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Date:14/02/2007 Source: Department of Public Service and Administration Title: Media Briefing: Governance and Administration Cluster media briefing by Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi
Governance and Administration Cluster Media Briefing on the Programme of Action
The Governance and Administration (G&A) Cluster strives to improve the quality of life of the people by improving the capacity and organisation of the state and its underlying systems. The Cluster's priorities derive from Government's commitment to improve its service to the people. The need to strengthen public service capacity and systems to monitor implementation will keep the issue of the organisation and capacity of the state high on our agenda during this year and beyond.
The President in his State of the Nation Address alluded to some of the key steps that will be undertaken by the Cluster in the second half of the term of government: * strengthening monitoring and evaluation capacity * completion of legislation, norms and standards, remuneration policy, medical aid and pension arrangements for the single public service * outreach and development on the National Spatial Development Perspective * conducting capacity assessments in provincial departments of local government and Offices of the Premier * intensifying the public sector and national anti-corruption campaign; * rolling out Batho Pele at local government level, outreach activities including izimbizo and establishing more Thusong Service Centres (MPCCs) and * providing support to the institution of traditional leadership.
The Cluster report to the January 2007 Cabinet Lekgotla encompassed reports on the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA) capacity assessments carried out by the Cluster and on the implementation of the Local Government Strategic Agenda. Also presented to the Lekgotla were reports on the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) and plans to establish a Public Sector Academy. An update on the G&A Cluster work of Department of Home Affairs is also provided.
The Cluster's capacity assessments focused on departments and projects that are making a significant contribution to AsgiSA, in order to equip the developmental state to deliver on government's socio-economic objectives. The assessments identified service delivery blockages and recommended measures to address them.
The Department of Transport is currently finalising a major strategy on Public Transport. The Cluster undertook an assessment of the capacity of the Department of Transport to implement the draft strategy. The preliminary assessment indicates that the capacity of the national Department and district municipalities in particular needs strengthening. Once the strategy is finalised, a full capacity assessment will be conducted.
The President indicated in his State of the Nation Address that further practical action would be taken to improve access to micro-financing. This follows the Cluster's assessment of the capacity of government's micro-lending institutions (the South African Micro-Finance Apex Fund SAMAF, operated by the Department of Trade and Industry dti, and the Micro-Agricultural Finance Scheme of South Africa MAFISA, administered by the Department of Agriculture). Both institutions have been under considerable pressure since commencing operations last year, owing to the demand for their services. The projects will be aligned with service delivery initiatives such as Thusong Service Centres (MPCCs) and the Community Development Worker (CDW) Programme.
Also under pressure were the mining and petroleum licensing processes at the Department of Minerals and Energy, where a significant increase in the demand for licences was experienced. The Cluster's assessment concluded that the re-engineering of the processes is not required, but Cabinet agreed that the regional offices of the Department and their management should be strengthened.
The Cluster was also requested to conducted assessments of the Departments of Minerals and Energy, Agriculture and the provincial economic departments. The most pressing issues that emerged are the remuneration of professionals in the public service and the need for consistent grading of similar jobs across the public service to avoid job-hopping, concerns which will be addressed in the draft Remuneration Policy of the Department of Public Service and Administration (the dpsa). As the President indicated in his State of the Nation Address, the remuneration dispensation of medical professionals is receiving attention.
Public servants are in certain instances influenced to leave a department because of working conditions. Where there are staff shortages, workloads are often heavy. The Cluster will be conducting an investigation into reasons for terminations (resignations, transfers etc) in the public service. Provincial economic departments will be assessed in terms of their service delivery models, the functional configuration of departments and their organisational structures.
Government Employees Medical Scheme
The Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) is the fastest growing medical scheme in South Africa and is already the sixth largest scheme in the country. It provides comprehensive medical cover for public servants, and has successfully extended cover to many of those in the lower ranks who previously did not have access to medical aid. GEMS now has more than 90 000 employees registered and covers over 270 000 people in total. Over 50% of its members were not previously accessing the medical aid subsidy and the Sapphire option, which is fully subsidised for the lowest earners, has recorded a 350% growth rate over the past three months.
