Zille prioritises skills, efficiency

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille presented her department’s budget, in which she prioritised developing skills and improving efficiency in provincial government.

Zille today told the provincial legislature the department of the premier would work hard to ensure the National Development Plan (NDP) succeeded.

The department received a 14.15% increase in its budget, taking it to R853.8 million in 2013/2014.

Zille’s department is divided into five programmes – executive and administrative support, province-wide strategic management, human capital, the centre for e-innovation, and corporate assurance.

Zille said the provincial government realised the need for a co-ordinated international strategy.

“We will be introducing our new international relations strategy soon, which will focus on strengthening our strategic partnerships with our traditional markets and new countries, in particular, the Brics [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa group of countries] and emerging markets in Africa,” she said.

One of the key strategies for the department was to make the Western Cape the green economy hub of Africa.

The province would also have a human rights strategy.

“An issue that is extremely important to me is ensuring that people living with disabilities are not discriminated against and are provided with the opportunities needed to live fulfilling lives that they value,” she said.

The focus would be to help disabled people with education and employment.

Another programme which would be boosted was the Provincial Training Institute (PTI). During the previous financial year, 6 449 employees participated in training programmes at the PTI in Kromme Rhee, which was an increase of nearly 2 000 employees from 2011/2012 figures.

A total of 3 448 officials completed training on anti-corruption, delivered on an e-learning platform. The Centre for e-Innovation, which is responsible for implementing the provincial ICT delivery plan, had been allocated R482.2m, an increase of R62.4m.

“Our government will continue building and maintaining Cape Access e-community centres, which provide computer and internet facilities in disadvantaged areas,” she said.

Seven new centres would be built during 2013/2014 in Bredasdorp, Grabouw, Plettenberg Bay (two centres), Worcester, Hawston, and Mossel Bay.

“Like the NDP, we recognise the critical importance of a competent, qualified, non-partisan public service that is not subjected to political patronage,” she said.

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