Post SoNA Briefing by Ministers Trevor Manuel & Collins Chabane on Implementation of National Development Plan


19 Feb 2013


[This transcript is provided by GCIS]

Date: 19 February 2013 @ 11h00
Venue: Imbizo Centre, Cape Town
Remarks by Minister Trevor Manuel

Thank you very much. The briefing this morning is how to raise rabics. We want to provide some perspective that will feature in the course of today’s speeches in Parliament as well on the implementation of the NDP. What is very important about the National Development Plan is that it offers us perspective to 2030. It’s a destination that allows us to bring in different role-players in society. We have said repeatedly it is not a plan for Government but it needs a lot of Government leadership. The President in the Sona on Thursday evening touched on one very important part which has shaped the perspectives of the National Planning Commission and that relates to what we have defined as a decent standard of living. All of the elements the way in which they come together and you can look at those elements and engage with them. And if we don’t get that right and the ability of families who are exceedingly dependent on public services are actually not adequately dealt with. The work that we are doing now is focussed largely on those particular areas that don’t require lots of additional money. We think that if we change the quality of what happens in Government then we can actually get a lot, the returns are likely to be much better. So over the next few weeks there clearly will be an articulation of the alignment between issues such as the measurable objectives which will be published as part of the Budget Documentation on next Wednesday, on Budget Day the 27th. And as those issues unfold I think the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation will indicate exactly where those points of alignment are.

I think there is a broad message in what we are saying about the changes that are necessary to implement the National Development Plan and those changes are shaped largely by the fact that we need to focus on implementation. Not just broad policy debates any longer, we need to focus on implementation. Drive the changes and I think that together with the Ministry of Public Services and Administration there will be a discussion on reskilling public servants and ensuring that there are consequences for people who don’t do what is required of them.  The other issue is that we have to ensure that here is in the first instance an integration between the between the NDP and Government plans. You would have heard my colleague Minister Chabane say after the September Lekgotla that there will be an alignment and this alignment is being worked through now. I think that the issues largely are ensuring that the alignment is there and that the changes are made soon.

We also want to draw attention to the fact that we actually have a fair amount of information available, it is available to everybody. It isn’t being used as it should. I just want to utilise how we link up various things and one of the issues I wold like top draw attention to is the result of Census 2011. On the screen you will see access to services. You could go into say the Eastern Cape Province and you will find the Chris Hani Municipality and you could go into Inkwanca Municipality as a municipality within Chris Hani. You could look at a ward; you could see the availability of energy. You could go through the entire list, energy for cooking, availability of water, the source of water. You would also be able to find all the socio-economic indicators; I am doing this on my iPad. The Stats South Africa app is available for both the iPad and Android; it is also available for mobi platform. This information is available and clearly using this information is part of decision making and this is largely going to be our focus over the next period. So as people, as the expectations change because the information is available we clearly can focus on implementation differently. And as Government changes and demonstrates leadership it is going to be possible to draw the attention of the rest of society. Because the information that I am raising now which is available at ward level would be fundamentally important for shaping integrated development plans in municipalities. It is no longer the sole preserve of some consultancies, anybody and everybody has access to this information. So ensuring that we use the NDP to dynamize and energise our democracy, it is going to be fundamentally important.

There are implementation principals that we are working through and we want to raise with you today the first is the bred (sic) of ownership. We are sitting in a position now where I think without exception all parties who will be participating in this debate, all parties represented in Parliament, support the National Development Plan. In addition a large range of NGO’s have come out in support of the plan. The second is that we understand that there must be capacity building and it is not a once off, it needs to be continuous and the Ministry of Public Service and Administration has said that they will start in earnest now with reskilling the public service as part of that capacity building. Thirdly the job in the Presidency would be to assess a policy consistency and sometimes is a gladingly obvious and sometimes they present in little ways that we don’t always think of. One issue that has been spoken of time and again is the fact that the allocation of finance between the infrastructure in new residential areas and the allocation of money for the top structure isn’t always alike. So getting that kind of alignment right is going to be very important and then we would all like everything to be done but the ability to work through all of the plans of Departments and spheres of Government and focus on prioritizations is going to be the essence of what drives the implementation. But also because we are not talking about a one big cataclysmic announcement, I think it is going to be necessary to coordinate the actions and demonstrate it even where NGO’s are involved. So because we are talking of a plan over the next 17 years the financing issues are not going to be frontloaded. The budget I think I mean was, Cabinet adopted the plan on the 6th of September last year. The finalisation of decisions in the budget have to a large extend been effected but as we go forward there will be more detail financially.

So I am going to stop there and hand over to my colleague and we can deal with the issues that you raise in question time.

Remarks by Minister Collins Chabane

Thank you Minister. You would recall colleagues that in 2009 when we adopted the policy on Monitoring and Evaluation there was a broad statement there. We said, because the National Development Plan has not been adopted we will work within the confiance of the priorities as identified by the ruling party. And secondly that we are going to work with the issues which the prioritize had identify in the Medium Term Strategy Framework. And we made a point that once a plan is adopted we will have to realign all those issues to the work which we are doing including reviewing our outcomes and also the outputs which will be required for us to achieve those issues. We are in the process now of finalising or we have finalised the Implementation Framework of the Development Plan which we need to go through the various Government approvals. We hope by the end of this year, by the time the budget is being adopted for the next financial years most of the issues would have been included in the Budget Framework and the programs of department and national alignment and adjustments would have been made and will have an impact on the program of action and also the contents or outcomes which are supposed to be done. That will be done through proper sequencing and prioritisation of the issues which needs to be started with and or either aspect which are likely to have, to lay the foundation for the broader implementation of the plan. The plan will then be broken up into 5 years which will be aligned to the electoral cycle. That is meant amongst other things because as you know as parties go to elections they identify their own priorities in their manifestos and so on. So they will have the opportunity and now that they have agreed to the development to see how they are going to utilise the Development Plan to identify things which they think will make us achieve what has been agreed on.

