Budget Vote for the North West Provincial Legislature by Honourable Speaker, Ms Thandi Modise, 2007/08
Honourable Deputy Speaker
Our Executive Management and Employees
Ladies and gentlemen
On this occasion, I thought it would be appropriate to re-echo the words in the preamble of the Constitution of our beautiful Country that:
We, the people of South Africa,
Recognise the injustices of our past,
Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land,
Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country and
Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.
We therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights. Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law. Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.
May God protect our people.
Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika. Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso.
God seën Suid-Afrika. God bless South Africa.
Mudzimu fhatutshedza Afurika. Hosi katekisa Africa.
I therefore once again stand before this esteemed House to present our budget speech for 2007/08 in our endeavour as freely elected representatives to "Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights" as our Constitution of 1996 dictates to all of us.
Our esteemed House offers us, as freely elected representatives, an exclusive moment to determine whether, for the past 12 months, we have betrayed the overwhelming aspirations of our people or have we progressed to inflict an indelible dent on the injustices of the past in pursuit of a "Better Life for All." In addition, today is also a special moment to critically reflect by engaging in introspection upon our achievements, failures and our immediate and long term challenges to ensure that the popular will of our people as encapsulated in our supreme law of the land becomes a reality.
It is our shared dream that as we collectively march forward in pursuit to realise the dictates of our Constitution of 1996, tomorrow will be better than yesterday and today, because of our memorable gains of twelve years of a democratic government, we remain inspired by our collective efforts that the season upon us will continue to usher in a beacon of hope for a better future. I am therefore reminded that during the past years nothing could justify the conclusion, similar to the one of Macbeth, a tragedy portrait by William Shakespeare reached, that any of your yesterdays has only served to guide fools to avoid catastrophe.
In the previous year, within the context of one of our primary mandates of public participation we reached 80% of our expenditure. In other words, we continue to make good strides through sectoral parliaments such as youth, women, older people, disabled people, workers, HIV and AIDS, human rights and other issues that we may deem relevant to involve all sectors of our communities to raise awareness.
In Committees which most importantly focuses on public hearings, study tours by our Honourable Members and the overall oversight functions, which is also one of our primary mandate we reached 95% expenditure. To ensure that the public profile of the Legislature is enhanced, a matter that all of us honestly complained about in the past, we have exceeded our expectation by reaching 97% expenditure.
The following explicitly indicates that we have performed as promised when we appeared before the ever-hard working Portfolio Committee on Premier and Legislature:
Office of the Speaker, 92,10%
Office of the Secretary 87,03%
Internal Audit 69,38%
Finance: CFO 78,25%
Financial Transactions: 94,27%
Income and Budgeting 93,88%
Corporate Services: 74,28%
Office Support: 90,03%
Human Capital Services: 82,75 %
Members' Salaries: 91,60%
Exposure to Parliament: 75,49
National Council of Province (NCOP): 56,47%
Learning and Knowledge Man: 78,51%
Total Vote Expenditure: 79,69%
All these remarkable percentages, with the exception of the NCOP, interpreted comprehensively clearly indicates that our collective dream of inflicting an indelible dent on the injustices of the past will gradually become a permanent beaming face with confidence of our people in recognition of our good progress towards addressing their genuine aspirations.
For 2007/08 financial year, the Legislature was allocated a total budget of R97 298 000. This amount is divided into three programmes which consist of administration, members' salaries and parliamentary operations. This is a decrease of 23,4% over the previous financial year's budget of R127 014 million. This amount is allocated as follows to the various programmes of the legislature:
Programme 1: Administration
An amount of R59 701 000 has been provided for the Administration Programme. The programme provides funding for the Speaker, Secretary, Finance, Corporate Services and Internal Audit.
Programme 2: Members salaries
This programme is allocated an amount of R14 165 000 for the payment of salaries of Members of the Legislature. It is a statutory programme, because this money is disbursed in terms of the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers Act 20 of 1998.
A point should be made that in respect to the proposal by Moseneke Commission to the President of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) about salary increments for elected representatives, we foresee not to encounter any problem on whatever decision is made, because this is a statutory matter. In other words, whatever will emerge out of the current discussions between all interested parties about our rightfully deserved increment and which will thereafter be approved by the President of our Country, will be implemented in all respect.
Ke lo kopa gore lo none pelo ka mathe. Bayang pelo bagaetsho. Ons vra u hartlik om langmoedig te wees.
