Source: Office of the Premier, Northern Cape
Title: NCape: Jenkins: Budget Speech by the Northern Cape Premier, Northen Cape Provincial Legislature
Madam Deputy Speaker
Members of the Executive Council
Members of the Provincial Legislature
Ladies and gentlemen
This budget speech is being delivered in a context where, as a province, we are already aware of a climate of economic recession across the globe. It is being delivered in a context where our province has already been informed of a R50 million cut in the provincial budget and where on a daily basis we are confronted by the real possibility of our people being retrenched in many employment sectors.
Our budget speech, which is reflective of our plans for the forthcoming year, also takes place in a context where we are conscious, more than ever, of the remaining needs of our people which need to be filled urgently. This means that despite some of the challenges we are faced with, we need to ensure that we deliver to the best of our means, on the mandate as given to us by the electorate.
Despite these challenges I want to echo the words of H Firestone who said "The growth and development of the people is the highest calling of leadership."
It is clear from the budget votes of various departments that we have not abandoned our responsibility towards our people. The budget tool that has been allocated to us enables us to increasingly implement and reach the development goals of the province.
However, it also needs to be emphasised in this house that the total budget for the province had already been slashed by the National Treasury late last year, after initial allocations were sent. This step resulted in a budget cut of more than R50 million for the Northern Cape for the 2009/10 financial year. All departments, including the Office of the Premier, will therefore be much more restricted in terms of their outputs, as well as ensuring that absolute fiscal discipline be maintained.
Honourable Speaker and Members,
The Office of the Premier is expected to play a central and strategic leadership and monitoring role by ensuring co-ordination and integration across all Departments towards implementing Government's Programme of Action. In order for us to do this we have been allocated an amount of R 855 million over the MTEF period of 2009/10 to 2011/12. This amount translates into the following annual allocations over the MTEF period:
* R136, 745 million for the 2009/2010 financial year
* R142, 279 million for the 2010/2011 financial year
* R151, 026 million for the 2011/2012 financial year
The budget of the Office of the Premier is divided into three major programmes namely:
* institutional development
* policy and governance.
For this financial year we received R136,745 million, which translates into an eight percent increase, with further increases of four percent and six percent in the outer years 2010/11 and 2011/12. The increase, compared to last year's budget, is nominal and mostly inflation-linked.
More specifically, for the current financial year (2009/10), the budget is allocated as follows among the three programmes:
Administration: R53,705 million
Institutional Development: R34,623 million and
Policy and Governance: R48, 417 million
Employee costs totals 53% of the budget, 24% goes to goods and services, 20% to Transfer Payments and three percent is allocated to capital. It needs to be noted once again that the Office of the Premier is not a direct service delivery institution, hence our budget is more personnel intensive, in line with the support, co-ordination and monitoring functions we have to carry across all the Departments, as well as housing the Internal Audit unit, which is responsible for all departments.
The Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act (Act 13 of 2005) is an important tool we use to get government to increasingly work towards integrated service delivery. This department is continuing to grow and improve on areas which we have identified as in need of nurturing and growth. To this end the Office of the Premier is responsible to ensure regular meetings of the Premier's Intergovernmental Forum (PIGF) for purposes of integration across spheres of government. Through this mechanism we co-ordinate, monitor and support provincial departments as well as municipalities in achieving our overall objectives for the province.
Over the past financial year the PIGF continued to deal with matters like the crisis of debts of other spheres to municipalities, waste management as required by the National Waste Management Act (NEMA), the electricity crisis, and the most worrying issue of the undesirable audit outcomes of some of the Provincial Departments and municipalities.
In partnership with the Department of Co-operative Governance (Housing and Local Government) we have furthermore strengthened successful interaction between provincial and local government by ensuring continued support for municipalities through the Five-Year Strategic Agenda for Local Government.
The Executive Council secretariat fulfils a critical function in order to ensure that the work of government is streamlined to reflect the new policy priorities as derived from the ruling party mandate, and adopted as the Medium Term Strategic Framework of the Executive. The Secretariat co-ordinates the workflow from the various government clusters and ensures follow-up and reporting on the implementation of Exco decisions.
