The seven priorities outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation Address are in line with the goals of the National Development Plan (NDP), says Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu.
The announced seven priorities that will fast track South Africa’s path to prosperity are:
- Economic transformation
- Education, skills and health
- Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services
- Spatial integration, human settlements and local government
- Social cohesion and safe communities
- A capable, ethical and developmental state
- A better Africa and the World
“The most relevant to us is consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services; a capable, ethical and developmental state; a better Africa and the world and education; skills and health.
“All these are in line with the goals of the NDP which points to the need for a developmental state. The NDP clearly states that our country needs to follow a model of a developmental state,” he said.
Minister Mchunu was delivering his maiden Budget Vote Speech at the National Assembly in Cape Town recently.
However, he said the NDP also recognises that not all capable states are developmental and so emphasises the importance of building a capable and developmental state within a vibrant democratic system.
Again, President Ramaphosa had already made it clear that the sixth administration sets out to achieve in terms of the public service, when he said: “This is the start of a wider process of arresting the decline in State capacity and restructuring our model of service delivery so it best serves our citizens.
“We will build on the work we have already begun to address problems of poor governance, inefficiency and financial sustainability.
“We are committed to building an ethical State in which there is no place for corruption, patronage, rent-seeking and plundering of public money.
“We want a corps of skilled and professional public servants of the highest moral standards – and dedicated to the public good.”
25 years into democracy
As the country marks 25 years since the dawn of a democratic dispensation, Minister Mchunu said a number of regulations have been developed and the public service act amended to ensure that the public service is professional, representative and is at the forefront of fighting corruption.
He said this process led to establishment of professional services within the public service such as the Senior Management Service (SMS) and Middle Management Service (MMS).
In 2005, government registered the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS), which became operational in January 2006.
Through GEMS, many public servants who could not afford membership of traditional medical aid scheme are covered including their beneficiaries.
Minister Mchunu said by December last year, GEMS had 700 000 principal members and covers over 1.8 million beneficiaries.
“This makes GEMS the second largest medical scheme in the country and the largest restricted medical scheme,” he said adding that the public service, as an employer, is facilitating home ownership for all qualifying employees through an evolving housing scheme.