Policy and Budget Speech delivered by Premier Mabuza at the Mpumalanga Legislature

15 May 2012                                                                            

Honourable Speaker and Madam Deputy Speaker
Honourable Members of the Provincial Legislature
Honourable Members of the Executive Council
House of Traditional Leaders
Representatives of business, labour and community-based organisations
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and gentlemen  

Good afternoon

The Mandate

On the 27th of April, two weeks ago, South Africa celebrated eighteen years under a democratic rule.

It is a democratic rule that is guided by the Constitution – a Constitution that we, as the citizenry, adopted as the supreme law of the country.  

It is a democratic rule which, in the main, provides all South Africans with the opportunity to set up a government based on the will of the people, and on people-centred and people-driven principles.

Talking of principles, one of the crucial principles that underpin our Constitution is accountability – a principle that, we, as the ANC-led government has upheld with distinction over the past eighteen years of our democracy and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Our appearance before this august House today bears testimony to this effect.

Like in the previous financial year, we have come here today not only to give account of the 2011/12 Budget allocated to the Office of the Premier but also to request this august House to approve our Budget for 2012/13 financial year – a Budget that will assist us to drive our mandate as stipulated in the Constitution of this country and other policies of the democratic government.

It is a Budget that will assist the Office of the Premier in taking forward its key activities as outlined in the previous Policy and Budget Speeches – activities aimed at translating the 2009 Manifesto of the ruling Party into reality.  

Honourable Speaker, allow me, therefore, to reflect on the performance of the Office relating to these key areas of our work, including the priorities that we have set ourselves for 2012/13 financial year.   

Progress to date and 2012/13 priorities

Policy and Planning

In the previous Policy and Budget Speeches, we pointed out to this House that, one of the key responsibilities of the Office of the Premier is to improve planning and policy coordination in the Province. This is a responsibility that involves, among other things:

  • coordination and development of provincial policies;
  • coordination of macro-planning;
  • conducting targeted research to inform decision-making; as well as
  • the coordination of international cooperation across all spheres of government.

Responding to the priorities of the Manifesto relating to issues of planning, we identified three important activities to focus on over the five-year period and beyond. This involves the development and implementation of:

  • Vision 2030, a long-term development of the Province
  • The Provincial Economic Growth and Development Path, and
  • The Provincial Five-Year Plan

We also set ourselves clear targets in each year, just to ensure that the Office always keeps its eyes on the ball. Our strategic thrust must ensure that we get the whole Administration behind the implementation of the mandates and priorities agreed to with the people.

Honourable Speaker and Members, in the recent State of the Province Address, one elaborated on the progress made to date with respect to the issues of long-term planning. Therefore, without regurgitating SOPA per se, allow me, Honourable Speaker, to highlight just few issues.

With regard to the development of a provincial long-term Development Plan – vision 2030 to be precise, the process has not as yet started in the Province since it is dependent on the processes taking place at national level.  

As we speak, the National Development Plan is at its final phase and, if everything goes according to plan, the final product will be submitted to National Cabinet in June this year. Logically so, as soon as the National Development Plan is adopted by Cabinet, then the Office of the Premier will commence working on the long-term Plan of the Province.

Honourable Speaker, let me quickly point out that the Office of the Premier has been, and still is, working very closely with the Presidency on the development of the National Development Plan. As a Province, we held numerous engagements with the National Planning Commission to make inputs into the development of the National Development Plan. My Office also undertook consultations with various stakeholders in the three Districts to ensure that we solicit inputs and into the Plan.  

So, in 2012/13 financial year, we will be reviewing the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy with a view of initiating the development of the Mpumalanga Vision 2030.  This is a plan that will, among others, define the Province’s long term economic trajectory, a long-term human settlements plan, the Provincial Infrastructure Master Plan.  

Mpumalanga Vision 2030 will be underpinned by a strong spatial development perspective to guide the development of strategic economic nodes. After consultations and inputs from various stakeholders in the Province, we intend to finalise the Provincial Development Plan in December this year.  

Relating to the Mpumalanga Growth and Development Path, the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, in collaboration with the Office of the Premier, have concluded the framework and currently in the process of finalising the Programme of Action which will guide the implementation process of the Growth Path. The best part of this financial year will be dedicated towards the completion of this important piece of work.

The Five-Year Plan is already in place as a framework that guides the medium term strategic priorities and programme of the current Administration. Central to this framework is the articulation of programmes and outputs that must lead to the realisation of nationally agreed outcomes. We will continue to coordinate the effective implementation of Delivery Agreements to ensure that the whole Administration on key priorities and outcomes.

It is important to draw the attention of Members to the fact that the Five-Year Plan document is a living document due to the dynamic nature of the socio-economic and political environment, both internally and externally.  This plan is therefore reviewed annually to take on board emerging policy issues and implementation challenges on the ground.

This process is conducted annually so that, if there are fundamental policy shifts or far-reaching changes in the identified priorities, such changes could be aligned or accommodated timeously into the Plan.

As we speak, the Five-Year Plan is under review – an exercise that will be concluded before the end of the May month.