They are further responsible for ensuring that the Executive's mandate of interaction with the communities is implemented. The Northern Cape are proud pioneers of the "Cabinet meets the People Programme" and this is a tradition that we proudly continue, as a unique mechanism to meet our constitutional mandate of reporting back to our people. In this regard we have in the past year had 40 interactions with various communities across the province in order to ensure that we remain in touch with our people. This also shows that the negative perception of us just visiting communities during election times is simply not true.
Despite the tough nature of this exercise in terms of time and co-ordination, this Executive has already begun to display its commitment to meet the people, by having a series of meetings after elections, with various communities. Yesterday, as part also of getting more public servants closer to communities, we have been in Richmond, and today we will again reach out to our communities through service delivery and dialogue educating them regarding their rights to service and what they should expect and demand from public servants in the system.
Our Executive Council Committees are now also well-established and have improved on the quality of their work, which in turn enables the Executive to receive timeous information for evidence-based decision making. The challenge still to be addressed is to increase our research capacity, for which we have to ensure a model which can work for the province. To ensure critical and functional support to the Executive and its sub-committees, an amount of R3,701 million has been allocated to this work.
We are also challenged to ensure higher levels of compliance with the Public Service Act. This we attempt to do by enhancing the functionality of the HOD Forum, which has assisted us in dealing with many transversal matters like the performance system, preparation of several provincial reports as well as preparation for the provincial takeover of the policy on incapacity leave and ill-health retirement.
I am pleased to report to this house that the Northern Cape Province has achieved the highest compliance rate (98%) in the country during the last financial year, for Senior Managers filing their financial disclosure forms. Despite this achievement, we are also aware that the Public Service Commission has released a report, pointing out the extent to which Officials in the Public Service are involved in irregular procurement practices, leading them into conflict of interest. We are fully intending to follow up with the Public Service Commission on this matter in order to ensure that full details are obtained and the culprits are brought to book.
Furthermore in our efforts to improve the Public Service, we have celebrated Africa Public Service Day on 23 June, in tandem with the rest of the country and several countries on the continent. Yesterday we have launched the Public Service Week for the province, which seeks to remind our officials of their commitment to the Service Delivery Standards we have set for ourselves, to continuously ensure the implementation of the Batho Pele principles as well as reach out to the communities through the "Know your Service Rights" campaign.
Today our departments and public servants have adopted several institutions across the province where they will be performing direct services to institutions like hospitals, old-age homes, children's homes and ECD centres, in order to bring the public servants closer to the people. In addition to this, they will do door-to-door interviews with communities to also get a sense of the general public perception and experience of the public service. It must be noted, honourable members, that our province is the first to adopt this approach and we hope that this will serve as an example for others to follow, but also as an experience for all our officials to get closer to the communities they are called to serve.
Honourable Speaker and Members,
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) remains an important tool for critical self-assessment by African countries themselves. The four areas of assessment are democracy and good political governance, corporate governance, economic management and governance as well as socio-economic development. Our country has played a leading role in ensuring that we do not shy away from critical self-assessment.
As a province we are now tasked to ensure that the results and recommendations from the country report are also integrated into our work and that the necessary steps are taken to disseminate the information to our stakeholders in the province as well as implementing the APR Programme of Action.
Honourable Speaker and Members,
I have previously indicated that one of the key functions of the Office of the Premier is to ensure that as a provincial administration we are able to monitor and evaluate the work we do in order to respond to changes in our environment and the new electoral mandate. Through our Policy and Planning unit as well as the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit we have up till now being able to ascertain the level of progress we have made in as far as the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy targets are concerned.
We are now better placed to measure government progress more accurately, based on sound scientific and internationally acceptable indicators as developed by StatsSA and The Presidency. The most important areas of monitoring includes the tracking of poverty, education and disease patterns in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the National Spatial Development Perspective (NSDP), the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy (PGDS) and Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) as adopted by municipalities.
As part of the National Government process, provinces were required to produce review reports, outlining progress as well as remaining challenges over the past fifteen years. For the reporting period of the last financial year, the Office of the Premier had to drive the compilation of the Fifteen Year Review Report for the Province of the Northern Cape. This is a critical report on the basis of which the newly elected government would be able to assess progress and plan for new priorities stemming from the electoral mandate.