GEMS is an innovative measure that improves the health and well-being of public servants, thereby increasing productivity levels, while also attracting new recruits by way of an attractive employee benefit. In so doing, GEMS assists government in ensuring 'that the public sector discharges its responsibilities as a critical player in the growth, reconstruction and development of our country.' (President Mbeki, State of the Nation Address, 9 February 2007).
The implementation of GEMS is multifaceted and not limited to public sector Human Resources. The Scheme has contracted the various Provincial Departments of Health and created new revenue streams in the public sector, thereby allowing for additional resources to be allocated to members of the Second Economy.
Public Service Academy
In his State of the Nation Address the President highlighted public service capacity development for effective service delivery as a critical priority. Towards this end, the Cabinet has recently approved the reconstitution of the South African Management Development Institute (samdi) as a Public Service Academy, with the primary aim of increasing several-fold the scale of public service training at national, provincial and local level.
One of the Academy's first deliverables will be induction training for the 100 000 new public servants taken into service every year. The training, primarily occurring at sites in the provinces, will foster a professional ethos and awareness of the role of the public service in tackling the challenges facing a developmental state.
The Academy will shift decisively away from samdi's present emphasis on providing training itself, to co-ordinating of the provision of training by a great variety of external providers – from higher and further education, provincial academies, and the private sector. The training will be aligned to government's needs by the Academy's formulating the curricula and materials, getting the course accredited under the national qualifications framework, and monitoring the quality of the courses provided.
In addition, it will co-ordinate practically-oriented executive development programmes for the senior management service, in collaboration with higher education institutions and international counterparts.
Progress with Support Interventions for Local Government
In his State of the Nation Address, the President indicated that government's programmes aimed at improving the capacity of the local government system are continuing apace. In this regard the Cluster focused in 2006 on the implementation of Project Consolidate and the Five Year Local Government Strategic Agenda. Both these local government support interventions are firmly rooted in the intergovernmental relations framework, which enabled government to better mobilise and organise national and provincial government to the task of mainstreaming hands-on support to municipalities.
281 experts were deployed to 85 Project Consolidate municipalities by the end of 2006. Key benefits of these deployments included:
a) The augmenting of technical, financial, planning, project management and other specialist skills in targeted municipalities.
b) Service delivery has been accelerated through the unblocking of blocked projects.
c) Local Economic Development strategies are in the process of being compiled or have been finalised.
d) Financial systems have been established, audit queries addressed and in a number of municipalities revenue income has been substantially improved.
e) Key stakeholders outside of government are now involved in supporting local government in a much better organised manner, e.g. Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the engineering profession, Institute of Municipal Finance Officers (IMFO), Old Mutual Group, etc.
The IDP engagements in 2006 were aimed at supporting municipalities to develop and implement credible Integrated Development Plans (IDPs). These countrywide sessions contributed to an improved national IDP adoption rate of 98% by the end of 2006, which is a massive improvement on previous years. Efforts are continuing to ensure improvement in the quality and credibility of the IDPs. National government now has a more accurate sense of which provinces and municipalities require greater attention and support. All metros have adopted Lpcal Economic Development (LED) plans and 40 out of 46 districts also have these plans in place. Growth and Development Summits have been convened in 26 out of the 52 metros and districts. The outstanding number will complete this process by the end of March 2007.
Government's programme to build the institutional capacity of municipalities was a priority in 2006 and will remain a priority over the medium term. Implementation of the regulations on Municipal Performance Management that were issued in 2006 is being closely monitored. The Department of Provincial and Local Government (dplg) will be working closely with provincial MECs responsible for local government to ensure compliance with these regulations and addressing the critical challenges of high vacancies and unsigned Performance Agreements in specific municipalities.