However for those aspects of the (unclear) additional resources or shift of large parts of resources will begin with now, especially those issues which are (unclear) we will start working on them now. Issues (unclear), we will start working on them. The Public Service Department is also working on the issue of the Reform of the Public Service and quite a number of other aspects by various Departments are being to be effected in. But I think the cycle of factoring in everything else for the next Medium Term Strategic Framework will only happen and conclusively around July. There is a lot of negotiations and talking which needs to be den with various implementing agencies within Government, departments, provinces and municipalities to ensure that all of us are aligned to the National Development Plan so that we are able to achieve what has been identified as the critical issues which the national would have to forge ahead to get to.

Questions and Answers [This transcript is provided by GCIS]

Journalist: I would like to know if you can point us to some of the examples within the National Development Plan that will need Government to take them serious or some tough decisions in terms of implementation even if it doesn’t necessarily will fall into the will of most of the constituencies of Government. Can you point to some of that for us please?

Journalist: Follow up particularly with provincial Government and the focus on education and health. How does that tie together with for example some of the changes that are underway like putting provincial and teaching hospitals under national administration? How much scope would there be for provinces also pertaining to the review of provinces. And given that most of the provinces this week are opening their own provincial legislature how much negotiations or discussions have happened in order to ensure what you talk here of improving quality of management and working to overcome weaknesses in procurement systems. Either Minister, I am in your hands.

Journalist: Ministers could you please elaborate on what will be involved in the reform of the public service. What exactly are you talking about, I mean we have had audits for the public service and we had discussions for some time. What is now the new plan?

Journalist: Question for Minister Manuel. Now that the National Development Plan has been expected in its entirety does it trump other policies where issues of policy disagreement are raised? And secondly can you just spin out what kind of capacity is needed in the Planning Commission to move on to the next stage, do you envision a bigger or smaller body, how is that going to work?

Minister Collins Chabane: Let me start by saying amongst other things in the Policy Document on Performance Monitoring and Evaluation. We made a statement there that we are moving towards evidence based policy making and did indicate that the results of the revaluation process might amongst other things identify policy gaps or policy inconsistency which may need to be reformed to be aligned to that. Now in the context of the National Development Plan obviously the National Development Plan would have lifted some of the issues which in terms of current policies might not be consistent with what is in the plan. It is the responsibility of State institutions responsible for that to try and make sure that we do align to that. Because if the proposals would need to, for the amendment of the Act you know processes how we proceed to try and amend the Act. So there is still a lot of work to be done to make sure there is a full implementation of the National Development Plan. With regards to the Public Service and the reforms of the public servants, you would recall that from time to time there have been discussions amongst other things not only about the conduct of the public service but also the structure. The President did announce in the State of the Nation Address that a team will be appointed to look at the remuneration or the incentives for the public service and if there will be value for money, is part of that process to try and make sure we have a capable which will be able to deliver on the services which are required. And the public service is the engine because it is in the driving seat to make that happen and therefore that is part of it. The second element you will remember that the Planning Commission’s Plan identified one of the issues as the management of the public service itself. How it should be structured from top to bottom and what the issues are which needs to be dealt with. You would need to have a lot of reform, you would know that currently we have the Public Service Commission, we have executing authorities which are Ministers which play a role, we have a The Presidency that play a role and the Public Service and Administration Department which plays a role, those things will have to be aligned. Cabinet has began to work on those issues already to make sure that at least there is reform which will make it easier to have professional public service which can be sustainable through the period of the implementation of the plan. I will allow Minister Manuel to deal with the rest of the issues.

Minister Trevor Manuel: Let me start with what Marion was raising. If you look at the Constitution, go to Schedule you will confirm that health services is a concurrent. In fact probably until about or thereabout tertiary hospitals were top sliced priority and they were all then managed nationally. There has been a breakdown, there is work in progress. I think that people will be aware of the fact that the Minister of Health has started a process to ensure that hospitals are actually managed by competent professionals. Now I know that at some times people see provinces as republics but there is a lot to be said for generalizing the experience. Some of the hospitals are exceedingly well managed and some aren’t. And so if you are able to deal with them as a group there are a number of issues that you would be able to do much better. I think that amongst the reforms that we would hold out for would be to try and replicate the experience of what happened with procurement in the health sector for instance. In the big recent acquisition of anti-retroviral drugs, because it was a centralised negotiation, for the first time in a very long time Government could use its buying power to negotiate price advantage. Now I think the same kinds of issues would apply to those facilities that tertiary hospitals have in common including a very heavy equipment load. We need to be able to ensure that we cannot just the procurement of top end equipment but also the maintenance managed as best we can. So those kinds of issues are entirely within the realm of the Constitution. And I think that we need the transparency to be able to manage it  through, in fact if anything amongst the reforms that we would argue for every strongly is significant reform of supply chain management. It is the Achilles heel of Government by any measure at the moment. And in a funny kind of way that too used to be very highly centralised through the State Tender Board in the endeavour to modernise the public service, I think we have actually allowed for all manner of bad tendencies to take route. So taking hold of that animal by the scruff supply chain management and being able to ensure that we have systems that are uniformed and compliant is going to be a fundamentally important public sector reform. But I think that as we deal with those issues it is also possible then to focus on how we get better returns for the amount of money we spend. The same kinds of issues arise, I mean it is not possible to centrally tender to put out a tender to build a few houses in Riviersonderend. But you need a framework that would guide quality and quantity and oversight, these kinds of issues are frequently absent, we need to get those in place. So those kinds of issues I think are broadly agreed, to the best of my knowledge in a number of these areas, the provinces are in fact on side. But what we will need is a way in which we can’t defuse best practise across all of the public sector and I think there will be certain advantages in that. And doing so without in any way diminishing the Constitutional powers of other spheres of Government would be part of the message.