The Fifteen Year Review Report was released on 2 April this year and whilst there was acknowledgement of the good work that was done over the past period, it also clearly indicated that the province has much more to do in areas like crime reduction, economic growth and development, human capital development as well as more extensive support to local government.
It needs to be noted that the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) has dealt extensively and assertively with the Provincial Administration's financial and expenditure matters. I want to encourage all the Legislature Committees and SCOPA to now take municipalities to task in exercising their oversight role, and through this strengthen the efforts of the Executive. We are all aware that the audit outcome is a Key Performance Area for both Heads of Departments (HODs) and Municipal Managers (MMs) and yet we have the majority of our municipalities facing tremendous difficulties in managing the finances of their institutions.
As part of our further investment into the human development within our Department the following skills development commitments have been put in place by the Office of the Premier:
For 2008/09 a total of 20 employee bursaries were allocated at a total cost of R137 453. One of our employees has been fortunate to be selected for an Australian scholarship which was co-ordinated by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA). In total three employees from the province were selected for this programme which they have now completed successfully.
The Premier's Trust Fund has enabled 628 students in the province to further their studies in various scarce skills areas. In the new financial year the Trust Fund will continue to support provincial students and an amount of R11,325 million has been allocated for this purpose. In view of concerns raised regarding the impact of scholarships and bursaries on the skills and competency levels in the Administration, the Board will be requested to do a full presentation to the Executive Council in order to assure more effective placement or absorption of students after completion of their studies.
The Education, Training and Development Practices (ETDP) Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) has provided 100 bursaries through the Office of the Premier, which have been allocated to needy students in different critical skills areas and this programme will also be assessed in this financial year. We have managed to train 89 managers across all departments on various aspects of dealing with HIV and AIDS in the workplace, like Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) , the HIV and AIDS costing model as well as mainstreaming of HIV and AIDS in the workplace.
In this financial year our officials will be further supported in training with regards to various areas of need like Monitoring and Evaluation, supply chain management, records management, project management, health promotion and awareness, labour relations management, HR policies as well as bursary support. Our skills levy, an approximate amount of R723 000, will be utilised for this purpose.
It has also come to our attention that unit heads across the Administration often make mistakes in terms of disciplinary procedures followed when the need arises. This result in unnecessarily longdrawn out processes as well as long suspension periods during which the affected officials continue to be paid, or cases being lost because of procedural errors. In this year we will provide operational support and training for disciplinary matters and grievance resolution, as well as assist with understanding of collective agreements.
In addition to this, we have been offered the opportunity to further enhance the skills of our officials, through our country's agreement with the Indian government. These opportunities are short-to medium courses in information technology (IT) and a number of other skills areas for which India has developed capacity at various centres of excellence in their country. The Office of the Premier will once again co-ordinate the selection of approximately ten employees across the Administration, in consultation with Heads of Departments.
In line with our commitment to poverty reduction and the national project initiative of "The War on Poverty", this province has adopted our own "Healthy Families for the Future" project. Through this project Government aims to pursue a more targeted and holistic approach which is directed at households, with the aim of migrating these families out of poverty through a multi-sectoral initiative.
Although considerable work has been done with these families, the project is not without challenges. The challenge is to empower these families in a manner that will break their dependency on government grant funding. In the initial stages of this project it mostly involved the Department of Social Development with poverty alleviation interventions. I want to appeal again to the other Departments as well as our private sector partners to now come on board with the other services and interventions needed for these families which will assist them to become self- sustained.
We are also pleased to report that co-operation from departments in the development of municipal IDPs, as well as the credibility of IDPs themselves has improved through the co-ordination of our Monitoring and Evaluation Unit. The areas of concern still remain the capacity of municipalities to deliver services with the current skills gaps they are faced with.
We have, as part of our contribution to the Five Year Strategic Agenda for Local Government, also supported District Municipalities to establish their district communications structures as well as their communication strategies, which should assist them towards ensuring more positive communication with the communities they serve as well as positive image building.
