance skills development, if you then say the Sector Education and Training Authorities that we have because of this reconfiguration to be moving the one part of that from Labour to Higher Education. The issue is in terms of skills development, from what point are you talking about, those are the final touches that we are dealing with. The issue around the what is reported in the media in as far as Public Works is concerned, I think it's a very fresh issue that maybe we need to look at the whole issue before we say something.
We would like to get a proper understanding with the Minister of Public Works as to what is happening in that regard. We are not in a position to say how far as DPSA we are abreast of what is happening. In connection with the performance appraisals, I wish we were appraised at the moment, but I will confirm that, but we're not yet there.
Richard Levin [Director General for Public Service & Administration]: I think at a process level that we worked with the officials from the Ministry of Economic Development in identifying the functions for the portfolio and we broke down those functions we established an organogram and the Minister for Economic Development concurred with that and it was submitted with the Minister for Public Service and Administration who approved it.
But I think in terms of the details it would be more appropriate to talk to that Minister because there are certain functions that were identified which overlap with other departments so there are obviously discussions going on between the Minister and those relevant Departments and entities as well what we would call public entities. That would lead to the finalisation of that particular organogram and as you know funding has been allocated to the Minister to get things moving. I think those details would be more appropriately discussed with the Minister concerned.
Journalist: Minister Baloyi, I understand from the briefing yesterday that the Single Public Service Act will be coming to Parliament in the early new year. Has there been any change from the original draft and do you expect any constitutional opposition from the Democratic Alliance and the Cape Town province? That level, thank you.
Journalist: We know you have inherited a department that was full of problems but maybe you could just outline the extent of those problems, given that you said it could take another two to three years to get a clear audit. Because I think people would like to know if it will take that long for things to start running smoothly for them when they go to Home Affairs. Thanks.
Journalist: I just wondered what the ethics in anti corruption training entailed?
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma: I think let's be very clear that we are not saying it's going to take two years for things to run smoothly for the people who go to Home Affairs. A clean audit is about financial management, so I think people at Home Affairs are beginning to see some improvement. The problems about the audit is that our qualified audits really was around three main issues. The first issue is the reconciliation of revenue that is collected because as you know Home Affairs is one of the departments who collects revenue from the public.
The reconciliation of that revenue with a service provider - what was happening [was] that you would get revenue but this revenue does not say exactly there were three passport reissued then there is so much money for that, there was five passports applied for and this is the money for that, there was a request for a duplicate birth certificate and this is the money for that, there was just revenue collected and banked without reconciling it with a service provided.
And that's a major challenge because this happens in over 500 offices across the country, so it's not like we are talking about one or two centres and that is why I am saying it might take some time to get all those people who work them getting into the habit of reconciling every day what revenue they have collected with what services requested. The second area, major area, was asset management - if we have so many offices you can imagine how many assets we have because a chair is an asset, a picture on the wall is an asset.
So the assets register was completed okay but the problem is you have to manage the assets. If one asset is moved from one office to another there should be someone who keeps track of those assets. I think what we are proposing is that in every office there must be an asset manager because to try and have an asset manager who is in a central place managing us who is across the country is not feasible.
So in my office there must be somebody who manages those assets so that they keep track of them and in the Deputy Minister's office and in every office in every regional and local office so that it's easy to manage those assets to know what have happened to those assets. Of course, the other part of the assets is the depreciation of those assets because we have to keep track of the depreciation which is important at Home Affairs because if a machine is depreciation and nobody is keeping track of that the next thing it will collapse and we would not have made arrangements that in three years time this needs to be replaced, so those are the sort of things that are challenges at the moment.
And of course, the other major part of our qualification was not really a problem of Home Affairs, it's a Who Am I Online tender issue which was issued by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and we were just told that this is the recommended company as Home Affairs and we were told the procedure were followed, so we issued the tender and started doing the work; but the Auditor-General picked up irregularities in terms of that tender process. Because we are the ones spending money on that tender he is calling it irregular expenditure but it was not within our control those irregularities happened elsewhere and SITA does not reside with us.