Mike I think the question that you raised was answered by Minister Chabane. We say that there needs to be a focus on policy alignment. Now it is not a one day wonder, in fact my boss Khulekani Mathe who heads the Secretariat in the National Planning Commission reminds me all the time that we mustn’t focus on policy broadly defined. We need to focus on the issues of implementation. If you are going to do something, how are you going to do it, who is going to be accountable, what is it going to cost and what are the intra-measures in place? Now that calls for what may actually be described as a Public Sector Reform because those kinds of issues are not place. We make broad announcements and you have heard me in different forums say things like next week, part of what I have to do sitting in the benches in Parliament. When Pravin Gordhan has completed his  Budget Speech on Wednesday we all rise and we give him a standing ovation, we are all very happy that the issues that we would like to see in the Budget are in the Budget, but we don’t actually pay the same amount of attention to what happens in implementation. But what the plan is looking at is the implementation; you must accept the right and responsibility of Government agencies to take the decisions, to drive the policy. You have got to bring this together and design new accountability frameworks. This is where Performance Monitoring and Evaluation comes into play differently. As Minister Chabane says the new framework of performance agreement is there but as we take these issues forward we need to get high levels of (unclear) so that we actually understand what the money must buy. So you must have better alignment between the money allocated in a Budget, the performance agreement and the details set out in there and the way in which the money is reported as spent. So those become fundamentally important issues.

In respect of the last question Mike on the National Planning Commission, I think that we have started advertising for some positions in the Secretariat. The Commission itself will undertake different work in terms of previous decisions, as Cabinet we will be involved in discussions about implementation. But understand that the responsibility for implementation vests within Government, and then there would be some detailed work. And I think that you may well find Commission having to take on new kinds of expertise to do particular areas of work so it will morph from time to time. If we need to look at food, we will need skills that we may not have now. If we need to look at the public transport across the country it would be a different skills set. If we need to take forward some of the other issues articulated in the Green Paper including Defence, we will draw in the defence but we will also bring different skills both into the Commission and into the Secretariat. Thank you.

Journalist: Regarding the review of the public service and remuneration and these matters and arising from the elements in the National Development Plan regarding education, will this include a review of incentives for maths and science teachers in particular and any other changes to the incentivization of teaching in this country?

Journalist: Minister Manuel you talk about a significant reform that is needed in Supply Chain Management. I know that National Treasury is undertaking its own review of supply chain process through the State, and you also talk of perhaps maybe returning to centralise the tendering but of course you say you can’t do that with one or two houses. What sort of system would you like to see in place in terms of tendering especially for bigger contracts by the State?

Journalist: Just some more on the public service. In the plan, there are specific recommendations made about DG’s for instance should be appointed, there are a whole range of recommendations like that. Now to get an idea of how this implementation is actually going to work, what happens next? I mean, do you now go sit down with the Cabinet and say ok, or with DPS and say, ok, shall we change the process and now we have a negotiated process around how DG’s are appointed? Or because Cabinet has adopted the plan do we say ok, now DG’s will be appointed like this? I am just trying to get a sense of how you then actually make those alignments in policy with plan and what is actually happening at the moment.

Journalist: Slightly following up from that. The NDP does talk about professional civil service. We have heard in the past few years the civil public service, is that still on the cards in terms of the NDP? So far there have been moves towards it and not quite realised in terms of legalisation or amendments. And just a follow up to my colleague’s question, there are a number if DG’s positions that are vacant in Communications for example, Public Works have an Acting DG plus two DG’s on suspension for well over a year. I am not sure whether that is a case of not having heard the outcome of those disciplinary proceedings and in actual fact they have been wrapped up. We have issues in terms of accounting officers of the NPA, of the SIU, of Intelligence being filled in acting capacities. Is that a concern; is that something that we can see to be remedied quite quickly?

Journalist: Following again on Carol and Marion’s questions in terms of ensuring that skilled people are in critical positions within Government. Does that mean that if there is a skills audit done and you find that many people in critical posts have been deployed either through (unclear) or nepotism or what not, those people’s jobs will be under review? Or will they purely be up skilled? What do you plan to do with those people who have been improperly placed within Government and are hampering any development progress?

Minister Collins Chabane: With regard with the review of the incentive regime for public service. I think the President did go into details with regard to that and he said the first task of that team will be to look at the issue of educators. So whatever they will come and propose, whether you need to give more incentives (unclear) and teachers lets allow them to their jobs and to make proposals as to how they think that could be managed. But there is definitely a desire on the part of Government to ensure that not only do we have a proper remuneration incentive scheme but also it is value for money as the President has put it in his speech. That leads me to the issue of the filling of vacant posts at top management in the JCPS Cluster. I think the President made a commitment that the posts in the JCPS Cluster which deals with justice and security issues are going to receive priority, to be filled, so I think that is attended to. With regard to the vacant posts I think my records show me that Public Works has filled those posts. With regard to Communication my understanding is that there is a suspension not a vacant post so there is no vacant posts, there is still a process. And you would know that some of these issues once they arrive they take a bit of time to be concluded and therefore we have to allow those processes to be concluded before appointments are made. Once their disputes arose as a result of that.

With regard to the appointment systems of DG’s. Even before the National Planning Commission concluded its work in terms of the National Development Plan Cabinet has started a process arising out of the Performance Monitoring and Evacuation work when you look at the accountability processes with regard to accounting officers in the various departments. Already discussions had taken place with regard to reforms in that regard to ensure that we have a more coherent appointment and management system of HOD’s and that will need to be revised in the light of the conclusions of the National Planning Commission. But Cabinet already had moved a step further; it would be easier to implement the recommendations of the Planning Commission in the light of the decisions which have been made so far in that regard.