Through our communications unit we also ensure that there is uniformity across the administration in terms of key messages about government and its work, as these are communicated to us via the Communications unit in The Presidency, as well as Government Communication and Information System (GCIS). This co-ordinating work and guidelines for communications are distributed through the provincial administration as well as local government in order to ensure that government speaks with one voice both in terms of policy positions on various matters, as well as on the development priorities for the country.
The communications unit also supports departments on days of commemoration and ensures that key events are covered and where possible, to support live broadcasts of information to the electorate. To support this work, the communications unit has been allocated an amount of R2,354 million for this financial year.
Further responding to some of our capacity challenges, we have in the past financial year, through our Legal Services Unit, concentrated on supporting government departments with drafting and interpreting of 58 contracts, provided 34 legal opinions, defended 35 civil actions against government, assisted 16 municipalities on various legal matters and supported the amendment of 15 pieces of legislation. In the current financial year the unit has been allocated R4, 943 million to increase its capacity and to further their support work.
To compliment the work in the Policy and Governance Programme, through the South Africa - Finland Agreement, our information and communications technology (ICT) unit will continue its work, in conjunction with our sister province in this project (Limpopo) as well as the Department of Economic Affairs to implement the Information Society and Development Programme. This programme is funded by the Finnish Government. In addition to this the unit has received an allocation of R1 million to continue the roll-out of the anti-virus software across the administration on order to protect our computer networks from the onslaught of viruses and junk-mail.
Honourable Members, the Northern Cape Youth Commission Repeal Bill has recently been introduced in this house. We are therefore now in the process to start the preparations for the roll-out of the National Youth Development Agency at provincial level. In this regard it is now the responsibility of the Office of the Premier, supported by Provincial Treasury, to oversee the resulting administrative processes, for example, the placement of youth commission personnel and the winding up of existing commitments. The Youth Commission budget for this year is R10,5 million.
You may be aware that most provincial departments are struggling with high vacancy rates and loss of scarce skills. The Department of the Premier is no exception. We are particularly challenged in the recruitment of scarce skills for areas like finance, internal auditing, monitoring and evaluation and ICT. We have been experiencing a high turnover rate in the internal audit unit where quite a few employees in this unit have been recruited by municipalities or departments in the province. The internal audit unit is furthermore responsible for the internal audit function for all departments.
This is critical work as it should assist departments with tightening their internal controls, point out weaknesses in their accounting systems and generally ensure that departments receive better external audit reports. The internal audit unit has, however, not yet reached its full potential and is not yet fully capacitated. In this regard we have prioritised these specific areas for funding and filling of vacancies.
The internal audit has been allocated R6,304 million in order to systematically address their capacity gaps. Despite the afore-mentioned constraints the Office of the Premier has managed to achieve some significantly improved results, especially with regards to matters of compliance with the Public Service Act and its Regulations. We have a functional Employee Health and Wellness Unit which has assisted a number of employees who are living with HIV and AIDS, substance addiction or faced with difficult personal circumstances. We are also in the process of consolidating the various different HIV and AIDS policies from departments into one policy for government.
The Office of the Premier is also responsible for ensuring that the province is ready to implement the Policy on Incapacity Leave and Ill-Health Retirement (PILIR) by end of July this year. This function has previously been performed by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) on behalf of all provinces, but has now been devolved to provinces. I am pleased to report that substantial work has been done through the HOD Forum and the PILIR champions, the province has selected its health risk manager (service provider), we are on track with this process and with the current support received from DPSA we will be ready for implementation by the deadline date.
We can report that most departments are now complying with the policy on the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS), Service Delivery Improvement Plans (SDIPs) and the Financial Disclosures of Senior Managers.
Supported by the Office of the Premier, the Administration has completed compulsory Job Evaluation (JE) for employee levels 1-12 as per DPSA requirement, and we now have a fully functional Provincial JE panel. We will also continue to monitor and support the implementation of PMDS across the Administration. The development of Human Resource Plans across all Departments is another compliance matter that we are battling to institutionalise. Supported by DPSA, we have upped our compliance level from last year in November and can report that outstanding departments have now complied.
