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
12 Nov 2009
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, 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 Management Academy (Palama) Training Initiative, 117 senior managers are currently undergoing training as part of the Executive Development Programme. Palama is also developing a Graduate Development Programme targeting unemployed graduates to prepare them for learnerships and jobs within the public service.
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 Local Government Report, and distributed to delegates at the Local Government Indaba.
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 non-governmental organisations (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 - 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 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 Co-ordinating 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 Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and North West between August and October 2009. A National Strategic Planning workshop was held with municipal finance units in provinces, National Treasury, the Accountant-General, SALGA, the South African Institute of Civil Engineers (SAICE) and the Institute of Municipal Finance Officers (IMFO).
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 Eastern Cape, Limpopo and North West provinces. The remaining provinces will establish their Coordinating Committees before the end of November 2009.
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.
Issued by: Department of Home Affairs
12 November 2009
Issued by: Department of Home Affairs
12 Nov 2009
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