With regard to the shortage of critical skills. You would know that in the Department of Health for example the system to change the CEO’s of hospitals had started on various levels as part of dealing with that part where people had been appointed where they don’t have the skills or the competencies to handle that job., That is the work which will continue in the various aspects of the Government work that we try to deal with. It is a work which is ongoing in that regard. With regard to the first question which you had asked, what are the tough decisions which will have to be made; Minister Manuel will deal with that, he is much tougher than me. But one of the issues which need to be decided is that we have to accept, once we have prioritized, we have set priorities we have to accept that their need to be budget shifts. The Planning Commission do raise a matter that for us to deal with the challenges we are facing of unemployment, inequality and so on we will have to make tough choices. And part of the tough choices which are critical for us as a State to make. One is that we need to ensure that once the priorities have been set up and programs have been set up a lot of resources need to be shifted to investment to ensure that we create the necessary jobs and build the necessary skills which will be required. So there is likely to be a much stronger shift of resources than it would have been under normal circumstances. We did see bit of shift in the last years to try and satisfy the needs of priorities which have been set out but I think with the Development Plan being accepted now we have to move towards that direction.

Secondly the reforms in the public service will have to make us to think quite deeply as what type of positions will be required for us to be able to make a professional public service which is dedicated towards delivering the services as we envisaged in the plan. In that regard also there would likely be quite a number of decisions which will have to be made both by Government, unions and everybody else to ensure that this thing happen. And as you know this thing is a partnership program led by Government but all stakeholders and all sectors of society will have to play their part. So tough decisions are not only required on the part of the State, on part of civil society, on the part of labour, business and everyone else. So we think all of us will find a role to play in the various areas.

Minister Trevor Manuel: I would actually like to start with Paolo’s question on what happens in the public service. I am pretty convinced that Minister Sisulu is working hard at preparing to undertake very significantly from starting with that skill audit. Now it is a difficult issue because whilst we must work to get to maximum efficiencies in the shortest space of time it is not possible to act outside of the framework of law and that I think is a particularly difficulty. There are some areas and I will tie this into one of the issues that Mandy raises. I think we are pretty convinced as Cabinet that the idea that a public servant should be allowed to run businesses at all is a wrongful interpretation of the Constitution provision that people should have the right to have businesses. Because legislation can trump that and the legislation that should trump it is in fact the Public Service Act. And if there is any ambiguity it is our responsibility with Parliament to ensure that that ambiguity is erased. So in the first instance no public servants should be able to contract with Government qt all never mind in the Department where they work. I know that there is resoluteness about that and if there is a violation there has to be consequences and that word consequences is one that I hope we will hear more and more of as we work for implementation.

So the framework of law is fundamentally important. If somebody can’t meet a mission critical post then clearly it is in the interest of democracy that they are relieved of that responsibility, and that is something that we have to make a commitment on. What you can’t do is arrive one fine morning and I say Shawn what are you doing here I am dismissing you this instance; I don’t like the tie you are wearing. We have to ensure that labour legislation, Public Service Act applies but at the same time I think that we must demonstrate that we need a skill set to be able to drive change. The other part which should apply to everybody and I am hearing not just public servants but also Ministers will have to undergo reorientation. You know one of the things that we don’t do enough of in Government is to use evidence, to use data for taking decisions, and so there will have to be a lot of training and reskilling of people to ensure that the general skills competition of the public service changes as we proceed.

Carol your question about, I was worried Marion you say the civil public service, now I thought that they are all civil, maybe they are uncivil.

Journalist: (speaking off the mic)

Minister Trevor Manuel: On the way in which we work together I think we can say without fear of contradiction that we sit down and talk and sometimes you open a newspaper and see an announcement by a Minister you say, that’s good the implementation has started there. That’s fine, that is how the plan will be implemented, it’s not going to be Khulekani Mathe having press conferences everyday to say we have now directed that the Minister of Public Service and Administration shall do the following thing. There has got to be that initiative and I think at the end of it it’s important to understand the National Development Plan is a composite beyond Government but certainly Government leadership is going to be important in that regard. So there needs to be a lot of work and there is a lot of work to ensure alignment and we are capable of bouncing ideas off each other as we go.

Kyfus’ question about Supply Chain Management. I think one of the things I would like to do is leave some meat on the table for Minister Gordhan to speak to next week but it is one of the issues that is fundamentally important. I think that the, we are beyond the phase of analysis now, we must shift to action. Let me do that. Thanks

Journalist: What seems to be critical on this NDP is the implementation as you emphasised yourself. We have seen many Government projects not actually succeeding based on the issue of capacity. Are you confident that Government has the capacity to fulfil this project? Capacity includes human capital, financial resources and so on.

Journalist: Just on incentives for teachers. In the US a very similar structure was set up where teachers were incentivized for great results and study then showed that many teachers were inflating results and cheating. We have seen problems in the Eastern Cape with many schools having ghost teachers, to inflate funding for the school. Has this kind of thing been considered, would other incentives like more infrastructure for schools not be a better option. Is this a worry that we might see this kind of behaviour coming from teachers if they are remunerated in that kind of way?

Journalist: Above and beyond civil servants not doing business with Government, getting back to the tender issue. What changes would you like to see in tender procedure?

Journalist: Minister Manuel I want to ask about the, I don’t know what to call it, not the Youth Wage subsidy. Are you confident that, we still have to see it signed at Nedlac and so on but I think we have an idea of what it ential would? Are you confident it would be implemented in line with what the NDP recommends or where do you think it is going?

Journalist: One of the immediate questions I mean obviously one of the big things of the plan is to create jobs. One of the immediate questions facing the economy is the electricity price increases that are being proposed by Eskom. I know there is a Regulator and a process and so on but the plan did make comments on how the price should be managed or the investments of Eskom should be managed. Have you got any suggestions on how we should go forward with this issue now?

