MEDIA STATEMENTS

Media briefing: Governance and Administration cluster

Date: 9 Mar 2017

Ministers

Deputy Ministers

Directors-General

Members of the media

Ladies and Gentlemen

We welcome you to the Governance and Administration Cluster post-SoNA media briefing. As customary, all Clusters brief the media after the President has delivered the State of the Nation Address. It is within this context that we are meeting today to provide report of our work thus far and unpack our key plans going forward.

The G&A Cluster echoes the call by President Jacob Zuma to declare 2017 the year of Oliver Reginald Tambo, the late former President of the ANC who would have turned 100 years old this year, had he lived. We remember this selfless patriot and a statesman, who left a lasting legacy for all South Africans. This centenary will be driven through a theme - "Unity in action by all South Africans as we move South Africa forward together."

The ensuing work performed by this Cluster has contributed to changing lives as envisaged by our Constitution and below is the outline of our work on key areas.

COGTA

Following the successful constituting of local government, we are pleased that municipalities are making progress in delivering services to communities as expected. The only challenge was Nquthu which was dissolved as per section 139(1) (c) of the Constitution which empowers the Provincial government to intervene. This section provides that when a municipality cannot or does not fulfil an executive obligation in terms of the Constitution or legislation, the relevant provincial executive may intervene by taking any appropriate steps to ensure fulfillment of that obligation.

The fifth local government administration and new political leadership are seized with tasks of ensuring that Back to Basics (B2B) objectives are realised and doing the basics to achieve developmental outcome. After the successful implementation of its first phase, the second phase is expected to take local government to a higher developmental trajectory. This will be in pursuit of national priorities and realisation of the NDP goals and is still predicated on the five pillars and guided by the priorities of the 10-point plan – guided by the theme - “Transforming Municipal Spaces for Radical Social and Economic Development”.

To ensure that municipalities continue to provide services to communities, the Ministers of COGTA, Finance and Public Enterprises are continuing to engage in order to understand why municipalities are failing to pay Eskom. Generic short, medium and long-term recommendations were made by the Task Team to resolve non–payment of Eskom debts. To this effect, CoGTA Ministry continues to coordinate meetings with various role-players, including municipalities, Eskom and SALGA to try find an amicable solution that takes into account the various challenges facing municipalities.

On the other hand, Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) is providing support to municipalities within 32 Districts prioritised for support during the B2B assessments. In terms of this approach, MISA is providing targeted support to municipalities through multi-disciplinary teams comprising technical professionals.

The Technical Support programme supported municipalities such as Sekhukhune District Municipalities, Bushbuckridge, Maluti-A-Phofung, Oudtshoorn, among others, that enabled them to improve improvement spending on their MIG allocations and/or to address refurbishment of infrastructure assets to improve their functionality and restore services provision.

The efforts for enhanced service delivery and resilience of our communities aligned with the B2B programme are being supported, from policy to practice, by the recent amendment of the Disaster Management Act 2002 which emphasises stronger community-based approaches and streamlined IGR arrangements to ensure sustainable service delivery and development in the face of the changing climate.

Six (6) and (8) municipalities the Eastern Cape and North West respectively, were supported to drill or rehabilitate the borehole for supplying water to various settlements. Among municipalities that benefited from this support was Alfred Nzo, OR Tambo, Dr Segomotsi Ruth Mompati and Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipalities.

His Excellency President Jacob Zuma will host the 3rd Presidential Local Government Summit on 6 - 7 April 2017 under the theme, “Transforming Municipal Spaces for Radical Social and Economic Development.” The Summit will assess progress made with the implementation of programme of action agreed upon in 2014 and to agree on the way forward for local government. This Summit is also an opportune platform for the President to engage the leadership in all municipalities across the country on key matters relating to service delivery. This Summit will be preceded by the Local Government Tourism Conference under the theme, “Tourism planning is everybody’s business.”

SALGA

The SALGA National Executive Committee will convene on 23 - 24 March 2017, to consolidate action plans and speed up the implementation of initiatives that focus on the strengthening of financial management in municipalities as announced during the Budget Speech.