Programme 3: Parliamentary operations
The budget allocated for this programme is R23 432 000. This programme provides funding for Members' Support for the secretarial and constituency allowance, the hosting allowance, and expenditure on committee work regarding oversight activities such as dealing with annual reports, oversight visits and public hearings on legislation. This programme will in due course be divided into Members' Support and Committee Work. Other activities funded under this Programme are:
* expenditure towards NCOP activities
* workshops, conferences and seminars that Members of the Legislature attend and exploratory visits to other countries, including national and international conferences
* the review of the effectiveness of legislation passed by the Legislature since 1994
* sectoral Parliaments as a form of increasing public participation in the activities of the Legislature within particular sectors of our society;
* organising activities, such as the back to school campaign and the adopt-a-school and donate a flag campaigns
* for committees such as public hearings and oversight for Members of Parliament (MPL).
The Legislature is in the process of introducing an Integrated Finance, Human Resource and Procurement system to replace the current obsolete systems such as, Walker and Persal, which are not compatible with each other.
It is worth emphasising that, after we engaged in budget processes, where all different units of the Legislature were involved, we reached a realistic budget figure of R118 527 000 which we then presented to Provincial Treasury as per Treasury Regulations and the Public Finance Management Act of 1999.
Unfortunately, because of barrage of various challenges to our entire province, which inevitably had a negative effect on the final allocation of our departments and quasi government institutions, our budget was reduced to R97 298 000.
A point that requires mentioning in this respect, we are told by Treasury, is that due to the shortfall that resulted from the financial impact of demarcation, all of us had to face the consequence of budget cut. The areas that were affected are the following:
Programmes: Legislature Operations
Areas: Compensation of employees
Areas: Goods and services: 26,5%
It is with a huge sense of relief as today marks the end of "we have always done it in this way" as Keats put it in his poem: To Hope and it marks the beginning of a moment different to any other. After 12 years, we now have a set of policies intended to harmonise work relations ranging from work place harassment, HIV and AIDS, risk management, disciplinary procedure, recruitment, asset management disposal and supply chain management which in part empowers the Speaker to act within the law, e.g. "Where computer equipment is to be disposed of, the relevant Department of Education should be approached to make arrangements for free transfer of such assets to educational institution." (Legislature Supply Chain Management policy).
Approximately 450 computers with minor deficiencies and others not with Pentium four will be donated to needy schools by the beginning of the second quarter of 2007. My office will ensure that the necessary interaction with the office of the Member responsible for Education ensues in earnest to expedite this matter.
We recognised that life in an institution such as our Legislature has also produced in the past many years variable new challenges which necessarily required our well-thought intervention. The challenges required the objective perspective of management, general employees as well as the brilliant flashes of vision wise leadership provides. In the process, we became acutely mindful that if our institution is over-managed but under-led, it would eventually lose any sense of spirit or purpose.
A poorly managed institution with a strong, charismatic leader may soar briefly only to crash shortly thereafter. Malpractice can be as damaging and unethical for managers and the general employees as for physicians or sportspeople. Myopic managers or over zealous leaders usually harm more than just themselves.
It is in this context that we will continue to recruit versatile and flexible employees who are artists as well as analysts, who can reframe experience to discover new issues and possibilities. In other words, the urge to recruit managers and the general employees who love their work, their institution and the people whose lives they affect will remain unstoppable. Similarly, we need employees who appreciate management as a moral and ethical undertaking. We need managers who combine hard-headed realism with passionate commitment to larger societal values and collective purposes. But if we tirelessly endeavour to encourage and nurture such qualities and possibilities, the Policy Manual I have already mentioned within the workplace should become a bed-rock of our Legislature.
It will be a disservice on my part if I do not elaborate on our long-term inspirational intention to empower or capacitate not only the individual Honourable member, but to develop, through your indulgence, what I have coined as a "Golden Ring" of expertise around each and every chairperson of a Committee. In simple words, a chairperson of a Committee should have be a basic legal, research, budget analyst, with the support of both the committee administrator and administrative assistant who are already in place.
In essence, this approach we are optimistic will enable us to manage Committee political workflow demands. We will become "working political managers" managing socio-economic and political workflow demands on the boundaries between departments, community expectations, the general socio-economic and political imperatives of our province and making things work effectively and efficiently within the broad parameters of our Constitutional mandate of law making, public participation and oversight.
I am inclined to restate that this approach will also present us with a unique opportunity to be a "working political manager" who knows the expectations of the province and if need be of the country, inside out, is comfortable with fluidity and recognises that different parts should be made to fit into an integrated whole.