Minister Collins Chabane: With regard the capacity of the State to implement the National Development Plan. One of the issues which the National Development Plan has raised is the issue of building simultaneously as we build a plan that a capable State which is dependent much on the capacity of the missionary which we have to deliver. We have identified even before the National Development Plan that there is a great need for the skill upscale in the country in the various aspects not only on the public service but also in the economy of the country and that is why there is a focus also on building the skills levels of the South African workforce to make it more efficient and more skilled to be able to respond to the challenges of the new world. But apart from that critical to the implementation of the plan is the integration of the processes which we have and the coordination or the various actors in the play so that you don’t find people wanted to act on their own or institutions wanting to act on their own. Because if we do that tour possibility of achieving efficiently the targets of the plan won’t be possible. In the past 4 years we have been able to learn a lot of experience in getting Government Departments to work together. Working together with provinces and municipalities and other State Owned Institutions and also working together with the private sector in achieving some of the things we want to do. So the integration and the coordination of all the actions of those responsible would be important. And that is why if you see in the document which was distributed the role of The Presidency both the Performance Monitoring and Evaluation and also the Planning Commission, the role which needs to be played to ensure that we put the plans together and that we put the implementation and mechanisms in place. There need to be a coordinating centre which will be able to drive this. One of the lessons we are going to learn is through the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission which is coordinating the infrastructure implementation across Government and across Government horizontally and also across the spheres of Government. So we think that capacity will be build over time, we will have to build it incrementally. But we have to use what we have now we can’t wait to build capacity before we start implementation because if we do that we won’t learn the lessons of what it is that is possible and what is not possible for us to get that.

With regard to the possible inflation of incentives or results in order to get the higher incentive. Obviously every step you take there is a risk associated with it and in the processes of developing a plan a special implementation part of it you will have to identify those risks to see how to mitigate them. You know that as we stand now where we are we have built sufficient capacity to be able to provide sufficient data. In most of the areas we are still building data and Minister Manuel did refer to that, that we need to move to evidence based, and the availability of that and the various areas enables us to be able to track possibilities where there might be issues which may be a by-product of a good intention but you end up with something quote negative. We are in the process of implementation or dealing with the management practices in departments, we have learned a lot of experience there with regard to how to manage those types of issues. And we hope that as we go to that phase, if that incentive scheme along the lines you are proposing could be implemented we could at least have minimal capacity to be able to deal with those. But some of the things you learn as you go and you correct the problems and we will confront it as it comes. But I think we have the basic structure of knowledge now of how to deal with issues or to anticipate where there will be areas which can be a bit risky.

With regard to the Youth Incentive Scheme the address of the President indicated that we are at a point where there is an agreement at NEDLAC. You know that we have established NEDLAC to be able to negotiate and navigate all those issues which may be critical on the social partnerships which we have. The President did indicate that an accord is going to be signed amongst the partners or the constituent members of NEDLAC which will then give the details. We are confident that once that has been done then implementation will be able to take place.But I think during the course of the week you are going to have an interaction with the Economic Minister who will be getting into the details how that is going to work and what type of agreement has been reached and what are the problems, risks on whatever they can be able to deal with. They will be able to give the details in that regard including the implementation framework. Thank you

Minister Trevor Manuel: I just want to make a general point that it is very important that in communicating where we find ourselves in the wake of the State of the Nation Address things are not at a standstill. There is actually a lot that goes on in Government every single day. We are talking of adjusting and tweaking and changing the Accountability Frameworks for implementation. The point about capacity is a fundamentally important issue but it is not something you can assess once and knows that it is there. I think we would use the term continuous Capacity development because it needs to be continuous. And on then Budget Bongwe you know it is a very difficult period, you can only spend what you can raise in taxes and what you can borrow, that will be announced next week. But in broaden general terms this country hasn’t been short of financial resources to do things. We would say is that you don’t always get an adequate return on the money we spent, and you can’t just talk of programmes on top of. And I think that Performance Monitoring and Evaluation has undertaken the job with The Treasury to ensure that it is not just additional resources, it’s about changes the way in which resources are utilised because there is a fiscal constraint that is kicking in. That says you can’t just get money when you ask for it and there will have to be trade of structure. And I think that will largely be the spirit that takes us forward.

Paula let me just ad to what Minister Chabane said about teachers and Donald’s question as well. The President announced last week a new kind of remuneration panel. We have to evaluate the detail of this and I have no doubt that in dealing with these issues you will have to structure certain trade-offs. I read just a few days ago that the New Mexican President has made a big commitment to the upgrading of teacher remuneration and circumstance, but in exchange he has managed to secure external evaluation of teachers. Now the challenge that confronts us is not a uniquely South African problem, sure it has particular features in this country but it is not a uniquely South African and I think that the way in which that compact in education will be revealed in Mexico might role out certain opportunities for us to look at these issues

Jan Jan, I said to Kyfus I want to leave something on the table for the Minister of Finance to deal with. I am saying that we need significant reform, that you can’t have a once size fits all. That some of the decisions need to be vested where the resources are available. We would propose as the Planning Commission that in terms of a number of issues there in fact be an asymmetry of 1000 functions across municipalities. Hopefully the metros now will take on the housing function differently. As we deal with these issues I think we can deal with needs differently but as you transfer those skills we need a framework in place to ensure that the people who are receiving the functions have the ability to perform those functions and the responsibility to account for those functions. And that would apply I think also to Supply Chain Management and I think that the sign that we would flash now is that in respect of Supply Chain Management it is not going to be business as usual, that is the sign. In terms of systems and so on there are number of ideas that I am working on at the moment.