The identified interventions include:

    • Building capacity for the implementation of the Municipal Standard Chart of Accounts (MSCOA) which is coming into effect on 1 July 2017;

    • Supply Chain Management reforms which will ensure value for money, return on procurement spend and better management of limited resources; and

    • Enhanced revenue management, revenue collection and improved billing systems.

These resonate with some of the resolutions SALGA took at its national conference held in December 2016 which, amongst others, include:

    • Urgent need to decisively deal with the escalating debt owed to municipalities.

    • Ongoing engagement with municipal creditors such as Eskom to find viable and sustainable solutions and deal with the systematic root causes that led to ballooning Eskom municipal debt.

    • Finding innovative instruments to generate more local revenues to fund development and service delivery.

    • Building professionalism and managerial capacity in the sector.

This month SALGA will hold its 11th National Municipal Managers Forum, the first meeting post August 2016 Municipal Elections. This is an important platform for municipalities to facilitate peer learning through the sharing of innovation and good practice and it will encourage municipalities to innovate and continuously seek new ways to find permanent and sustainable solutions on the challenges facing the sector.

DPSA

Good governance is the cornerstone of effective service delivery and an absolutely essential ingredient in the fight against corruption. Proper governance structures coupled with sound decision making processes and practices are vital for ensuring a Public Service that is able to deliver on its mandate to serve the public.

The practice by Public Service employees to do business with organs of state threatens good governance and the public’s trust in government institutions. To address this risk, the revised Code of Conduct for Public Service employees, which came into effect on 01 August 2016, prohibits Public Service employees from conducting any form of business with organs of the state, whether in their own capacity as individuals or through companies in which they are directors.

To manage the prohibition process, the 2016 Public Service Regulations had provided transitional arrangements, ensuring that from 1 February 2017 no Public Service employee will have business interests involving an organ of state. In terms of these transitional arrangements, by 31 January 2017, those who were doing business with an organ of state, should have relinquished that specific business interest or opted to resign from the Public Service. The information regarding compliance on this provision is being collated and government departments would be required to ensure that the necessary disciplinary steps are taken against those found to be in violation of these regulations.

As a developing country, South Africa needs Public Servants who are committed to serving the people and placing their needs first. Such commitment can only stem from a professionalism infused with the values of ethical conduct with the aim of placing the needs of citizens first. In terms of addressing fraud and corruption, there are existing mechanisms to improve governance in the public sector. This includes the management of the National Anti-Corruption Hotline, the management of the Financial Disclosure Framework.

In terms of the Financial Disclosure Framework, the overall declaration rate by the due date of 31 May 2016 by the national and provincial departments stood at 98% in last 2015/2016 financial year. This is an increase of 16% in the submission rate as compared to 82% recorded during the previous financial year (2014/2015). This declaration rate as at the due date, by both the national and provincial departments, is the highest since the inception of the Disclosure Framework.

To further strengthen ethical culture of public employees, the Financial Disclosure System, which previously only required members of Senior Management Services (SMS) to declare their financial interests, will be extended to middle managers, employees in the supply chain management and those working in finance units, ethics officers as well as employees of the Office of the Public Service Commission who verify financial interests disclosed by Senior Management Services members. All these employees will now be expected to use the electronic financial disclosure (eDisclosure) system and declare their financial interests between the 1st and 30th of April annually.

PSC

As a proactive tool in fighting corruption, the PSC, on behalf of government manages the National Anti-Corruption Hotline (NACH) – 0800 701 701. Whistle blowers can call the NACH to report corruption without fear of victimisation as the Hotline offers anonymity. As at 31 January 2017, 18 778 cases were referred to government departments, and feedback on 17 240 (92%) cases was received. Of the total number of cases referred, 16 947 (90%) cases were closed.

The closure rate underscores a commitment by government departments to investigate allegations of corruption as reported through the NACH. A total number of 3 600 officials were found guilty of misconduct related to corrupt activities reported to the NACH in the Public Service between 1 September 2004 and 31 January 2017:

    • 1 700 officials were dismissed from the Public Service.

