Speaking notes at the Governance and Administration Cluster Media Briefing

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version
25 Feb 2014

Thank you very much for joining us.

I am accompanied by my colleagues in the Governance and Administration Cluster.

This briefing expands from the State of the Nation Address delivered on 13 February 2014 by President Jacob Zuma. We will cover the work of the Governance and Administration Cluster and also elaborate briefly on achievements of this Government for the past five years.

When we look at what has been achieved in the past twenty years and what has been achieved in President Zuma’s first administration we can say without fear that South Africa has a very good story to tell; an amazing story about great triumph over adversity.

What this Government and its people have achieved is nothing short of a miracle. No developing country of the size of our economy can claim what we have done; only those who suffer from permanent ignorance will disagree with us when we say South Africa is a much better place to live in now than it was in 1994.

Since our democracy the public service has been faced with an enormous responsibility to provide access to government services to previously disenfranchised individuals and to restore dignity and bring to life the spirit of our Constitution. This administration committed itself to broadening access to services and ensuring that all South Africans have access to basic services.

As we celebrate twenty years of freedom, we are able to declare that all our people today are closer to institutions that provide government services.

A number of successes have been witnessed in the implementation of the delivery agreement for Outcome 12 which is implemented by the G&A cluster.

These include:

• The resolution rate for calls to the Presidential Hotline improved to 94.7 percent as at December 2013, from 39 percent in November 2009 when the hotline was established.

• The average time to fill vacancies in the public service improved as at December 2013 from 9 months in 2010. The target of 6 months for 2014 has been achieved.

• The percentage of the vacant posts in the public service has decreased to 9.1 percent as at December 2013 and the target of ensuring that vacancies are below 10 percent, at any given time, has been achieved.

• During the 2012/13 financial year, there was no single department that received an adverse audit report. The number of departments that received a disclaimer audit opinion was reduced to 5 during the 2012/13 financial year from 10 in 2009/10.

• Procurement turnaround times at the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) for preferred list of Request For Quotations (RFQs) improved from 80 days to 62 days as at 31 December 2013. Procurement turnaround times for ad hoc RFQs improved from 30 days to 10 days as at 31 December 2013.

The President highlighted our commitment to fight corruption, mal-administration and unethical behaviour. We are building capacity to centralise the management of disciplinary cases to ensure that cases of misconduct are investigated by competent people and that all three spheres of government are supported to finalise cases as speedily as possible. We will pay special attention to cases of irregular expenditure, unauthorised expenditure and other financial misconduct.

To date a total of 6043 practitioners have been trained through the anti-corruption capacity building programme. The percentage of National Anti-Corruption Hotline cases closed by departments increased by more than 10 percent as at 31 December 2013 compared to 23 percent in August 2011.

Our strategy is to ensure that we develop a modern ICT system to prevent corruption and those who are caught must be punished and the punishment must be painful.

In our work to build a public administration grounded by professional ethics, integrity and discipline, the Public Administration Management (PAM) Bill is currently before the National Council of Provinces. The Bill provides for the establishment of the Office of Standards and Compliance which will set national standards and systems for the entire public service. The office will also monitor compliance with public service and administration standards.

The PAM Bill also introduces a significant policy change in prohibiting public servants from conducting business with the State. Through its introduction government is intervening to curb opportunities and incentives for corruption. It complements the establishment of the single procurement office for government located in the National Treasury.

The turnaround of the Department of Home Affairs and the improved delivery of services to our people is another good story we share today. It is a story we tell everyday because we know where we come from. This Department was tasked in 1994 with integrating all TBVC states (Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei) and the old South Africa into one nation with a single national population database.

Today we can tell you that project was very successful, so successful that those agents who used to assist people to get IDs, passports and birth certificates are going out of business; it is so successful that many other countries have asked for our assistance. Our good story is better told as follows:

• It now takes 7 days to get your identity document,
• It now takes 2 days to register and receive a grant. In an effort to make services more accessible, on average 70% of our people have a Home Affairs office within 25 kilometres from their residences,
• Over 75% of our people have access to a SASSA pay point within 5 kilometres of their homes,
• Over 80% of our people have a primary school within 5 kilometres of their homes,
• Over 80% of our people have a secondary school within 5 kilometres of their homes.