The records management unit in all departments is critical in the administration as it assists efficient and effective decision making, protects integrity and security of government information and further ensures physical security of buildings. We have embarked on Security Awareness campaigns in 22 units of the Office of the Premier, as well as supported several Departments on security matters.
I wish to remind the Executive that Departments are required to appoint Security Managers, who in turn must produce Departmental Policies on Security and Records Management, as well as Risk Management. All Security Personnel must undergo the Private Security Industries Regulatory Authority training within the first six months of this financial year, as required by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). Some Departments have still not done this. In order to further facilitate this work and lend support the Records and Security unit has been allocated an amount of R5,255 million.
For government to enhance service delivery, managers must be equipped to supervise and support their subordinates. Project Khaedu is an innovative Batho Pele support programme for public senior managers, and uses action learning, through practical exercises derived from real life case studies in the public service.
Areas covered include:
1. Process design and problem solving
2. Creating realistic strategies and aligning the organization to execute on them
3. People and change management
4. Developing budgets and effective financial controls
5. Communicating for results
If we do not support this training it results in middle and senior managers not having the tools to assess the impact of service delivery and therefore do not have the ability to give feedback and appropriately guide officials at the "coalface" of service delivery.
Fifty senior managers and 100 middle managers were targeted for the past financial year and these are the people who will predominantly be used in our announced and unannounced visits to service delivery points across the province, as they have been provided with diagnostic tools which will enable them to make useful recommendations to institutions which may be facing a number of service delivery challenges.
Our province continues to move much closer to our milestone and policy, to restore dignity and pride of our Traditional Leaders - past and present. As this Office we need to continuously encourage government departments and municipalities to work in harmony and respect with our traditional communities, who make a huge contribution towards the preservation of our cultural traditions and heritage.
In terms of section 211 and 212 Chapter 12 of the Constitution, national legislation must provide a role for traditional leadership as an institution to deal with issues affecting local communities, and also provide for the establishment of Provincial and Local Houses of Traditional Leadership. These specific sections of the constitution must be implemented in line with the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act (Act 41 of 2003) and the Northern Cape Traditional Leadership Governance and Houses of Traditional Leadership Act (Act 2 of 2007).
I am pleased to report that the establishment of the Provincial House of Traditional leaders for the province of the Northern Cape took place on the second day of this financial year, on 2 April 2009. I also wish to report that we have successfully managed to refurbish and upgrade the traditional office buildings with two due for completion in the next three months. R1,8 million has been earmarked for this purpose.
In addition to this we have provided each traditional community with vehicles to be used by Amakgosi for the purpose of servicing their constituencies as well as community support. Furthermore, the Northern Cape province, supported by DPLG, is the only province that has taken the bold step of beginning to include the Khoi San in our provincial House for Traditional Leaders. We acknowledge that this is just a first step and that full recognition can unfortunately only take place once the current legislative frameworks have been amended at a national level. We are committed to give further support to traditional councils through training and other mechanisms. We are fully aware that this function has to be migrated to the new Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and are working with this Department to ensure a smooth transfer of funds and function. An amount of R6, 459 million has been allocated for the work of the Traditional Leadership Unit which will, after due process be transferred to the recipient department.
Despite the ever-present societal challenges, our Department is continuously pursuing the objective of improving the lives of vulnerable groups. These include women, children, people with disabilities and the youth. The Special Programmes unit has completed a provincial survey on employment equity, and we are not doing so well in this regard. Although we have increased our percentage regarding the employment of women, now up to 45,84%, we still lack an equal spread of women at all levels, especially at top management level. We have, however, reached the target at middle management level, and these women now need to be groomed to take up more senior positions.
On the employment of people with disabilities we have not reached the provincial five percent or national two percent target at all. We have only managed to employ people with disabilities at approximately 0,39%. We will therefore continue to support departments and municipalities to develop disability indicators that are in line with the National Disability Policy Framework, and drive a more aggressive framework to recruit people with disabilities.
Despite the ongoing challenge of gainful employment of people with disabilities, our office has in the past year managed to conduct various empowerment initiatives aimed at the disabled. These include training for municipalities on the United Nations Convention on the rights of people with disabilities, compiled a video on sign language footage to raise awareness with regards to special programmes and published quarterly newsletter to sensitise the public on all the target groups.
