Zuma turns up the heat

2010-09-27 00:00

SHODDY government departments and slack service delivery are expected to receive attention from the highest office in the country following yesterday’s announcement by President Jacob Zuma that his office has devised a programme for him to visit government departments to monitor and evaluate the work being done at the site of service delivery.

Speaking at a press conference held in Durban yesterday, Zuma said the planned programme is going to enable him to meet staff in these departments and share the vision for the renewal of government.

Presidential spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the visits will be informed by the Presidential Hotline, which means that departments and areas that register too many complaints will be targeted.

Zuma’s announcement comes days after the ANC held its successful national general council (NGC) in Durban where the party and the government’s performance were subjected to intense review by delegates from ANC branches across the country.

After the NGC, the ANC announced that there will be a renewal of the party, which will run concurrently with the renewal of government.

Announcing the new programme, Zuma said: “We will, from November until the middle of 2011, undertake site visits around the country for hands-on monitoring of service delivery. For example, we will visit the best and the worst hospital, police station, Home Affairs office, social grants paypoints and others. This will enable us to celebrate achievements and assist those lagging behind to perform better and faster.”

Zuma said the past year has been spent working with ministers to clarify their roles and expectations, desired outcomes, timeframes and targets.

At the press conference he made no mention of the reshuffling of his cabinet and alleged axing of under-performing ministers, as had been predicted by a Sunday newspaper.

Ministers signed performance agreements with the president in April.

“They have currently been negotiating delivery agreements with their partners at local and national level. In the coming weeks I will be meeting various ministers to obtain feedback on the conclusion of these delivery agreements … This is important because we should now move actively into the implementation phase,” Zuma said.

He said that after the NGC, the mood in the country has become more positive “because any perceived tension within the ANC affects all our people”.

Referring to fears that the country might change its “mixed economy” system policy after the NGC, following a proposal from the ANC Youth League for adopting a policy on the nationalisation of mines, Zuma assured investors that there are no plans for economic change in the pipeline.

“The NGC decided that the national executive committee of the ANC must do investigations and comparative studies … on the ANCYL proposal on the nationalisation of mines. A document will then be drafted and presented at the policy conference of the ANC in 2012, which will then, if successful, be put before our 2012 elective conference for discussion.

“Our policy is clear — it’s a mixed economy and nobody should doubt us on that. People must make cogent and scientific arguments for us to change from our current policy,” Zuma declared.

Kodwa said there is no plan to reshuffle the cabinet and that the president has not yet identified the underperforming departments.

“The president will soon embark on visits to departments that are in the forefront of service provision like Home Affairs, post offices, hospitals and clinics …

“The essence of this programme is hands-on monitoring and evaluation to identify whether departments are doing well or underperforming. This will be informed by complaints that come through the presidential hotline,” Kodwa said.

The visits are going to be unannounced or announced shortly before the president embarks on them in order to ensure that shortcomings are not dealt with quickly in anticipation of his visit.

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