Honourable Speaker and Members, as we pointed out at the beginning of the term that research and innovation are indispensable parts of proper planning and policy development.  It is this understanding that caused the Office of the Premier to sign The Memorandum of Understanding with Statistics South Africa, so that we can build the requisite capacities in the field of research and development.

Currently, we are in the process of breathing life into the Memorandum of Understanding. In the upcoming financial year, we will be establishing a central hub for credible planning, development and performance information.

We will strengthen collaboration and partnerships with research institutions and various lead departments across a range of research field.  

We will finalize the knowledge and information management framework to put in place an effective central system to store, analyse, distribute and development information on key socio-economic development indicators.   

This year, we will prioritise the recruitment of personnel with the requisite skills to strengthen our capacity as the leading Office.

Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

Honourable Speaker and Members, we also submitted to this House in our previous Policy and Budget Speeches that Performance Monitoring and Evaluation of government work is another crucial area of our focus as the Office of the Premier.

We further indicated to Honourable Members that the performance analysis that the ANC-led government conducted about the impact of its services on the lives of people over the past fifteen years revealed that, inter alia, the monitoring and evaluation of such services leaves much to be desired.  

In essence, the analysis showed some telling weaknesses in this area of work, hence its prioritisation in the current administration.

A Ministry in the office of the Presidency was even established to demonstrate the seriousness of government towards turning this situation around for the better.

We further pointed out that the Presidency is already engaged in processes of developing Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Tools to be applied across all sphere of government.

There are three areas that government has identified to introduce its new approach of performance monitoring and evaluation assessment:

  • The first area looks at the implementation plans of government departments, both at national and provincial level– an area that is largely guided by the Delivery Agreements that are assigned between the President and Ministers, and between the Premier and MECs respectively. The tool for this area is dubbed the Programme of Action.  
  • The second area of focus is the performance of institutions around issues of overall management and leadership practices. The tool that will be utilised in this area is called the Management Performance Assessment Tool – MPAT in short.
  • The third identified area involves monitoring of frontline service delivery. The tool is called Frontline Service Delivery Monitoring Programme.  

Honourable Speaker, all these tools have now been completed to be put together and ready for implementation. As a Province, we were fortunate that we participated in the piloting period of all these important tools.

In 2012/13 financial year, the Office of the Premier will be engaged in processes of institutionalising all these tools and also drive a capacity building programme to enhance Monitoring and Evaluation in all departments and municipalities.

As an Office, we are convinced that, if these tools are applied to the letter, the impact of service delivery on our people will improve tremendously.

Target Groups

Honourable Speaker and Members, the Office of the Premier is also responsible for what we call ‘target groups’ – an area of work that involves vulnerable individuals of our society, of whom, the majority are women, children and persons with disabilities.

As we pointed out in the previous Budget and Policy Speeches, the biggest enemies that are confronting these groups involve, in the main, issues of abject poverty and unprecedented high levels of unemployment, including inequalities.  

We also pointed out that rural women, children and persons with disabilities bear the heavy brunt of these social ills.

We further asserted that, as an Office, we have to ensure that response of government to challenges of poverty and underdevelopment facing targeted groups must focus on providing comprehensive support to individual households.  

We emphasised the fact that government has to move away from the approach of looking at the entire forest but start to pay close attention to the individual trees because vulnerable groups are people who are normally bypassed by programmes of government within the same community identified as the ‘poverty pockets’, particularly in cases where monitoring and evaluation is weak or absent completely.

Honourable Speaker and Members, the Office of the Premier has been at work since the inception of this administration to date, making sure that it comes as close as possible to these challenges that are confronting the targeted groups.

More focus is paid on areas such as the economy, education and health. Our intention is to ensure that access to services of government is enhanced in all these identified areas for the targeted groups.

Our understanding is that, for these groups to grow and reach the first rung of the development ladder, government has to dedicate efforts on skills development, financial support, job creation and the development of cooperatives.

Therefore, as an office, we are keeping a very close eye on all Departments with a view of ensuring that most of their programmes incorporate the plight of the poorest of the poor. Our keen interests are in the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme, Early Child Development Programme and the National Health Insurance to mention but a few programmes.

Of critical importance, we intend to see Departments realigning and streamlining their programmes to accommodate the needs of the targeted groups.

In 2012/13 financial year, we intend to see different programmes pursued by different Departments around Youth Development, Early Childhood Development and Women development, including HIV and AIDs initiatives being integrated so that optimal impact could be made on the lives of the targeted groups and all the people falling outside these categories.

We are elevating HIV and AIDS beyond the targeted groups because of its prevalence in the Province. From this year going forward, the Provincial AIDS Council will now be coordinated by the Office of the Premier and chaired by the Premier himself.  

Monitoring and Evaluation will also be strengthened in this regard. The Office of the Premier intends to ensure, at all times, that the identified challenges affecting the targeted groups do not fall into cracks as government conduct its normal activities, particularly HIV and AIDs related issues.

Government Communication

Honourable Speaker and Members, the importance of government communication cannot be overemphasised. As a public institution, we remain accountable to the people who place us in these positions of power.

The public has not only given us a mandate to execute but also pay taxes to fund the execution of such a mandate.  