Karien Minister Chabane has largely answered your question; I just want to draw attention to the scale of the problem as I perceive it. We had 527 000 young people pass Grade 12 having sat the 2012 examination. If we are lucky about 80 000 of them are going to find their way into further education. That leaves something in the order of 450 000 young people age between 17-20 who will be looking for things to do and they get added to the previous years’ remainder if you wish. That is the scale of the problem, it is not a uniquely South African problem but it is one that requires very particular South African solutions. That is why we are going to need a composite package of which some incentives would be one part but you need a composite package. Carol can I forget your question? No, it is a difficult one. Look let me start answering your question by dealing with some (unclear). We were in conversation with people who are doing amazing things in the US in respect of solar energy. Basically what they do is they rent the space in people’s roofs, get the sunshine, feed that energy generated into the grid and pay people a rental for using their roofs. And in a not Cape Town today but in a sunshine country like South Africa it seems like a no brainer. The problem is they can’t even think of doing that in South Africa because of the price per kilowatt of energy in this country, so that is one kind of problem we have now heads around, it is a difficult one. The bigger problem is the big commitments that were made by President Zuma on our behalf at Copenhagen, COP 15, I forget how many COPs there are, was that 16, no it was 15. Big announcements about the reduction of CO2 emissions. You take those two points together then there has to be a change in the sources of our energy generated. The big difficulties that confronts us and this is why you have a bit of constipation in the independent power producer arena especially on renewable, is that few generators can come in at the price available in this country. Now we have a quandary, I think that in recognising that there is a quandary we also have to guard against very rapid increase in administrative prices of which energy is one. I don’t know what will come out of the multi price determination at NERSA. But again you are looking at a system that is designed to allow for adequate input for people to be heard and for the idea of either just the CEO of Eskom or a Minister waking up one morning and announcing a price. You have taken that out and I think that these things are also difficult. I am looking at fuels prices and I am looking at the exchange rate of the rand at the moment and it is a very painful issue to deal with but actually it is not something you have immediate control over. How do we deal with these issues in the context of a commitment repeated by the President on the 14th of February to the elements of a decent standard of living of which access to energy is one. I don’t have a pat answer for you but I do know that if we don’t address these issues and if we aren’t seen by people to be addressing these issues there is an anger that builds up. I think we have to demonstrate that we are doing everything in our power to ensure that we can moderate the increases requested and ensure that Eskom isn’t bankrupt in the process. But there is a huge job of work we have to do in this regard. Thanks


Implementation of the National Development Plan - Post-SoNA media briefing by Ministers Trevor Manuel and Collins Chabane


19 Feb 2013

1. Introduction

The National Development Plan (NDP) offers a long-term perspective. It defines a desired destination and identifies the role different sectors of society need to play in reaching that goal.

As a long-term strategic plan, it serves four broad objectives:

  1. Providing overarching goals for what we want to achieve by 2030.
  2. Building consensus on the key obstacles to us achieving these goals and what needs to be done to overcome those obstacles.
  3. Providing a shared long-term strategic framework within which more detailed planning can take place in order to advance the long-term goals set out in the NDP.
  4. Creating a basis for making choices about how best to use limited resources.

The Plan aims to ensure that all South Africans attain a decent standard of living through the elimination of poverty and reduction of inequality.

The core elements of a decent standard of living identified in the plan are:

  • Housing, water, electricity and sanitation
  • Safe and reliable public transport
  • Quality education and skills development
  • Safety and security
  • Quality health care
  • Social protection
  • Employment
  • Recreation and leisure
  • Clean environment
  • Adequate nutrition

The NDP has been approved and adopted by government and has received strong endorsement from the broader society. The focus now shifts to how the NDP will be implemented.

2. Implementation phases

The NDP and its proposals will need to be implemented in the right order over the next 17 years.

This process of prioritisation and sequencing will take place in three broad phrases:

a. Critical steps to be taken in 2013 to unlock implementation.
The following actions will be undertaken during 2013:

  • Implement programmes that do not require additional resources and long lead times
  • Identify critical first steps to unlock implementation
  • Preparation of the 2014-19 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) as the first five-year building block of the NDP
  • Focus on areas where implementation of existing policies needs to improve
  • Focused dialogues to overcome obstacles to implementation.

b. 2014-2019 planning cycle.
The 2014-2019 planning cycle should be viewed as the first in a series of five-year planning cycles that will advance the goals of the NDP. The equivalent planning cycle at local government level will be equally important.

c. 2019-2024 and 2024-2029 planning cycles.
This phase of the NDP will be used to initiate the remaining activities. It will build on previous cycles and be informed by the review of performance.

3. Integration into government plans

The planning processes carried out by departments and other government entities will have a vital role to play in bringing the vision and proposals contained in the NDP to life. NDP proposals are being incorporated into the existing activities of departments and broken down into the medium and short-term plans of government at national, provincial and municipal level. The NDP provides the golden thread that brings coherence and consistency to these different plans.

Government has already started a process to align the long term plans of departments with the NDP and to identify areas where policy change is required to ensure consistency and coherence. Each government programme will have to be backed by detailed implementation plans which clearly set out choices made, actions that need to be undertaken and their sequencing.

Key steps to facilitate this integration include:

  • The Presidency is leading the formulation of the 2014-2019 MTSF in consultation with departments.
  • The Presidency and National Treasury will work with departments to clarify roles and responsibilities, ensure that plans and budgets are aligned, and develop clear performance indicators for each programme.
  • Departmental strategic plans, annual performance plans and programme plans will need to be evaluated by the Presidency to determine alignment with the NDP prior to submission to Parliament.
  • Monitoring and evaluation will be used to identify obstacles to implementation, to facilitate reflection on what works, and to continuously improve implementation.

