Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, closed the APRM High-Level Brainstorm session planned to renew and strengthen the South African APRM Process at Saint George Hotel, Irene on 8 November 2019.
In her closing remarks, Deputy Minister said government counts on all stakeholders to participate and contribute constructively in the 2nd Second Generation Review process and beyond. “Our success will not be possible without the participation of all stakeholders”.
She said the intention of government is not to reinvent the wheel “but to build onto the foundation that those who served before us built and avoid repeat of weaknesses and differences.
“We have taken with humility the guidance already given by the Bishop, our Eminent Person Bishop Sangulane, Honourable Mabandla, former Minister Dr. Fraser-Moleketi and of course, the accumulated wisdom and institutional memory that many of you in this room have shared with us”.
She committed to call on all partners from academia, Civil Society formations, the private sector, faith based organization and all relevant sectors to share lessons learnt.
“In our commitment to consult extensively and recognizing, this is a central principle within the APRM process and we will be following up on all the valuable suggestions made in this workshop.
“We are also acutely aware that, among other things, the APRM was not sufficiently calibrated into the mainstream National Planning processes and the branding to explain the value of the review process and why our people should participate, are matters that will be given careful attention.
“In recognizing the need for strong consultation and popularization and mainstreaming the APRM, we are keen to consider proposals presented here such as reminding ourselves of the purpose of the APRM, which is to identify, surface and ventilate governance challenges in the four areas,” she said.
The Deputy Ministers said the research process should be credible and pragmatic in this regard. “At the same time, it is the setting of priorities for intervention that is most important regarding a plan with a project management template for execution.
“This should ensure that the challenges identified are remedied and all processes should be designed to enable the achievement of this objective. It is of concern that so many of the issues surfaced in the First SA Review have not been addressed and are left hanging.
“We need to balance research and consultation with drafting a clear, achievable and executable plan with budgets and milestones,” she said.
On reaching out to as many diverse stakeholders as possible, Deputy Ministers said the government will ensure that the outreach is both intensive and extensive.
“For instance, we are keen to explore the model Hon. Mabandla spoke about, which was used by The High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change, which was chaired by Former President Kgalema Motlanthe.
“This will help to address the key issues raised by the APRM Continental Secretariat, specifically relating the need to ensure that the recommendations of the National Plan of Action are clearly visible and can be tracked deliberately within Government Priorities for implementation, where we have moved in a snail pace we commit to accelerating collective efforts”.
Deputy Minister committed to establishing a National Secretariat that is able to support the process of carrying out a credible review process and a National Governance Structure (NGC) that is credible, effective and sustainable.
She also committed to refine and operationalize the communication strategy to give the Review process an important profile among communities, “this must be profiled in the print media, electronic, social media and topical news.
“I want to emphasize here that this will mean we domesticate the APRM process at provincial and local government so that the process has deeper outreach and is internalized by majority of South Africans”.
She further committed to ensuring that Parliament continues to play an important role in the review process.
“We are also committed to learning as much as possible from other African countries’ experiences and in this regard, we will take advantage of opportunities proposed by SG to conduct study tours to receive first-hand experiences on practices from our peer countries. Our objective will be to understand what has worked well and most importantly, the factors that created success”.
She said the critical priorities and learnings areas that government will want to focus on are through other country experiences around establishing a credible, effective and sustainable NGC which will take into account the size, structure and composition.
Also critical is the benchmarking and establishing a vibrant National Secretariat and other National structures and institutionalizing the APRM across government’s programme of action so that the National Plan of Action is aligned with the NDP priorities.
Priority will also be in ensuring the use of quality assurance agencies like the Auditor General, StatSA and Constitutional Bodies specifically Chapter 9 and 10 institutions including strengthening the communication Strategy and deepening public mobilization and participation.
She said all the endeavors, important as they are, will be implemented within the limitations and constraints of the current austerity environment. “We must be clear that the resources we have made available and replenish on an ongoing basis are extremely limited and will continue to come under severe pressure for the foreseeable future”.
“The realities of these resource constraints will challenge us to be creative, innovative and most importantly, ensure that our collective expectations of how much can be done and how quickly we are able to move are pragmatic and sustainable.
“We continue to look forward to your participation and support especially in this coming period leading to the Public Dialogue and the establishment of a newly elected NGC in December 2019 and the journey towards a successful 2nd Generation Review.