Therefore, our people have the right to know, from time to time, about the activities of government since they have to keep us in check as to whether or not we are still operating within the parameters of the mandated given to us.

As we indicated in the previous Policy and Budget Speeches, the Office of the Premier is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that government communication functions effectively.

The Office has to ensure that government messages across the Province are coherent and integrated at all times.

In the Policy and Budget Speech of 2011/12 financial year we committed ourselves to institutionalise the Provincial Government Communication Framework adopted by Cabinet in 2010 and also mobilise key stakeholders to participate in the implementation of this strategy.

Honourable Speaker and Members, I am pleased to announce to this House that the process of implementing this strategy has already taken off the ground.

Among other things:

  • Departments are busy aligning their individual strategy with Communication Framework.
  • The Executive Council has also decided to intensify its communication with the public by holding a press conference after every sitting of Council. All the media Houses in the Province are invited to participate in these briefings. It is quite an interactive exercise, I must say. What is more interesting is that the press is afforded the opportunity to interact with the entire Members of the Executive Council on matters of public interest.
  • We have also enhanced our media coverage of government events and programmes.

With regard to the Communication Summit that we promised to convene in the previous financial year, unfortunately that has not materialised due to Budget cuts that took place to accommodate the unforeseen flood disaster that befell the Province during the year under review.

Honourable Speaker and Members, other avenues that we use to strengthen overall government communication involve izimbizo and Cabinet outreach programmes.  

As we pointed out in previous Budget speeches, these platforms provide the electorate to interact directly with government on issues of development and service delivery.

Through these kinds of interactions, government is able to detect dire situation that demand immediate intervention – situations that might have escaped our ordinary systems used to identify challenges that are confronting our people on daily basis.

Over the past three years, we have made several interventions through Cabinet Outreach activities – interventions such as

  • building houses for the aged, child-headed households and persons with disabilities;
  • providing school uniform to the destitute learners
  • proving of food parcels to orphans and elderly citizens
  • secure ID documents, particularly for elderly people living in rural areas 

As an Office, we will continue to intensify and support this programme because it assists Cabinet to bring government closer to the people.

Equally so, Cabinet is also assisted in terms of understanding the concerns of the people that they lead much better.

Another idea that we mooted in the previous year to enhance government communication was the establishment of a Provincial Call Centre.

Unfortunately, things have not moved as fast as expected in this regard. We are still looking at different options that are cost effective in terms of running such a Centre.

In the meantime, we are still utilising the Presidential Hotline to interact with the public on issues that they wish to bring to the attention of government.

In 2012/13 financial year, the Office of the Premier will intensify the implementation of the Provincial Government Communication Strategy because the participation of our people in the activities of government is key not only to the ANC-led government but also for the purpose of deepening democracy in our country.

Integrated Security Management

Honourable Speaker, through the previous Policy and Budget Speech, we submitted to the this House our commitment to safeguard the integrity of the state by, among other things:

  • Maintaining high security standards and protocols;
  • Ensuring that government assets and classified information are protected; and
  • fighting fraud and corruption 

For us to be able to realise these objectives, we pointed out that the Office of the Premier has to conclude the process of centralising the security function which is currently disjointed, non-coherent and applying different standards.

To this end, the Office has managed to develop a Provincial Integrated Security Management Framework which Cabinet has already approved for implementation.

In the 2012/13 financial year, we will be finalising the implementation plan of this framework. However, what we wish this House to note is that, while the process of putting the Plan together is unfolding, we will be simultaneously continue to implement certain aspects of the Plan.

For instance:

  • Establish an internal Vetting Field Unit which will be vetting all Senior and Middle Managers, including officials employed in offices of the MECs, HODs, CFOs and Human Resource units; and
  • Begin the process of setting up the required security infrastructure in the entire Province.

As far as fraud and corruption is concerned, we did pronounce in the State of the Province that the Executive Council has approved the Provincial Anti-Corruption Strategy that will guide government initiatives meant to eradicate fraud and corruption.

With regard to the Anti-Corruption Council that we promised to establish in 2011/12 financial, I wish to indicate that the process moved slower than anticipated, however, we will be concluding on this matter before the end of the first quarter of 2012/13 financial year.

We are convinced that we will be able to set up this Council in the 2012/13 financial year, including the conclusion of 60% of all the received and reported cases of alleged fraud and corruption.  

Honourable Speaker, let me conclude by requesting this august House to approve the 2012/13 budget of R158,103,000.00 (one hundred and fifty eight million, one hundred and three thousand rand) - a Budget that will enable the Office of the Premier to take forward the process of implementing its mandate.  

Let me take this opportunity to thank the Members of the Legislature and the Executive Council for their support and guidance.  

I also wish to thank the Director General, all Senior Managers and staff members for making the Office of the Premier to remain focus on outcome 12 and other strategic issues.

On behalf of the OFFICE, I also wish to express my gratitude to all the stakeholders who are prepared to walk an extra mile with us in making Mpumalanga a place worth living in.

Together, we can do more.

I thank You

Issued by Office of the Premier, Mpumalanga Provincial Government

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