As mentioned above, implementation of the NDP in government requires a process of breaking down the plan into key outputs and activities to be implemented by individual departments or groups of departments. In this regard, we have started to develop the 2014-2019 MTSF with the aim of having it ready for approval by Cabinet as soon as possible after the 2014 elections. This will enable the new administration to focus on implementation as soon as possible after taking office.

The MTSF will be precise and clear in identifying indicators and targets to be achieved in the 2014-2019 period, similar to the existing delivery agreements for the 12 outcomes.

The MTSF will contain the following for each of the outcomes:
a) Key targets from the NDP and from other plans, such as the New Growth Path,  National Infrastructure Plan, and Industrial Policy Action Plan
b) Current baseline for each target and the MTSF (2014-2019) target based on consideration of a trajectory to 2030
c) Key outputs and actions to achieve the target and department(s) responsible. 

The National Planning Commission (NPC) and the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) in the Presidency are jointly leading the process of developing the MTSF. This process requires intensive engagements and negotiations with individual departments, groups of departments and clusters to obtain agreement on the detailed contents of the MTSF. DPME, the NPC, DCOG and line function national departments responsible for concurrent functions will also be engaging with the provincial Offices of the Premier, the relevant provincial departments and municipalities regarding the provincialisation and localisation of the national targets, for inclusion in provincial and municipal strategic plans. 

This intensive engagement and negotiation process to work out detailed implementation plans for the 2014-2019 period will be the major focus during 2013. However, in the meantime, some of the key proposals for change in the plan are already being implemented by national and provincial departments in the current financial year.

For example:
a) National Treasury is in the process of appointing a government Chief Procurement Officer to strengthen procurement systems so that they deliver value for money.
b) The Minister of Public Service and Administration has started to develop proposals for restricting the business interests of public servants and to work on frameworks for improving performance incentives and the application of consequences for poor performance.
c) The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission is driving and monitoring the process of accelerating the development of the economic infrastructure required to enable increased economic growth.
d) The Minister of Economic Development is coordinating and monitoring the various economic growth and job creation drivers in the New Growth Path.
e) The Minister of Health is implementing the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMCT) programme, and has already initiated antiretroviral (ARV) therapy for all eligible people living with HIV, and is already progressively improving TB prevention and cure and addressing HIV and TB co-infection.
f) The Minister of Basic Education is ensuring that parents receive their children’s annual national assessment (ANA) results,  and that provincial education departments have programmes that use ANA results to improve school performance.
g) The Minister of Higher Education is ensuring that further education and training (FET) lecturers are being trained as part of improving the quality of FET colleges.

We intend submitting a first draft of the document to the July 2013 Cabinet Lekgotla, to enable national and provincial departments to align their 2014-2019 departmental strategic plans with the MTSF. (Departments will be developing their departmental strategic plans during the last two quarters of the 2013/14 financial year.)

There is a high level of correlation between the NDP priorities and the current 12 priority outcomes, and this correlation enables us to maintain continuity in the planning and monitoring and evaluation processes of government.

Government will therefore continue with the focus on outcomes in the 2014-2019 period, with minor adjustments. For example, we are considering adding an additional outcome on social protection and to split outcome 12 into two outcomes on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of government and nation building, given the importance attached to these issues in the NDP. Coordination of implementation will continue as before, with implementation forums (clusters and Minmecs or their equivalents) coordinating and driving implementation of each outcome.

4. The role of different sectors of society

The NDP is a plan for the whole country. Government will engage with all sectors to understand how they are contributing to implementation, and particularly to identify any obstacles to them fulfilling their role effectively.

The NDP sets out ambitious goals for poverty reduction, economic growth, economic transformation and job creation. The private sector has a major role to play in achieving these objectives. Long-term planning and investment in the future is just as important for the private as the public sector. Government is clearly stating its commitment to the NDP, and it is important that the private sector does the same. Where the private sector faces obstacles, sectoral dialogues will take place to identify how these obstacles can be addressed within the parameters laid out by the NDP.

High-level leadership meetings will be held regularly between government and business, government and labour, and government and civil society. These will provide a route for focused dialogue to discuss the contribution of each sector to the implementation of the NDP, identify blockages and develop a common understanding of how obstacles will be overcome. These high-level meetings will be underpinned by more focused stakeholder engagements. These stakeholder engagements will be intended to find solutions to specific challenges and construct frameworks that enable stakeholders to hold each other accountable.

5. Core implementation principles

The effective implementation of the Plan depends on our ability to build unity in action through the following principles:

  • Broad ownership - The Plan enjoys wide support from all sections of society. The best way to sustain this support is by ensuring broad engagement at every level of implementation. It is important that the implementation phase builds on this sense of broad ownership by enabling different sectors and individuals to contribute their skills, resources and expertise.


  • Continuous capacity building - Capacity building needs to be treated as an ongoing process. It requires that all sectors constantly strive to improve their own performance. This includes measures to strengthen the capacity and developmental commitment of the state.


  • Policy consistency - Many successful reform initiatives have policy consistency and stability of leadership as common features. The Plan is designed to bring about change over a period of nearly two decades and this requires a degree of policy consistency. Policy changes must be approached cautiously based on experience and evidence so that the country does not lose sight of its long-term goals.


  • Prioritisation and sequencing - Not all proposals will be implemented at once. Priority will be given to policies that need to be implemented immediately because other actions cannot be implemented until these steps have been taken; policies and plans that have long-term implications and lock in future choices; areas where the core objective is to improve the implementation of existing policies; areas where the first task is to build consensus, improve trust, build capacity or agree on the division of responsibilities before implementation can take place. Particular attention will be given in the initial stages to the three objectives that the NPC has identified as being especially important for the success of the Plan: (a) improving the quality of learning outcomes, (b) creating jobs and promoting inclusive growth, and (c) strengthening the capacity and developmental commitment of the state.