Of course it resides with this cluster but not with Home Affairs. So those are the major challenges in terms of financial management and we need to get a good supply chain, processes and management. So these are not small areas they are big areas that is why I am not promising it will be solved tomorrow. Thank you.
Richard Baloyi: Let me start to say on angle of then saying as a cluster, as the Minister has indicated on issues where you find some entities or departments in our cluster dealing with issues like in particular the issue about Home Affairs, SITA and the Who Am I Online issue. We are actually looking at what the Auditor-General (AG) raised in the report, which is a public issue, to then say issues around SITA managed the implementation of their own procurement prescripts. But as the Minister has indicated, the final and that became the entry point of Home Affairs into the project being the issue of communication to say we have done our best in terms of assisting this company.
We are investigated that and will come out in response to the AG's report in terms of what is going on and of course as a cluster it becomes and inter cluster issue as a cluster and together with the other departments we are working on how best we reposition some of these issues. On the question raised by Business Day it is true that the issue around the Single Public Service as we said during our debate, that the debate on the Single Public Service is not a dead debate it's continuing.
We have committed ourselves because you would remember a Bill was tabled in Parliament but it was tabled at a point there was not enough time for Parliament to process that because we were preparing for elections. And as a requirement by rules of Parliament that you don't allow bills to cross terms because we at the end of the term we had to manage the Bill when the new terms come in you resubmit them. So we are in a new term, we have committed ourselves that by the end of the financial year the legislative process would start around March.
We are still committed to that position to say the legislative process must take place. As you know it's a resubmission - when you resubmit you then look at a situation of how far do you go; do you just start where you have ended. The resubmission also gives us time to attend to some other things, I mean the issues that were raised by stakeholders, some of which would not have enough time to process. That takes us to the question as to whether there will be any changes in the Bill as it is. We believe in a democratic process we believe in engaging stakeholders. When we resubmit we are not saying we close out if there are South Africans who still want to pronounce and say this is what we think.
So through stakeholder consultations at the Cabinet level we will give through all the stages back to National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) and through the processes of a public participation when the Bill will be at the stage of Parliament, South Africans will have a right to raise issues as our legislative participation process is governed, so there may be changes in terms of the Bill as it is. You will remember when we tabled this Bill last year in June we have actually gone through so many changes. It started as a Single Public Service Act, even the title was Single Public Service Act, but when we tabled it in June we referred to the Bill as the Public Administration Management Bill because there is a difference.
We still referred to the debate as a Single Public Service because it introduces a dispensation, a dispensation where you then say you want to be able to provide a similar public service [to] facilitate mobility across the spheres. As to do that whether you strengthen your public administration or you do that as you talk of single level, so there will be possibilities of some changes, we are saying our democracy will give space for that. The question is whether there will be any constitutional challenge; you see for us we don't start there, democracy first give space for people to contribute.
When you have exhausted the democratic processes in terms of consultations and South Africans feel that their views have not been heard sufficiently, understanding that hearing their views doesn't mean going with it, depends on how influential people are going to be in their participations. So we will encourage South Africans to ready themselves to participate; we will listen so that they don't just ready themselves to go for constitutional challenges, but at the end of the day if that becomes an issue it's an issue that our democracy creates space for that but what we can assure South Africans that their voices will be heard.
At the moment we are saying our target is that by March we will be having a situation where we then say the legislative process is officially started; we will be calling on South Africans through their political structures to be consolidating their views.
The next question is on ethics and anti-corruption training, what does it entail. Quite a number of issues, but one may summarise that into three. It entails issues around awareness, around the costs, around internalisation. If I am to talk about issues around awareness, the ethics and anti-corruption training put at the mainstream, issues around first clarification, what do mean when you talk of ethics and anti-corruption at the public sector level, what exactly you mean.
You need to get to a situation where this training becomes part of a campaign, it's an awareness drive to make it a point that when we talk about this thing we know that we are talking about a common understanding definition. What is the common manifestation of corruption, because if you have to work on anti-corruption, it means you are taking steps to fight corruption? You need to then look at what is the common manifestation. But also on awareness, we are looking at a situation as to what instruments for ethics management and for anti-corruption as a country have we developed.