Steady progress has been made in broadening access to basic municipal services in our communities against the targets set in key service delivery areas. For example, regarding access to water and sanitation it can be reported that over the last two years:
* The number of total national households with access to water between 2004 and 2006 has increased by 540 660 households. The backlog was reduced by 12%.
* The number of indigents and poor households with access to free basic water increased to 85% in 2006, compared to the 55% in 2004.
* Between February 2005 and November 2006, over 110 000 sanitation bucket systems have been eradicated. The plan to eradicate the remaining buckets is on target for December 2007 and priority provinces have been identified (i.e. the Free State, North West and the Northern Cape).
The Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) is a key instrument for addressing municipal infrastructure and basic services backlogs. The rate at which the total MIG allocation of R6.25bn for 2006/7 has been spent has been uneven across the country. There have been many examples of improved spending and other instances of poor capacity to spend in our municipalities. A process of reallocating MIG funds between municipalities (as provided for in the Division of Revenue Act, 2006) has been adopted with the primary intention of using available funds in the most efficient manner to eradicate backlogs in municipalities which have demonstrated capacity to spend. At the same time various measures to strengthen the ability of poor spending municipalities to better spend their MIG funds are being instituted.
The Presidential Imbizo Programme of 2005 and 2006 was also a critical part of an intergovernmental approach to working with municipalities, and it was consciously designed and managed to improve the support interventions of national and provincial government in municipalities. Over the last two years, 27 Presidential Izimbizo were held covering 56% of all municipalities and 73% of all the Project Consolidate municipalities. The Izimbizo sharpened government's focus on the importance of Ward Committees as the primary vehicle for local governance and community participation. In this regard, by the end of 2006, over 80% of all Ward Committees have been established across the country.
Strengthening the financial viability and capability of our municipalities also received special attention in 2006. At least 60 municipalities were supported on financial management systems, policies and procedures – through the assistance of National Treasury, Institute of Financial Management (IMFO), the Charted Accountants profession and Siyenza Manje.
A separate briefing will be convened by the Ministry for Provincial and Local Government in the next three weeks that will address in greater detail some of the key lessons arising from Project Consolidate and recent work that was concluded in the 21 urban and rural development nodes.
Community Development Workers
Since the inception of the Community Development Worker (CDW) Programme in 2003, 4 160 CDW learners have been recruited and deployed to municipalities. 2 672 of these have subsequently been employed by provincial departments of local government. A further 526 will be employed by March and 620 new recruits are currently in the learnership. Recruitment of a further 1 000 learners is planned for this financial year. Most provinces have established sound structures to support the programme, while some are constrained by budgetary limitations. This year CDWs will be trained on co-operatives to enable them to mobilise and train communities on this type of business entity. By March, all provinces will have received this training.
Department of Home Affairs (DHA)
Intervention Support Task Team
The President in his State of the Nation Address last week alluded to measures aimed at bringing the operations of DHA to full capacity. The Intervention Support Task Team appointed by the Minister of Home Affairs last June has now completed its work on the organisational and systemic problems facing the department. DHA is currently working on a new organisational model aimed at the reorganisation of the department and ensuring capacity to carry out its mandate. The Minister of Home Affairs will make further pronouncements on the implementation of the recommendations of the task team in due course.
Access to services
In order to provide more accessible services to communities, over and above the traditional offices (provincial, regional and district offices), DHA also currently provides services through multi-channels. These include Thusong Service Centres (MPCCs), Traditional Authorities, Local Authorities, the Vital Registration Project and ad hoc services, such as the rendering of services on receipt of requests from communities, schools, old age homes, etc by means of mobile units or temporary service points.
In addition, as part of the Cluster's drive to expand access to services, DHA has identified suitable office locations in areas where the department is not represented. DHA plans to establish 172 locations nationally. For 2007 it is intended to establish 13% of the 172 offices in the locations identified nationally. New construction, leasing, existing state-owned buildings and MPCCs will be utilised.
Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS)
DHA also plays a role in the Cluster's e-government service delivery projects through the HANIS system. Most of the programmes that form part of the HANIS are now at advanced stage or completed. The population of HANIS will allow for on-line verification of citizens, which can be extended to other government services. The completion of the HANIS project will lay a basis for the future introduction of the Smart Identity Card which seeks to replace the current green bar-coded identity documents.
2007 Cluster Programme of Action
The Cluster has developed a Programme of Action, which takes forward the ongoing projects of the Cluster as well as new projects emanating from the Lekgotla and the State of the Nation Address. The Cluster has four priorities:
* promoting good governance * strengthening the capacity of the state * achieving and maintaining the optimal organisation of the state * developing and enhancing the state's transversal systems. Good governance
The anti-corruption initiatives of the Cluster include the implementation of the recently launched local government anti-corruption strategy and the development of anti-corruption norms and standards for a single public service.
As part of the anti-corruption initiatives South Africa will be hosting the Africa Forum on Fighting Corruption from 28 February to 2 March 2007, as a precursor to the Global Forum V on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity which will be hosted by South Africa in April 2007. The Forum will inter alia provide a platform to discuss societal values, national integrity systems as well as the role of leadership in promoting ethical values in all sectors of society.
The Gender Equality Strategy and Job-Access Strategy to promote the employment of disabled people in the public service will be implemented. Batho Pele programmes for this year include support to departments in the development of Service Delivery Improvement Plans and the setting of service standards. Currently less than 50% of departments have such plans. Public participation will be boosted by the Imbizo Programme and through Ward Committees at local level.
Capacity of the state
The Five Year Local Government Strategic Agenda aims to provide, amongst others, hands-on support to local government by national and provincial governments and the deployment of experts to municipalities. Performance monitoring systems, monitoring systems and a competency framework will be introduced. The Local Government Skills Audit will be undertaken this year, and baseline information per municipality and an outline of competency gaps will be developed by the end of the year. A National Training and Development Strategy for Local Government will be put in place.
The dplg will report to Parliament on the implementation of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act. A support programme for the Institution of Traditional Leaders will be implemented. An amendment to the Municipal Systems Act and regulations for the Municipal Property Rates Act will be developed.
The Public Service Skills Database will be rolled out to 20 departments and a Local Government Database will be rolled out to 24 municipalities this year. A revised Public Service Human Resource Development (HRD) Strategy will be developed this year and competency assessments for senior managers will be implemented in the public service. The samdi will develop a strategy for the national co-ordination of learning frameworks and will roll out courses on supply chain management, anti-corruption, gender, disability and monitoring and evaluation (M&E). The Accelerated Development Programme for Middle Managers will be implemented in a further six departments.
Macro-organisation of the State
The President identified the Single Public Service as an area for concerted action in the next eighteen months. Draft legislation has been developed and will be consulted upon during this year. Norms and standards for human resource management will be developed. An investigation into medical aid will be conducted and a remuneration policy for the Single Public Service will be developed. Integrated service delivery infrastructure will continue to be rolled out, in particular Thusong Service Centres and Home Affairs offices and mobile units. A strategy to expand citizens' access to services will be implemented jointly by an inter-departmental team. Various projects aimed at increasing the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by government officials and citizens are being implemented, including Home Affairs' Track and Trace system for tracing documents in the system.
Work is continuing on the harmonisation of national, provincial and local-level planning. The principles of the National Spatial Development Perspective (NSDP) will be applied in 10 targeted districts and metros, while outreach and awareness programmes for the NSDP will be conducted. Policy for the Government-wide M&E System will be developed and the Presidency is developing Impact Indicators as part of the enhancement of existing M&E systems. The dpsa is consolidating information on performance indicators.
Issued by: Department of Public Service and Administration 14 February 2007