  • Clarity of responsibility and accountability - The Plan calls for the tightening of the accountability chain. An important step towards this is to ensure that all activities necessary to implement a programme are clearly spelt out including the timeframe and responsibility for implementation, as well as oversight and monitoring mechanisms that will help identify blockages.
  • Continuous learning and improvement – It is important to figure out how to make things work before trying to implement at a large scale. Implementation needs to be a learning process, so that plans can evolve based on the experience of departments and the results of evidence-based monitoring and evaluation.
  • Coordinated action - The NDP provides an overarching policy framework to bring greater coherence to the work of government. However, many coordination problems relate to implementation and in these areas issues will need to be resolved through regular day-to-day interactions.

6. Conditions for successful implementation

The successful implementation of the NDP depends on:

  • Breaking the Plan into manageable chunks
  • Developing detailed programme plans
  • Building on the broad support for the Plan
  • Building trust and confidence among key role-players
  • Strengthening public sector capacity
  • Streamlining reporting procedures
  • Consistent messaging

7. Financing

The Plan will shape resource allocation over the next 17 years. The Plan supports government’s intention to gradually shift resources towards investment that grows the economy, broadens opportunities and enhances capabilities. As a result, other parts of the budget will need to grow more slowly. This will only be possible if we achieve greater value for money in many established areas of government activity; that is why much of the Plan focuses on how we can get better at what we do.

8. Provincial government

The Plan identifies the task of improving the quality of public services as critical to achieving transformation. This is not an easy objective and it will require provinces to focus on identifying and overcoming the obstacles to achieving improved outcomes.

The provincial planning process should therefore be used to focus on the proposals that are made in areas of core provincial responsibility such as education and health. Some of these proposals require policy changes at the national level, but there are many areas where provinces can start work immediately on improving the quality of what is already being done. This applies, for example, to strengthening the capacity of education districts to provide quality support to schools and to ensuring procurement systems deliver value for money. It is essential that provinces engage with these areas of the NDP in detail, identify specific priorities where they can commit themselves to improving outcomes and then develop focused plans for how this can be achieved. In the process, each province has the opportunity to lead the way in demonstrating the potential for how we can get better at what we do.

Priority steps provinces need to take in implementing the NDP include:

  • Engage in detail with areas of the NDP that relate to core provincial priorities and identify specific proposals where implementation can start immediately. Most of these will be proposals relating to how to improve the implementation of existing policies.
  • Use the provincial five-year plan to focus attention on how to improve outcomes in core provincial functions, such as education and health.
  • Pay greater attention to the quality of management within departments with a view to ensuring that public servants are both challenged and supported so that they can contribute fully to the work of their departments.
  • Address weaknesses in procurement systems to ensure a greater focus on value for money.
  • Strengthen administrative relations between provincial departments and their national counterparts.

9. Local Government

The Plan highlights the need to strengthen the ability of local government to fulfil its developmental role. Municipal Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) need to be used more strategically to focus attention on critical priorities in the NDP that relate to the mandate of local government such as spatial planning, infrastructure and basic services. Like provincial planning processes, municipal IDPs should be used to focus on aspects of the NDP that fit within a municipality’s core responsibilities.This would allow the IDP process to become more manageable and the participation process more meaningful, thus helping to narrow the gap between the aspirations contained in these documents and what can actually be achieved. To do this effectively, the IDP process needs to be led by municipal staff, not outsourced to consultants.

As for provinces, there are also many areas where municipalities could start implementation immediately by engaging with aspects of the Plan that speak to their core competencies and identifying how they can action proposals for improving implementation.

10. Monitoring and reporting

Planning and implementation should be informed by evidence-based monitoring and evaluation. There are already monitoring and reporting processes in place for government priorities, plans and policies. Integration of the NDP into these plans will enable implementation of the Plan to be monitored through existing processes. The Department for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) has responsibility for overseeing progress against many of these objectives through the outcomes approach, and will have overall responsibility for monitoring progress.

It is also important that we are able to keep track of our progress against the NDP as a whole. This includes identifying unforeseen circumstances that may hamper progress or identifying serious blockages that need to be addressed.  This will require a more strategic and high-level form of monitoring that will be carried out by the NPC drawing on data that is already collected by DPME and other sources so as to minimise the reporting burden.

Since the implementation of the Plan will be a shared responsibility between government and social partners, it will be important to interact with organisations in other sectors to assess progress and identify blockages.

11. The role of leadership and accountability

Political leadership is critical for effective implementation. The President and Deputy President will be the lead champions of the Plan within Cabinet, in government and throughout the country. Premiers and Mayors will need to be visible and active champions of the Plan, with their offices being the catalytic agencies to drive implementation at provincial and municipal levels.

Cabinet has the responsibility for making the necessary prioritisations, sustaining momentum and ensuring that public confidence in the NDP remains high.Cabinet will be responsible for overseeing implementation and facilitating the resolution of coordination challenges. At an administrative level, this coordination role will be played by FOSAD Management Committee.

Where there are blockages, the Presidency will mediate discussions between the different parties responsible for implementation in order to find a practical way of removing the blockage.

12. Getting the incentives right

Effective implementation will require a constant desire to improve. Too often the incentives do not encourage people to make the extra effort. In the public service, there are few consequences for public servants who do not perform, and sometimes the incentives can encourage people to do things that are inimical to the public good. Similarly, we see from the many businesses that are failing to invest in growing their businesses or recruiting and training young talent that the private sector also faces many disincentives to taking decisions that will benefit it in the long term.

The long-term framework provided by the NDP should help to address some of these incentive problems; others will be identified and addressed through the processes of focused dialogue described above. The steps the NDP identifies as necessary to improve the capacity of the state will also be important in this regard, as the state (at national, provincial and local levels) needs to be proactively involved in identifying and overcoming obstacles to implementation.








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