We have the Anti-corruption Act; we have the Public Service Anti-corruption Strategy. You have the issues around people having, if these things happen, what is the role that South Africans may have to play through our protected disclosures act which gives the opportunity for whistle blowers to rise and say I see some action or symptoms of corruption in this industry. You need to get your public servants to understand that those instruments are there. And this instrument awareness on the one part also becomes a recourse mechanism, then say what it is that you need to do when you see actions like that. What protection do you have against victimisation if you raise issues related to anti-corruption?
When you talk about the issue of internalisation which the training comes at the final stage, you are actually internalised the obligation to work towards fighting corruption, towards ensuring that you support the ethical conduct. When you talk about ethical conduct, the awareness part of it will say it starts with your code of conduct. These are the three main areas, it's intended to make sure that it instils into the minds of our public servants and South Africans.
Journalist: From the time that the Bill was tabled last year and the one that's being tabled next year, what kind of changes at least the areas where you have been able to use the opportunity of this extra time to adapt the Bill to take into account stakeholder views. Perhaps you can just clarify in what manner it has been changed.
Richard Baloyi: I wish at this stage one would know what South Africans will say during the public participation process. One would then be in a position to say definitely this is the areas we need to look at. What we can then say now, the issue is what the questions out there are. Whether there will be changes or not, it's the issue as to what persons are there. There are people who are saying the single public services are all about centralisation. Some even go to the extent of saying it means even knocking down in terms of the three spheres disestablish some spheres and end up with one sphere. Some are saying you are going through an amendment of the Constitution. These are some of the issues we are responding to.
The debate is not about centralisation but it's an issue of creating a harmonious environment, creating space for what we refer to as sayings of public service. It may be more of clarity on some areas where you find that the clarity may actually not result in a situation where people may not even suggest areas of change. Let's say it's a bridge we will cross when we get there.
Journalist: Is the fact that there is yet another turnaround strategy for local government a vision that Operation Consolidate has failed? In this turnaround strategy are you going to address the issue of massive salaries and bonuses for town councillors and municipal managers?
Journalist: The report that assessed the state of Local Government talked about the problem of political deployment, the one suggestion was that it should be scrapped. I know there is discussion about this within the ruling party. What other ideas are put forward to mange this thing properly.
Journalist: The municipal debt is running at over R50 billion, with the current recession and people losing their jobs, do you think this is recoverable especially the historical debt. Would you get to a stage where your Department advises some of these municipalities especially the ones that are financially viable to begin scrapping writing of some of this historical debt which it doesn't seem easy to recover? Recently you talked about a number of changes that you would like to see for example councillors being paid the same level as MPs. All the elections being merged, no longer Local Government standing on its own.
Have you made any progress there, have you discussed this in Cabinet. Are you making any legislative changes with regards to these issues?
Journalist: Yesterday in the Portfolio Committee you mentioned a new campaign the User Pay; can you give more information on that? About a week ago you said in a parliamentary reply that State Departments owe municipalities R2,4 billion. Can you tell us what's happening with that, are you getting the money?
Journalist: Where are we with the issue of smart card ideas? Have you abandoned it? Have we had any feedback on the conference we had in Khayelitsha a few weeks ago?
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma: We have not abandoned the smartcard, we were let down by SITA again. Their tender process went astray, it had to be stopped, and we have to now rethink about who is going to run this tender for us. We still want the smartcard but the tender process was stopped at SITA. We are discussing with Treasury now whether we should look at a different route.
Sicelo Shiceka [Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs]: The issues on the campaign, that Project Consolidate, if you would recall, that project ran its course entirely in a sense that it was a two year programme which was taken from 2004 to 2006. After elections another programme was established called a Five Year Local Government Agenda, these Agenda programme was aimed at from 2006 to 2011.
What has happened then is that having borrowed from the lesson of the two, we are changing direction. The change of gear is that we had to go to the ground and gather information that tells us what the state of Local Government in South Africa is. That information was real time information not something that people right and tries to impress. Those reports were consulted with all people affected and interested at a local government level in terms of the civil society and also people who are in municipalities. Having analysed all that we are saying it can't be business as usual; there are things that must be changed and things that must be continued with.