Our success in this respect will surely depend upon planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation including expertise. Astute politicians should recognise that extraordinary efforts are required to attain and sustain our young democracy and an efficient and effective Chairperson of a Committee is a must. With an in-depth understanding of our socio-economic and political environment, we are bound to resolve inherent contradictions and ambiguities within our communities.
Within this financial year (2007/08) we will conclude on the process for the Speaker as the Executing Authority of the Legislature to exercise treasury functions. We are hopeful that this process will inevitably safeguard the autonomy of the Legislature and clearly illustrate the separation of powers as stated in the Constitution of our Country. For the Legislature to exercise its treasury functions is sacrosanct as per the tradition of all developed democracies as it was prophesied by Montesquieu, a political thinker and social commentator who occupied a prominent role during the enlightenment period around eighteen century and founded the notion of trias politicas separation of powers. Central to this process of exercising the treasury functions is our endeavour towards implementing a human resource, financial and procurement system namely Oracle before the end of July 2007.
With all humility at my disposal I would like to inform all Honourable Members that this new system will be called Mphatlalatsane or Ikwezi. The name emerged out of a freely run competition by all our employees yesterday. This name means an early morning star which is believed to drive darkness away and ushers in brightness. Mphatlalatsane is a sign of hope, prosperity and success.
Our employees have urged me to request all Honourable Members that in future around July when this system will be properly functioning, if a Member want to inquire about a claim, a reference to Persal or Walker should not be made but rather Mphatlalatsane or Ikwezi reference would solve a Members' problem. Well done to Mr Makapane who coined the name and all other competitors for having entered the competition.
This system must assist us to move further in addressing perennial questions of Honourable Members about delayed payments on transport claims and other related matters. At the same time, a matter of serious concern from all of us in respect to the security of the Legislature is now receiving urgent attention. We have terminated the contract of Rentcop Pty (Ltd) which has been providing electronic security system at a fee of approximately R28 million monthly not proportionate with the quality of service we require as the Legislature is declared a National Key Point.
A totally new process will have to commence and I sincerely believe, that Honourable Members should clearly articulate their expectations for the new system and thereafter the necessary Supply Chain Management System from evaluation to adjudication could proceed. I would humbly like to caution all Honourable Members that this approach does not mean Honourable Members would be involved in the tendering process, but we would like to safeguard that our security expectations are fully integrated in the new system.
In addition, I have continuously raised the matter of South African Police Service (SAPS) personnel that provides physical security at our Legislature with top SAPS authorities and I am confident that all our concerns will be adequately considered.
For the Legislature to achieve its constitutional mandates, it is vital that its programmes and workforce is guided by a targeted performance. Failure to which, will result in complacence and loss of focus, consequently, the institution will produce "irrelevant" products. It is in this context that the Performance Management and Development System were introduced. The programme started in 2006 financial year and on of the total budget was set aside for rewarding good performing employees. Managers conducted the quarterly reviews and we are in a process of finalising the last assessments.
It is within this context that in December 2006 I appointed a multi party team of Honourable (Hon) Tshwene, Hon Matladi, Hon Hattingh, and Hon Mahlakeng to assess the performance of the Secretary to the Legislature, and the recommendation demonstrated his commitment to assisting this hallowed House to execute its Constitutional mandate proficiently. We continue to appreciate his steering leadership on the management and the cooperation of all our employees thereof. The process of assessment of each and every employee's performance continues and I should mention that executive managers are scheduled to present their performance targets to the Secretary to the Legislature within two weeks.
The Legislature's affairs should be guided by the government policies and regulations, such as the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). Failure to do so will give an impression that we do not respect the law we erect. It is in this background that we need to pass the Legislature - Management bill to be fast-tracked. (The current system, of the management board, is against the stipulations of the PMFA, which, contradict the treasury regulations).
We therefore, beseech the Committee concerned, to follow traditional procedures of refining and ensuring that the bill enhances the effective management of the institution and curb elements, which might contradict treasury and other institutional management regulations.
Let it be stated today without any fear of contradiction that all of us, as elected representatives in our Legislature have painfully observed for a considerable period that some quasi-government entities have not respected all the Constitutional provisions and other related legal remedies to be accountable to the Legislature.
Without mentioning the names of such institutions, I would like us to note that the Legislature will never shy away from its Constitutional sacrosanct mandate of conducting oversight function over all government departments and government institutions. This, under no circumstances should be construed as a which-hunt exercise but we shall intensify our efforts to entrench the culture of accountability and to uphold the sanctity of the Legislature.