Since the beginning of February 2014, the Department of Home Affairs has begun rolling out the Smart ID card to citizens as part of efforts to consolidate the restoration of citizenship, identity and dignity to all South Africans. 28 offices across the country have been earmarked to process applications for the Smart ID.

The Smart ID card is an integral part of the department moving away from outdated systems as it builds digital systems that will help improve access to services for citizens. We call upon all citizens who have applied for Smart ID cards and have been informed by sms to collect them from the respective Home Affairs offices of application.

Informed by the unfortunate incidents that happened in 2001 at the Ellis Park Stadium, where 43 lives were lost, during the soccer derby, government passed the Safety at Sports and Recreation Events Act to avoid such incidents.

The state of sport and recreation infrastructure and participation activities mirrors the societal disparities created by the apartheid regime. Numerous efforts to address these imbalances have been made since the advent of the democratic dispensation. The Department of Sport and Recreation has completed 138 sport and recreation facilities projects. These were implemented through the funds from Reconstruction and Development Programme and include the upgrading of the existing facilities.

Again, through the National Treasury Grant, we managed to construct 364 sport and recreation facilities. The funds for sport and recreation provision have since been incorporated into the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), programme, where over 3200 sport facilities have been built post 1994.

We have successfully hosted Rugby, Cricket and Soccer World Cups. Through the hosting of these major events, we have successfully profiled the country’s abilities to host and manage major events. The economic spin offs of these events, mainly with the 2010 FIFA World Cup, have seen the reconstruction of stadia and stretched into tangibles like road construction, airports construction, social cohesion, national pride and to being part of the African family peace caravan for the youth of the continent.

We are proud that our resources have truly represented us with lessons learnt from hosting of these major events, by assisting other countries like Brazil in hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup. We assisted Mozambique in hosting the All Africa Games, in terms of material and human resource. We helped Mali in hosting the African Nations Cup. Recently, in solidarity with the people of Libya, we hosted the 2013 and 2014 AFCON and CHAN tournaments.

For the first time post 1994, in 2012 government approved the National Sport and Recreation plan which amongst other aspects deals with transformation, grassroots development and high performance.
In our effort to bring to life the Constitution’s obligation in ensuring quality education to all we have invested over R2 billion in the three spheres of government in modernising the old libraries and building new state of the art libraries. Central to our strategy to deepen democracy is a reading nation.

The implementation of Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) strategy yielded more than 50 000 jobs since its implementation in 2012. The film industry contributed R3.5 billion to the GDP and created over 25 000 jobs. In 2012 alone, the DTI and DAC have invested an estimated R250 million in film projects.

Government has played a significant role in supporting the film industry over the last few decades. The significant increase in locally produced films between 2004 and 2012 is attributed directly to government support to the sector. Over and above the DAC’s commitment of over R80 million per annum to the development of film through the National Film and Video Foundation, the DAC has contributed millions to the sector.

The DAC has partnered with the Department of Basic Education for the programme of placing Artist in Schools with over 300 artists placed to date. The department has also partnered with the Department of Correctional Services to roll-out the Arts Access programme which uses the arts and culture as a tool for social re-integration and rehabilitation of marginalised persons and persons in conflict with the law.

In conclusion, I want to quote from the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) National Governing Council report recently adopted by the AU Heads of State Report on what our people think of their Government:

“South Africa is the greatest country on the continent. Nowhere else has democracy been so embraced by its people. Overcoming our great evil – apartheid – has left our citizens better off than ever imagined. As a nation, we hold a torch for our beloved continent for what can be accomplished through the efforts of a committed government, committed people, committed business and committed civil society sector. The people of South Africa have a way out of poverty in a land where opportunity is for all. And if that way does not work government stands as a safety net for its people.”

I quote from the APRM Report which was tabled in Addis Abba by President Zuma to demonstrate the achievements South Africans have made, in all sectors of life. This report was compiled by all South Africans, from civil society and business. We all agree that despite our remaining challenges, South Africa is a better place to live.

Enquiries:

Department of Public Service and Administration: Ndivhuwo Mabaya, 083 645 7838
Department of Home Affairs: Ronnie Mamoepa, 082 990 4853
Department of Arts and Culture: Mogomotsi Mogodiri, 071 687 4984
Department of Sports and Recreation: Paena Galane, 079 509 9833