That is why we are embarking on a turnaround strategy which is something that's going to be mass driven. We want South Africans to be involved in their municipalities, there must be no gate keeping, everyone who wants to contribute must come to the party. Our slogan says Local Government is everyone's business and we want to stick to that. By December the strategy will be ready passed by Cabinet, next year between January to March we want to take those strategies to customise them to each and every local municipality to be able to drive that. Additional to that we want all national government departments, all provincial government departments, all state owned enterprises to present their projects and plans into that.
We are saying the Independent Development Plan (IDP) is going to be strengthened; it means every programme that must happen must be within the IDP. And that is what we have been having a weakness on that people come and deliver service on the ground. You find that in some areas people build clinics without roads to the clinic, lack of coordination. Sometimes schools and a lot of infrastructure investment because internal roads are a responsibility of a municipality.
Now it is obligatory that it's able to offer those services. We are saying anything that you put on the ground must be in the IDP; this strategy is aimed at mobilising the communities in terms of the wards. So that we are able to close the gap in the social distance between the people and local government., We have 3 890 wards in South Africa, we are going to have a massive campaign where we are going to get the needs of the people and link them to the other spheres of government.
By June we are going to be adopting the Budget in all municipalities to line the implementation of this programme happens very clear; August and September we are going to call everybody to go and report back to the wards what has been approved on this strategy. It's a very comprehensive strategy that is going to involving the people. Now the issues of resourcing - there is no doubt in my mind that Local Government is not properly resourced, is not properly financed.
The concept of Local Government is that they raised 95% of their own revenue; as we speak almost 40% of that revenue is on grants. The tax base of municipalities declined, has gone down; it means then you must change the approach. We are discussing with Treasury, we are meeting on Monday to say that the funding of Local Government has been reviewed to ensure if you say it's important you can't continue funding in the way it is. That discussion is coming out very strongly. The resourcing of councillors, what I've risen, which I was sharing the views of the people, that you must look at a situation where councillors are resourced according to the work that they do.
Councillors spend a lot of time doing the work; sometimes when we go toward councillors they work 24 hours seven days a week because they need to be social workers, they are made to be health experts, if there is any issue people come to the ward councillors and they want to get things. We have been conducting a study, a real time thing that is going to be looking at the role of the councillor, what amount of time that is put and also the resources are there, but clearly in my mind I still believe that the capacitating of the structures and the tools of the trade are not enough. You find that councillors use their homes as an office; when these councillors have problems, their offices are burned, their homes are burned, no insurance that looks after those councillors while they are doing the duty of government. Those things need to be changed and we have to turn local government on its head if we want it to be where it is and we are going to do exactly that.
What we are clear about is that people who are not performing and they get performance bonus - that has to be stopped. We must make sure people earn their money. We are putting a lot of areas where we think performance was measured, amongst them is the management of finances. These things of getting disclaimers and advice opinions but you still pay bonuses - we are saying that are going to change, it's going to be part of what we are going to measure the performance of the leadership.
On the issues of a debt - the debt we are still discussing it, we still want to know who is owing who in the process and we will be presenting a report to Cabinet by December where we will be telling the nation what is the state and what is going to happen. What we are very clear about is that Government must pay if it owes municipalities. Each task in terms of Section 152 and 154 of the constitution says we must support local government you can't have a situation where Government is not able to do so. From our point of view we have to work together to ensure that municipalities are capacitated and that is what one would say when one has to conclude this, but I'm very excited about this local government turn around and municipalities are going to be different when we reach 2014.
We are saying people who are using a service, must pay for the service, that is why we have that slogan You Use Your Pay and we will be unveiling the campaign at the right time once it has been passed through Cabinet and South Africans will know in detail what is going to happen.
Richard Baloyi: We promised in our Budget vote debate that we will come and table a turnaround strategy in as far as strengthening that; I think as the Minister has indicated the debate that is going on. We are going to do that and we will definitely be in a position to do that.
