Has govt achieved 2010 goals?

2011-01-08 00:00

AS all eyes focus on Polokwane, Limpopo this weekend, where President Jacob Zuma will deliver this year’s January 8 statement, the multi-million-dollar question is did the government manage to implement the goals it set for itself in the 2010 January 8 statement?

Central to Zuma’s January 8 statement last year was a promise to “build a development state” to ensure the implementation of the ANC’s five 2009 election manifesto priorities.

The ANC committed itself to building a state that is democratic, people-driven and people-centred and “to pursue a sustained development based on an inclusive growth path” through the creation of more jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihoods, improving the quality of education and health care for all, promoting rural development and combating crime and corruption.

Job creation

Despite the reported recovery from the 2009 economic downturn, little improvement has been achieved as more jobs were lost last year. International trends show that after a recession, job recoveries take between eight and 22 months to materialise.

Consequently, according to the Labour Department’s report on job losses, economists argue that the South African government’s goal to halve unemployment and poverty by 2014 might not materialise since the effects of the economic recession are still felt in the labour market. Unemployment rates are estimated at over 25% and the number of economically inactive people increased from over 13 million in 2009 to over 14 million last year.

Education

Promises that “teachers will be in class on time teaching for seven hours a day” did not materialise. National strike-related disruptions at schools and the trend of not sticking to prescribed working hours is prevalent mostly at schools from previously disadvantaged communities.

Although there was an improvement on the matric pass rate last year — from 60,7% in 2009 to 67,8% last year — matric results should not be the only means used to gauge the level of improvement in education.

Health

Another broken promise made by President Zuma during his January 8 statement last year was that the “NHI [national health insurance] will be implemented this year”.

During the ANC’s national general council (NGC) in Durban, it was announced that NHI implementation would only begin in 2012.

There is still dissatisfaction from communities on the level of health care received at public hospitals and long queues at public health institutions still persists.

Planning, monitoring and evaluation

However, the building of planning capacity and the creation of monitoring and evaluation capacity within the presidency needs to be hailed as a genuine step towards ensuring that public representatives put in government positions account for work or lack thereof in their departments.

Rural development

A lot still needs to be done to ensure that development reaches the poorest of the poor — the rural communities. It remains a mystery when government will actually conclude its land restitution commitment as after 16 years there should be no excuses on failure to resolve this delicate issue.

Crime and corruption

Much positive work was done in the fight against crime and corruption. Significant amongst these was the launch of the Justice and Constitutional Affairs anti-corruption campaign which took place in Pietermaritzburg towards the end of last year. The establishment of the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) by Zuma also played an active role in uprooting corruption.

Despite the fact that there was a reported reduction in violent crimes and cash-in-transit heists, a lot still needs to be done in the struggle against crime.

Alliance

Amidst promises “to build and defend our revolutionary alliance”, unity and improved working relations continued to elude the ANC-led alliance last year despite the commitment made at last year’s January 8 statement address. Disagreements over the new growth path (NGP) also revealed tensions between the ANC and its allies — the SACP and worker’s union Cosatu.

 

 

TEXT BOX

EVERY year on January 8, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) holds its anniversary celebrations. From the days when the ANC was still a liberation movement in exile during the struggle against apartheid, it used the day to launch its programme of action for that particular year. The celebrations are accompanied by the issuing of a document called the January 8 Statement which reflects on what the ANC intends to do in that particular year.

Since the ANC has been in government for the past 16 years, the January 8 Statement has arguably became the most important document in the year’s calendar for all the people in the country.

Most of government’s activities are informed by the content of the January 8 Statement including the presidential state of the nation address, the national budgets as well as government departments’ annual programmes

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