South Africa: Minister Jackson Mthembu - the Presidency Dept Budget Vote 2019/20

press release

Address by Minister Jackson Mthembu (MP) in The Presidency on the occasion of the debate on Vote 1: The Presidency National Assembly Chamber, Cape Town.

"Growing South African together in order to build the nation we want and deserve to live in"

Thank you, Madam Speaker,

His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa,

Deputy President of the Republic, David Mabuza,

Ministers and Deputy Ministers,

Honourable Members of the House,

The Deputy Chair of the National Planning Commission, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba and Commissioners Present,

The Acting Director-General of GCIS, Ms Phumla Williams

Acting CEO of the MDDA, Ms Zukiswa Potye,

Acting CEO of Brand South Africa, Ms Thulisile Manzini,

Distinguished guests in the Gallery, including my daughter Thuli and her friends

Fellow South Africans;

Introduction

As we deliver this budget vote speech on the eve of Mandela Day, a day devoted to volunteerism and service to others, I dedicate this speech to a woman who has for her entire life practiced the values of volunteerism in an effort to bring change to the lives of others. A woman who without knowing many of us, provided shelter and support for us during the dark days of Apartheid. A woman who in her old age continues to be a pillar of strength to her community in Diepkloof, Soweto. A stalwart of the anti-Apartheid movement and a mother to many of us, her name is uGogo uMargaret Stofile.

Because of Gogo Stofile's immense contribution to our lives, we have adopted her family and will provide the necessary support to ensure that she does not have to worry about the future of her 20 grandchildren. Though the little we do will never compare to what she did for us, we do hope that it will bring about positive change in her family.

We would also like to encourage others who are in a better position to lend a hand and assist those who might be in need. Through small, consistent acts of kindness to others, we would be indeed be honouring our liberation icon, uTata uNelson Mandela. We must all "taken action, inspire hope and make every day a Mandela Day."

Mr President, you have never shied away from constructive criticism and robust debate, which is a hall mark of our democracy. However, we want to differentiate between robust and constructive criticism, as opposed to disrespect, rudeness and uncouth behavior as shown by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in this debate and during last week's budget speech by Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Honourable President, do not be deterred by these howlers, continue to do what the people of South Africa have entrusted you to do - that is to change their lives for the better. There is a Zulu Idiom that I would like to use in this befitting instance, it says, "izinja zikhonkhotha ehambayo," and indeed, the Ramaphosa train is moving.

Since coming into office, President Ramaphosa has championed economic growth through the Investment Conference and Job Summits among other successfully initiated projects in the year under review. The Digital Economy Summit which took place earlier this month reaffirmed government's commitments to providing the required infrastructure to enable our digital ascendancy in order to better serve our people.

President Ramaphosa has also been very steadfast in rooting out corruption and rebuilding the integrity of our public institutions including our State Owned Enterprises. Mr President, we are in full agreement that as a country and as a people, we must deal with corruption head on. In this regard, we welcome the good work that has been done by the various commissions of inquiry to rid our country of fraud, maleficence, corruption, inclusive of state capture. It is through these efforts that the country will be able to regain its reputation as a preferred investment destination.

Honourable Speaker,

In 2018, when President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the State of the Nation Address (SONA), he undertook to review the structure and size of the Executive and government to ensure that the state is optimally suited to meet the needs of the people of South Africa. To this end, in this Sixth Democratic Administration, the Ministry in the Presidency is responsible for the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), the National Planning Commission (NPC) including its Secretariat, Statistics South Africa (Stats-SA), the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) and Brand South Africa (Brand-SA).

The configuration of these functions under the Ministry in the Presidency is a deliberate move to ensure that the strategic long-term planning of government programmes conducted by the NPC is done through evidence based statistics collected by Stats-SA and their implementation monitored and evaluated by DPME. In appreciating the critical role of government communications in adhering to our constitutional mandate of the provision of information to our citizenry, the GCIS has been strategically located within the Presidency to ensure that government as a whole is able to communicate its work at a national and provincial level; whilst also ensuring that our messages reaches grassroots levels by supporting emerging and previously disadvantaged media entrepreneurs through the efforts of the MDDA. On an international level, our Brand-SA plays a critical role in ensuring the management of South Africa's brand and the reputation of our country to remain an attractive investment and tourism destination.

Therefore, this alignment of functions within the Ministry in the Presidency allows us greater coherence, better coordination and improved efficiency as a Ministry strategically located within the Presidency. This location also allows the President to have a clear line of sight on the performance of government as a whole through the work of DPME among others.

Honourable members,

In his SONA, President Ramaphosa reaffirmed the NDP as our Lode Star that all government departments must adhere to and achieve our Vision 2030 goals and targets to enable us to grow South Africa together and build South Africa and the nation we want.

As a think tank and advisory body, the National Planning Commission (NPC), is the custodian of the National Development Plan, Vision 2030.

Whilst in the past the NPC would attend to their human resource needs through the DPME, the reconfiguration of government has ensured that the NPC and its Secretariat will now be a standalone body tasked with macro planning. As the Chairperson of the NPC, we will ensure that in the remainder of the term of the current NPC, which ends in September 2020, the priority focus of the Commission is on the appraisal of the NDP. This work is intended to assess the implementation of the NDP, what the challenges have been, reasons for lack of implementation (if any), and what can be done to change course and get back on the critical path towards the NDP's goals, both in the medium term 2020-24, and the long term up to 2030.