Journalist: A question for the Home Affairs Minister. What is the latest estimate by your Department of the number of people living and working in South Africa illegally?
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma: I don't know if somebody is here illegally, how I know they are here, I don't know.
Journalist: May I follow up? There have been numerous reports over the past years of illegal immigrants, people coming into the country and living and working here. Has your Department absolutely no estimate of these numbers?
Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma: No we don't. What I can tell you is that between 2008 and 2009 there were about 110 000 applications for asylum. Only 10 000 were agreed to as genuine asylum seekers and those would have been given their refugee status. The rest would have had to leave by either deportation or voluntarily. Those are the figures for last year. But as for those who turn up at our offices either as asylum seekers or permit seekers, it's very difficult that I can give you a figure.
Statement by Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Home Affairs and Chairperson of the Governance and Administration Cluster, on the occasion of the cluster media briefing, Imbizo Media Centre, Cape Town
12 November 2009
Panellists: media briefing by Minister of Home Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma; Richard Baloyi, Minister of Public Service and Administration; Sicelo Shiceka, Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs; Richard Levine, Director-General (DG) of Public Service and Administration
Members of the media
As Chairperson of the Ministerial Cluster on Governance and Administration it is indeed my pleasure to welcome you to this media briefing. The core members of this cluster includes Minister of Public Service and Administration (Richard Baloyi), Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Sicelo Shiceka), Justice and Constitutional Development (Jeff Radebe) Pravin Gordhan (Finance) and Collins Chabane (The Presidency: Performance Monitoring, Evaluation and Administration).
The purpose of this media briefing is to present key issues arising from the first Progress Report on the implementation of government's Programme of Action (PoA), which was presented to the Governance and Administration Cabinet Committee on 27 October 2009.
As you are aware, the Presidency announced the re-configuration of the Ministerial Clusters on 19 October 2009. The reconfiguration is aimed at improving coordination within government to enhance service delivery. In this regard, the reconfigured Governance and Administration Ministerial Cluster is now composed of Home Affairs (Chair), Public Service and Administration (Deputy Chair), Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Justice and Constitutional Development, Finance and The Presidency: Performance Monitoring, Evaluation and Administration.
The main functions of the Governance and Administration Ministerial Cluster are to ensure alignment of government-wide priorities; facilitate and monitor the implementation of priority programmes; and provide a consultative platform on cross-cutting issues and priorities for discussion at Cabinet level.
Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the cluster, I now take the opportunity to brief you on our Programme of Action. The Department of Home Affairs recently briefed Cabinet on the progress it was making and challenges it was facing in the execution of its mandate. This secured Cabinet support for the strategic direction the department is pursuing and policy options it is considering.
In essence, Home Affairs is being positioned as a strategic enabler in the government's national development programme. As a custodian of the citizens' identity records, the department has a crucial role in ensuring their protection from identity theft.
As part of the department's transformation programme, several initiatives are currently in progress. These include, among others, the implementation of a robust counter-corruption strategy; the mounting of a campaign aimed at encouraging South Africans to value their identity and protect their citizenship. In this regard, a campaign has already begun to accelerate birth registration by all bona fide South Africans and to obtain identity documents at the qualifying age.
With respect to the management of immigration, a discussion document is being developed with the view to formulating policy and proposing legislation on the separation of economic migrants from genuine asylum seekers. Permitting, through which the legal status of specific categories of immigrants is regulated, will also be reviewed to create a conducive environment for foreign investment in the economy and the attraction of scarce skills.
The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) is nearing completion of the restructuring of national government. You will be aware that new departments have been created, departments have split and in certain cases functions are being transferred from one department to another. The changes have already been institutionalised within the system of government, and only finishing touches are required in most cases.
Organisational structures for new and reconfigured departments have been developed. Most departments have already made requests for determinations by the Minister for the Public Service and Administration (MPSA) to formalise the transfer of functions. In the case of the splitting of Mineral Resources and Energy and of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, this process has been completed.
The determination of the MPSA regarding the allocation of functions to the Economic Development Department has been obtained. Organisational structures have been developed for the Ministry of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, and the Ministries of National Strategic Planning and Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency.