The establishment of the ad hoc committee is a direct result of compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Section 116 of the said Constitution clearly stipulates that the Legislature is empowered to determine its internal arrangements, proceedings, and procedures. The section further gives the legislature the powers to determine the establishment, composition, procedures, functions, powers and duration of its own Committees. The Ad Hoc Committee of this institution therefore was established as a result of Constitutional requirements and this house would be tabling its findings in due course.
I would also like to record our appreciation for immense contribution of the European Union (EU) to have funded a number of our important projects, which ranges from capacity building for the Honourable Members to gender related programmes. Through good performance, we also managed to access more funds than it was budgeted for due to our speedy response to spending on specified projects. The European Union (EU) funding was primarily focused on four result areas such as law making systems, public participation, gender and disability and skills development.
As I have already stated, the following percentages demonstrated our relentless effort in augmenting our ever-limited resources with EU funding to achieve specific projects which without EU funding would have been a pipe dream. (1) Law Making Systems 92%; (2) Public Participation 214%; (3) Gender and Disability -36%; (4) Skills Development 46%. These percentages converted into monetary value, our Legislature used R3 325 332. It is worth mentioning that due to the completion of this EU programme and to avoid forfeiting the funds back to the EU, towards the end of September 2006 the EU funds were transferred to the pool for continued usage by the Legislative sector of our Country.
It is noteworthy Honourable Members that the Legislative Review is continuing funded by the EU and the final report will be table to the relevant Committee in due course. We are hopeful that the interaction between the Speakers Forum and the Resident Ambassador of the EU in South Africa will culminate into a new funding for the Legislative sector to engage in new projects and enhance our performance such as gender and disability and skills development.
It should be stated categorically that we are mindful of the urgency to develop the Petitions bill and I therefore promise this august House that this very important piece of legislation will be processed by the relevant Committee and passed as a law before the beginning of the second quarter in this year.
The standard of debates in the House has improved. Most of the Legislature committees are functional and are in line with adopted programme of the legislature. I also want to put on record the fact that the ill-disciplined who do not respect the norms and standards of this will be reported to their respective political parties.
Under an illegitimate government such as the erstwhile Apartheid system of government, anarchy and violent means in pursuit of whatever objectives will thrive in leaps and bounds. Put differently, anarchy and violence breeds anarchy and violence under a government for the few; of the few; and by the few. That is why as a liberation movement (ANC) we engaged in mass action to make the country ungovernable because we were fully convinced that "Freedom in our Life Time."
However, under a legitimate government such as ours, which draws its legitimacy from the popular will of our people, a government of the people; for the people and by the people, anarchy and violence invites State security apparatus to act decisively in defence of peace, stability, prosperity, and to instil lawfulness.
This must communicate the message to our people in Merafong that all civil or lawful means should be exploited to air whatever legitimate grievances the people of Merafong have about incorporation into the North West province. We are all agreed to remember as the preamble in our supreme law of the land asserts "Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity." It is our fervent wish and we will continue to contribute for normality to prevail that workers go to work, school kids attend school regularly and above all, the Merafong Municipality discharge its Constitutional mandate of service delivery to the community without any tinge of hindrance. We also wish to pay tribute to all our national security agencies for the consistent role they are playing as part of the midwives of stability, peace, prosperity and lawfulness in Merafong.
I would like to conclude by saying that we owe these outstanding achievements to the sterling efforts made by all the employees of our Legislature through, Honourable Members' collaborative understanding in responding to the demands and challenges to our Legislature. To that extent, I would like to take the opportunity of this Budget Speech to salute and thank all Honourable Members of this House for responding to the silent call of our people that constrained by and yet regardless of the accumulated effect of our historical burdens, seize the time to define for ourselves what we want to make of our shared destiny.
Millions in our province did indeed seize the time and, in action, continue to define ours as a shared destiny of peace, democracy, non-racism, non-sexism, shared prosperity and a better life for all. It is because of what these millions of our people did that our people know from their own experience that today is better than yesterday, and are confident that tomorrow will be better than today.
Certainly, as one of our great leaders once said "It is up to all of us, through our National Effort, to build a winning nation, to do all the things that will ensure that the mountains and the hills of our country break forth into singing before all our people, and all the trees of the field clap their hands to applaud the people's season of joy."
Ke a leboga;
Kgotso a e yate.
Issued by: North West Provincial Legislature
10 May 2007