Working in close collaboration with the DMPE, we also intend on hosting a colloquium with our social partners and the academic society later this month to assess any challenges encountered in the implementation of NDP and collectively input on a way forward.

As part of executing our planning, monitoring and evaluation mandate, the DPME was entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the review of the performance of government and its social partners during the first 25 years of democratic governance in South Africa.

Working together with my predecessor, the Honorable Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, we will table the 25-Year Review within the first 100-day timeframe of this Administration. Broadly, the 25-Year Review indicates that our democratic government achieved beyond expectations in the delivery of basic services such as housing, the provision of free access to Water, Electricity, Healthcare, Education for the poor. However, we are still lagging behind on the economic growth and transformation front.

Through the DMPE, we are broadening our Monitoring System to an Integrated Monitoring Framework including Frontline Service Monitoring, Citizen Based Monitoring, Community Based Monitoring and more effective use of the Presidential Hotline.

Through our Integrated Monitoring Framework, the DPME will closely monitor the performance of all departments on a bi-annual basis, and keep the President appraised on their performance.

Mr President, we are bringing back the Izimbizo Programmes and as you have mentioned, our approach will be district based. Through the integrated delivery model, the DPME will not just be counting how many taps have been provided but also monitor whether those taps have clean running water. We will not only be checking how many clinics have been built in an area but also monitor the quality of the healthcare services in that particularly primary healthcare facility.

Our Presidential Izimbizo, coupled with our government Community Outreach and Rapid Response Programmes by our Ministers and Deputy Ministers, will give our President and Deputy President a better view of where delivery challenges are and what interventions are required. These will also assist government in directly responding to the issues raised by our people during the May 2019 elections.

We have taken it upon ourselves to ensure that all entities under our Ministry are fully capacitated and functional in the next 100 days of this Administration. There must be no boards which are inquorate or defunct. There must be no entity with a head who is in an acting position. Therefore, all funded post must be filled especially at senior management level because it is only when we have fully functional structures that we will be able to deliver on our respective mandates.

Our Deputy Minister in the Presidency, the Honourable Thembi Siweya will outline our plans relating to rebooting the governance structures of the MDDA and Brand-South Africa.

Today we met with Community Media including Radio, TV & Print where we agreed that this sector needs urgent attention. We will therefore be working towards a national engagement with this sector in an attempt to deal with the challenges that it is faced with.

We are also in the process of realigning government wide communications so that there is one message, many voices, at all levels of government to ensure we keep South Africans informed of the work of government at all material times. Government communications must reach our people in all corners of our country.

Therefore, in line with our constitutional mandate, we have to honestly inform the public about what the sixth administration is doing, why it is doing so and how that is going to improve the lives of our people. In this regard, our messages should speak to what government is doing to improve people's lives, and in particular what efforts are being made to revive the economy and create jobs.

This past Friday, we unveiled the plaque and renamed the GCIS Press Room in Tshwane after Ronnie Mamoepa and thus it became the Ronnie Mamoepa Media Centre. This historic event was in honour of one of our finest public servants and government communicators. Ronnie Mamoepa was a true embodiment of a patriot, a model public servant, a humble and dedicated leader and most of all, a veteran government communicator.

In renaming the GCIS press room after Ronnie Mamoepa we were making a statement of intent. We are challenging all communicators in government to follow in his footsteps and to carry the torch of communicating directly with the people, as Ronnie did. Government communicators must not be news, must not be celebrities, they must be available at all times, speak the languages spoken by our communities and be humble.

We are going to fully implement the Government Communication Policy as approved by Cabinet. The Policy strengthens the government communication system to ensure that it is well-integrated, better coordinated and professional, and allows for citizens to interact with government.

Honourable Speaker,

We want to thank all those who participated in our previous budget vote debates for entities under the Presidency. We thank members of this house who robustly engaged the budget vote on DPME which will ensure that planning, monitoring and evaluation is conducted. As we have said, we will soon be presenting the proposed Integrated Planning Framework Bill to Parliament, which will ensure better integrated planning across all levels and spheres of government.

Similarly, we appreciate the contributions and thank those who participated in the debate on the budget vote on Statistics South Africa. We look forward to introducing a draft Statistics Amendment Bill in Parliament in the year ahead.

We have spoken to the National Treasury regarding the financial difficulties faced by Stats-SA which has led to them not being able to fill critical positions and as a consequence, had many of their senior employees recruited by international institutions such as the World Bank. In this regard, the National Treasury has undertaken to look into the underfunding of Stats-SA and we are confident that a solution to preserve our Stats-SA will be found.

Conclusion

As we said during our elections Manifesto, which led to South Africans convincingly voting for us to govern this country for the next five years, we want to work with our people to grow South Africa together. It is only through our collective efforts that we will be able to build the nation we want and deserve.

In conclusion, we must thank all the leaders of the six departments and entities which fall under our competency for their sterling work in ensuring we are able to work in a coherent and efficient manner to serve the people of South Africa.

We urge all members of this Parliament to vote in favour of Vote 1, the Presidency.

I thank you.

Issued by: The Presidency

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