The implementation of Occupation Specific Dispensations (OSDs) has not been without challenges, in particular relating to correct interpretations and application of dispensations when implementation takes place. These have been resolved for the most part. The successful conclusion of the OSD negotiations and salary adjustments has heralded a new and positive era in the relationship between employer and unions. A Public Sector Summit is planned for next year.
In terms of the Public Service Anti-corruption Strategy, ethics training is one of the requirements for preventing corruption in the public service. R20 million has been secured from the Canadian International Development Agency to conduct anti-corruption training over a period of five years.
The Public Sector Anti-corruption Capacity Building Programme consists of three distinct courses, namely: training programme for general employees, training programme for anti-corruption practitioners and training programme for law enforcement officials. Through the Public Administration Leadership and
Palama is partnering with National Treasury in the redesign of the Standard Charter of Accounts to improve audit performance across government. Palama will continue to provide accredited Anti-corruption training for public servants. In response to growing concerns over the state of local government in the country, as evidenced by increasing community protests and poor performance of administrations and councils at municipal level, the Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) initiated a series of country-wide assessments of local government across all the provinces between April and August 2009.
These interactive assessments were jointly conducted by national COGTA and members of provincial departments, often led by the responsible MEC for Local Government. The MEC and his or her Executive Committee then validated the individual provincial reports on the state of local government within the province.
A national consolidated report was then compiled which addressed the question of what was the current state of local government in 2009. From this Report an overview was developed – the State of
The report informs an intergovernmental recovery plan, the Local Government Turnaround Strategy. The Report and Turnaround Strategy were discussed at the Local Government Indaba, 21 to 22 October 2009, organised by COGTA, hosted by the Minister, and attended by a broad range of stakeholders representing the three spheres of government as well as other relevant role-players from civil society, traditional leaders, the private sector, academia and NGOs. Both the Report and the Turnaround Strategy will be submitted for Cabinet approval by early December 2009.
The Turnaround Strategy will be discussed at municipal level between January to March 2010. Guided by provinces, municipalities will craft local area turn-around strategies that will be implemented into the municipal IDP and budgetary processes for 2010/2011.
An Intergovernmental Working Group comprising representatives of key national sector departments, provincial heads of department (HODs) responsible for Local Government and South African Local Government Association (Salga) has been established to finalise the draft Turnaround Strategy. A National Coordinating Committee comprising a wide range of stakeholders and experts will also be established to provide political oversight with regard to the implementation of the Turnaround Strategy.
Provinces and municipalities must also set up Municipal Turnaround Strategy Coordinating Committees to perform an oversight role. One of the key projects of the 2009 PoA is Operation Clean Audit 2014 which was launched on 16 July 2009. The main purpose is to address audit management challenges faced by both municipalities and provincial government departments, especially with regards to audit findings and queries from the Auditor-General, and to help them achieve clean audits by 2014.
Province-specific Operation Clean Audit Launches took place in the
A guiding framework for the establishment of provincial Operation Clean Audit Co-ordinating Committees was also developed and disseminated to all provinces to assist coordination between Offices of the Premier, Salga, departments responsible for Local Government, and Provincial Treasuries as well as other strategic partners. Provincial Operation Clean Audit Coordinating Committees have been established by the
The Revenue Enhancement, Debt Collection and Public Mobilisation Campaign are also one of the special projects in the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. A draft Debt Collection and Revenue Enhancement Strategy has been developed. A National Steering Committee on Debt collection and revenue enhancement comprising representatives from COGTA, provincial departments of COGTA, National Treasury, Salga and municipalities has been established to oversee the development and finalisation of the Strategy. The Debt Collection and Revenue Enhancement Strategy and Public Mobilisation Campaign will be discussed and submitted for adoption to the COGTA MinMec and Cabinet before the end of this year.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As is evident from this brief report, there is much work to be done.
All members of this cluster are committed to co-coordinating the work of our respective Departments in order to ensure an integrated approach to service delivery, governance that is aimed at improving government planning, decision making and the coordination of all government programmes at national, provincial and local government level.
The panel will now take questions.
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