Further programmatic work, research and training will be continued this year with the unit being allocated a budget of R1,667 million. The Office on the Rights of the Child has in the past year established a Children's Rights Advisory Council in order to enhance a common approach in the governance processes. We have also now managed to develop a Strategic Framework which will assist Departments in mainstreaming their work with target groups. Ten children from the province were fortunate to address the National Parliament and ten more participated in the Day of the African child, together with other children from across the country.
The province once again had the privilege of hosting National Children's Day with approximately 7500 children from across the country in attendance. The Office of the Premier has also adopted the Reneilwe Day Care Centre for the past year and celebrated International Children's Day with the fifty children who are being cared for in the centre.
We wish to remind members once again about the "Take a Girl-Child to Work" campaign and request that all Member Provincial Legislature (MPLs) and Managers participate in this programme, as this has been really inspirational for the girls who had been selected in the past.
This year we will develop and implement an integrated plan for the GDC (Gender, Disabled and Children). We will extend the establishment of Advisory Councils to two more districts and six local municipalities and also extend the appointment of GDC officials to more departments and municipalities. We further need to align the GDC Monitoring and Evaluation System with the Government Wide Monitoring and Evaluation System. This will ensure that our indicators are uniform across the administration, will bring a higher level of reliability into our data integrity and improve our Information Management System. An amount of R1,780 million has been set aside for the work of this unit.
Our collaboration with stakeholders has ensured that a gender perspective is integrated both at the planning, budgetary and the implementation levels of Government programmes. In the past year the Office on the Status of Women has reached approximately 3500 women in the province through various programmes like the 16 Days of Activism on no Violence against Women as well as various days of celebration.
In the New Year we urge Members, Heads of Departments and especially municipalities (Local Government) to pursue more aggressively the equity target for empowerment of women. It is a known fact that whilst we are doing better at a political level, we are performing very poorly at an administrative municipal level.
The Office on the Status of Women (OSW) will in this financial year focus more extensively on empowering women in rural areas, in keeping with the new priority of rural development. We ask that Departments like Economic Affairs and Tourism, as well as Agriculture and Rural Development partner with the OSW, in order to ensure that a more holistic approach and better quality product or concept can be developed for women in rural areas of our province. The unit has been allocated an amount of R4,976 million for their work this year.
In addition to this work we also will continue to support the economic capacitation of women, through the Mme Re Ka Thusa Trust. It needs to be noted that the Trust is required to report soon to the Premier on the details of its work and that some restructuring may have to be done in order to ensure higher levels of efficiency. An allocation of R3,308 million has been made available for the work of the Trust.
As you would have seen from most budget inputs, our total budget for the province has not experienced tangible increases in as far as service delivery is concerned. Mostly the increased amounts would be earmarked funding for specific matters, as well as amounts that should address personnel related costs, including the costs related to the implementation of the Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD). This does not mean that we cannot improve on service delivery to our people, but it does mean that it will take us a little longer to reach our targets. We need to remain positive and focused on our goals. There is a saying that a positive attitude is contagious, but we must not wait to catch it from others, we should rather be the carriers ourselves.
The province will have to actively pursue development and grant funding from sources we may not have tapped into before. All Departments will have to investigate potential additional funding and in a co-ordinated manner the province will have to lobby for this. I am convinced that we have not explored all possibilities for additional funding for the province and in the process the province may be losing out.
As a team we are already pursuing possible avenues to solicit support funding for the long awaited Lerato Park development. It has always been our pledge that we will use the little resources at our disposal, to the maximum benefit of our people. I wish to quote the words of Robert Schuller who said: "Do what you can, wherever you are, with whatever you have."
As we are now doing another lap in the relay for service delivery, we receive the baton with all the challenges ahead, with a firm commitment to win this race. This is a race that needs every runner to do his or her best, not to drop the baton, to hand over firmly and smoothly and take collective responsibility for the winning time of the team. I am positive that the teams we have in each department have the capacity to set new and higher standards in service to our people.
I thank you.