Ladies and gentlemen
South Africa as a constitutional state has three branches the executive, legislature and the judiciary. The country for its development and prosperity requires all three branches to work together and complement each other for the betterment and proper functioning of the state of South Africa.
The Executive which is led by the President of the Republic who is also the Head of State in terms of Section 83 of our constitution has responsibility to ensure that the state is functioning properly under his custodianship. Section 85 (c) of the constitution entrusts the President to co-ordinate the functions of state departments and administrations.
In this regard, in 2009 President Jacob Zuma established the monitoring and evaluation function in his office to assist him in monitoring and evaluating the performance of the work of the executive. However, for this function to be successful it has to be complemented by other branches of state.
He said in his address to Parliament: “When this administration came into office last year, we undertook to work harder to build a strong developmental state… We said it would be a state that responds to the needs and aspirations of the people, and which performs better and faster… We are building a performance-oriented state, by improving planning as well as performance monitoring and evaluation...”
The Constitution provides for separation of powers between the legislative and the executive authorities, and both of these branches of state need to conduct monitoring and evaluation in order to perform their functions. The monitoring and evaluation conducted by the legislative branch is for oversight and accountability. Parliament in this work is assisted by the independent Chapter 9 institutions in this regard.
In particular, the Offices of the Auditor General (OAG), the Public Protector (PP) and the South African Human Rights Commission (HRC). These are all constitutionally mandated to play a role in assisting Parliament and provincial legislatures in the case of the OAG, with the monitoring of transversal administrative functions and service delivery.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) is an independent and accountable institution established to monitor and evaluate the organisation and administration of the public service. The executive utilises the monitoring and evaluation data produced by the legislative branch, but needs to conduct additional monitoring and evaluation to serve its own purposes. It is necessary for departments and municipalities to conduct this function of their projects, programmes and departments as a whole, for purposes of sound operational and strategic management, service delivery improvement, and internal performance assessment.
Within the executive branch, monitoring is an essential management function and must be carried out at various levels:
All managers should carry out monitoring of their own programmes to ensure better management
Departments managing concurrent functions need to carry out monitoring and evaluations of their sectors for example Health and Basic Education should have systems to monitor a range of key indicators, including the supply of medicines and the delivery of textbooks
Departments responsible for cross-cutting issues need to collect and analyse information from other departments and in some cases from society in general for example Economic Development needs to collect information on the economy and job creation from a variety of sources
Some departments need to monitor their public entities
Key departments at the centre of government need to monitor aspects of the rest of government like National Treasury needs to monitor expenditure across government and;
The President and Premiers need to carry out monitoring to be able to carry out their Constitutional responsibilities to coordinate their administrations.
As far as monitoring by the Presidency of the rest of government is concerned, there has been an increase in emphasis since 2009. This increase in emphasis is a result of recognition of shortcomings such as poor education and health results relative to expenditure per capita, frequent quality problems with services, and service delivery protests. It is also as a result of the findings of the 10 and 15 year reviews that there needs to be an increased emphasis on improving implementation of policies and on improving the performance of government. Furthermore, international experience indicates that our work can make significant contribution to addressing these issues.
While all levels of government need to carry out monitoring and evaluation, this need not necessarily lead to duplication of the collection of information and reporting. The challenge is to ensure that monitoring and evaluation is complementary across the all levels, with sharing of data and analysis as far as possible. All parties need to consciously avoid duplication and to cooperate to avoid overloading departments and municipalities with parallel reporting requirements and to avoid conflicting initiatives.
In our department we have stuck to this principle for instance, we are not carrying out audits but using Auditor General’s information. We have not set up new systems to assess the performance of individual departments against their plans, there is an existing system of strategic plans and annual performance plans and annual reports which is managed by National Treasury. We have also not established a new system for holding public servants accountable and for taking disciplinary action for poor performance, there is an existing system in terms of the Public Service Act and Public Service Regulations among others.
We have introduced a number of initiatives including a focus on 12 government priority outcomes; the assessment of the quality of management performance of national and provincial departments; a new system of monitoring front-line services; a national evaluation system; and a municipal performance assessment tool, which is still in preparation. These tools represent a major increase in the availability of evidence for policy and decision-making.
The 12 outcomes including improving education, health, creating jobs, rural development and reducing crime were developed. The first quarterly monitoring reports have been produced on a quarterly basis, highlighting progress against the plans at output and sub-output levels, problems, and actions to be taken to resolve these problems. These reports are considered at quarterly Implementation Forums then taken to Cabinet Subcommittees and Cabinet.
We are also monitoring national and provincial departments and municipalities from the point of view of the quality of generic management practices, such as financial management, human resource management and supply chain management. The Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) which was rolled out in October 2011 has a number of underlying principles.
These are to build on existing data being generated by other government departments and organisations such as the Auditor General and Public Services Commission. This is to avoid duplication; focus on facilitated self-assessment, followed by peer moderation, promote ownership of the process; collaboration with Offices of the Premier in provinces to perform a similar role for provincial departments and repeating on an annual basis to track improvement.
In general departments are very interested in how their departments perform compared to others, and many departments have already implemented improvements in preparation for the next assessment cycle. The process has also identified areas of management where national policy departments need to implement support initiatives.
Our department has also started a programme of unannounced visits to service sites such as schools, health facilities, social grant facilities, police stations, and municipal customer care centres. The objectives are to collect evidence on the quality of services and to work with the relevant departments to demonstrate how to use such monitoring information for improvements. The monitoring results have identified policy and systems weaknesses such as poor facility maintenance and the lack of effective operational management systems.
As you might be aware we are also managing the Presidential Hotline which was set up in 2009 to allow citizens to log their complaints and queries regarding service delivery. To date, more than 135 000 cases have been logged and assigned to the relevant departments and agencies for resolution, with 86% of cases having been resolved.
A National Evaluation Policy Framework was adopted by Cabinet in November 2011. A strategic approach has been taken focusing on important policies/programmes/plans, and those selected are embedded in a National Evaluation Plan. This approach emphasises learning rather than a punitive approach, so as to build evaluation into the culture of departments and not promote resistance and malicious compliance.
Through all these initiatives we are able to brief different committees of Parliament on the performance of different departments to ensure that we complement each other in our monitoring and Parliament’s oversight role.
Chairperson, as government we chose education, health, creating jobs, rural development and reducing crime as key priorities towards realising our developmental objectives and meet people’s expectation. There is no state without its people and a state exists to serve the interest of its citizens.
Chairperson let me also say, these initiatives we are engaged in are not only the responsibility of the executive and they will not realise their objectives if they are divorced from other branches of state. The Legislative branch has a responsibility to ensure that the executive is held to account and assist it to achieve the country’s developmental goals. The United Nations will be reviewing the Millennium Development Goals, we should be asking as a country what have we achieved collectively for the betterment of our state. A disciplined monitoring and evaluation system should lead us to action to better the lives of our people.
In conclusion, the Executive is now producing and sharing a substantial amount of publicly available information from its own internal monitoring and evaluation processes. However there is room for further collaboration between the executive and the legislative branch, with a view to use the performance monitoring and evaluation information we produce to improve the performance of government. I look forward to further discussions with Parliament in this regard.
I thank you