    • 447 officials were fined (e.g. not receiving three month salary).

    • 137 officials were demoted.

    • 921 officials were given final written warnings.

    • 395 officials were prosecuted.

The successful investigation of cases of alleged corruption reported to the NACH resulted in the recovery of R410 million from perpetrators. It is, therefore, evident that the NACH has yielded positive results, not only in terms of monetary value but also in terms of disciplinary action taken against perpetrators.

National School of Government

In order to further ensure a skilled and capable Public Service machinery, the National School of Government (NSG) continues to train new entrants in the Public Service through its Compulsory Induction Programmes (CIP). The NSG plays a pivotal role in ensuring that public servants display the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to diligently serve the citizens of the country.

DURING the 2016/17 financial year to date, the NSG has facilitated the induction of about 30 000 public officials across the three spheres of government including newly elected councillors.

A specially designed CIP has been developed to further capacitate new senior managers between levels 13 - 16. The NSG has partnered with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to develop a flexible, action learning oriented and customised model which saw 200 District directors and circuit managers from DBE attending the course from all the nine provinces in February 2017.

This month, on 9 - 11 March 2017, we will be launching the Executive Induction Programme (EIP) for Senior Managers on levels 15 - 16 in the National and Provincial spheres. The goal of the programme is to familiarise participants with their specific work and to inspire them to build a Public Service which responds effectively and collectively to their task.

The NSG will also provide EIP participants with access to additional learning and development opportunities through Mentorship by experienced former executives, Thought leadership series and International study programmes.

Centre for Public Service Innovation

In the past year, the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) has continued to facilitate the replication of innovative solutions unearthed through the Annual Public Sector Innovation Awards Programme. One such innovation is, “The Saving Blood, Saving Lives project” by Edendale Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, which innovatively ensures the efficient use of blood and blood products by medical staff and thus eliminating wastage. Through the support of the CPSI, the replication of the same project has been initiated at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital, and other Gauteng hospitals including Leratong, Tembisa and Pholosong.

Home Affairs

The Department of Home Affairs has 286 million records, 90% of which are in paper format. Of these, most are records of Births, Marriages, Deaths, ID applications, Naturalisation and Permitting, and date back to the late 1800, including 110 million birth records, which carry records of generations which can be used to construct family trees.

Government believes this project will play a critical role in public administration through the creation of a modernised state. In this regard, some of the key outcomes of this project are:

    • 5.8 million birth records to be digitised per year;

    • Records will be indexed by ID number for easy retrieval;

    • Immediate access to a digitised document irrespective of office location; and

    • Electronic records can be viewed/accessed by more than one person simultaneously. This eliminates the reliance on individuals for knowledge as the document is accessible by multiple staff.

DPME

The National Development Plan (NDP) highlights the need to make citizen engagement more meaningful to build and active citizenry and a capable developmental state. Citizen Based Monitoring is an approach to monitoring government performance that focuses on the experience of ordinary citizens in order to strengthen public accountability.

We intend to have annually three sector departments participating in CBM in the next year. To date, five CBM sessions have been facilitated by the DPME in partnership with the South African Police Service (SAPS) in various provinces since May 2016. Members of the community were trained on how to conduct a survey of citizens’ perceptions and experience of services rendered at police stations in Cape Town, Rondebosch, Butterworth in the Eastern Cape, Amangwe in Kwazulu- Natal and Kopanong in the Free State. Police officers and administrative staff were also invited to give their views on service delivery during the sessions.

In the past financial year, 90 new sites were monitored through the Frontline Service Delivery Monitoring and improvement plans were developed with the various offices of the Premier. We intend to monitor about 400 sites in the next financial year. The FSDM programme ensures that through government efforts, citizen’s experience frontline facilities of quality services as envisioned in the National Development Plan Vision 2030. DPME has continuously facilitated improvements in more than 150 facilities that were selected on the basis of poor frontline performance.

Conclusion

In conclusion, as the Cluster we will continue to implement our programmes thus ensuring efficient, effective and development oriented Public Service that is committed to the public good and capable of delivering consistently high quality services meant to improve lives of our people.

Thank You.


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