Guest Column

Developing a capable state requires commitment

2019-06-30 07:00
President Cyril Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

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Building a capable developmental state and its government with accountability, honesty and integrity will be the Presidency's focus, writes Jackson Mthembu.

Our strategic vision as outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) for this Sixth Administration delivered on 20 June 2019 in Parliament, reflects our commitment to achieving the status of a developmental state as envisioned in our National Development Plan (NDP) Vision 2030. The president reaffirmed the NDP as our lodestar approved by all parties in our society.

While progress on the implementation of our NDP targets has been slow particularly on the economic side, we reaffirm our commitment to achieving our goal of addressing challenges of inequality, poverty and unemployment and economic growth.

The seven priorities announced by the president emanating from our electoral mandate, will play a catalytic role in achieving a number of NDP targets in the next five years. Government departments will be measured according to their performance in achieving the following seven priority areas:

1.      Economic transformation and job creation

2.      Education, skills and health

3.      Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services

4.      Spatial integration, human settlements and local government

5.      Social cohesion and safe communities

6.      A capable, ethical and developmental state

7.      A better Africa and world

Our new Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for 2019 – 2024, which includes resourcing, social compacts and accountability mechanisms have a limited set of priorities emanating from our electoral mandate. This new implementation paradigm is a radical shift to a comprehensive framework inclusive of resourcing, integration of all public sector institutions, social partners, accountability mechanisms. This informs all levels of government planning through an integrated planning framework.

The new MTSF now combines a 5-year NDP Implementation Plan with a revamped integrated monitoring system and accountability framework – ministerial/DG performance agreement with clear targets and milestones. It will incorporate resourcing through private sector investment, development finance institutions and SOEs and public entities' roles. It further outlines the budget prioritisation framework, labour movement's involvement on the skills revolution and civil society in promoting participatory democracy.

It will put more emphasis on social partnerships resources and skills deployment by the private sector and government. It allows for a clear line of sight for the president, Cabinet and Parliament. The 5-year NDP implementation priorities will also be spatially referenced, in accordance with the National Spatial Development Framework and will be monitored through an implementation delivery model based on district municipalities.

The NDP 5-Year Implementation Plan forms the basis for departmental strategic plans and annual performance plans. The structure of government including Cabinet clusters, ministerial and technical implementation fora for coordination and implementation will be streamlined for better results and effective delivery.

Similarly, early in this Sixth Parliament we will be presenting the proposed Integrated Planning Framework, which will ensure better integration across all levels of government. We will be further outlining the implementation model (similar to Operation Sukuma Sakhe in KwaZulu-Natal) which will also spatially reference project monitoring at district municipalities for all levels of government and private sector.

The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) has already spearheaded a Public Private Sector Growth Initiative (PPGI) to promote economic growth and create jobs. The private sector has committed investment of R840bn in 43 projects in over 19 sectors of the economy to create 155 000 jobs in the next five years. As government, we have committed to prioritise the elimination of growth inhibitors or binding constraints to ensure successful implementation of these projects.  

We further commit to a robust community engagement and consultation programme through the various Izimbizo programmes involving the president and ministers and will include this in ministerial performance agreements. We will ensure that government departments prioritise payment of their debt to each other, to municipalities, to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the payment of service providers within 30 days. We will also revive Operation Masakhane to encourage our communities to pay for services they receive and restore the culture of payment.

We are broadening our monitoring system to include frontline service delivery monitoring, citizen-based monitoring, community-based monitoring and more effective use of presidential hotline. All these will be linked to our programme of action and its biannual review weeks linked to performance assessments of ministers, deputy ministers, and directors general. 

A capable developmental state requires effectively coordinated state institutions with skilled public servants who are committed to the public good and capable of delivering consistently high-quality services, while prioritising the nation's developmental objectives.

We will ensure the appointment of the head of public administration as espoused in the NDP 2030 by April 2020 to spearhead the professionalisation of the public service and move to making appointments of head of departments more permanent to promote stability in the public service. We must also enhance the role of a national school of government to capacitate the entire public service for the successful implementation of our seven priorities with the necessary skills and competence.

Developing a capable state requires commitment in overcoming corruption and lack of accountability and this needs a strong political will, sound policies and active citizenry. Therefore, we will ensure an improvement in financial and performance management and audit outcomes for all levels of government with targeted increase of unqualified and clean audit outcomes in five years. Similarly, we shall ensure the promotion of ethics and integrity management throughout the public service and private sector and enhance capacity of law enforcement agencies to fight corruption and crime.

To invoke the profound words of our iconic writer, the late Prof Es'kia Mphahlele, whose centenary we celebrate this year:

"Everybody who is willing to work and has a nation-building vision rather than aspirations for a sectional power-base should be allowed to come forward and contribute ideas and hands."

With these words, I call upon all South Africans to join hands with us in pursuit of a better and more prosperous South Africa. It is a new dawn – let us rise to its promise.

- Mthembu is Minister in the Presidency.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. 

Read more on:    jackson mthembu  |  new dawn  |  presidency
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