President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has given National Treasury and the Presidency a three-year time frame to rationalise government departments, state-owned entities and programmes.

President Ramaphosa revealed this when informing the public about the status of the country commonly known as the State of the Nation Address (SoNA) on Thursday evening in Cape Town.

The President indicated that in order to achieve any progress in addressing the urgent challenges, the country need a capable and effective state.

“I have instructed the Presidency and National Treasury to work together to rationalise government departments, entities and programmes over the next three years.

“National Treasury estimates that we could achieve a potential saving of R27 billion in the medium term if we deal with overlapping mandates, close ineffective programmes and consolidate entities where appropriate. The poor performance of many local governments remains an area of concern.

“Our greatest weaknesses are in state-owned enterprises and local government. Many of our SOEs are struggling with significant debt, under-investment in infrastructure, the effects of state capture and a shortage of skills.

“We will implement the recommendation of the Presidential SOE Council to establish a state-owned holding company as part of a centralised shareholder model that will ensure effective oversight of SOEs,” said President Ramaphosa.

According to President Ramaphosa, only 163 out of 257 of the municipalities in the country are dysfunctional or in distress due to poor governance, ineffective and sometimes corrupt financial and administrative management and poor service delivery.

He further announced that government is implementing a number of interventions to address failures at local government level and improve basic service delivery.

These, he said, include enhancing the capacity of public representatives and officials, maintaining and upgrading local infrastructure, and invoking the powers of national government to intervene where municipalities fail to meet their responsibilities.

State Capture Commission

The State Capture Commission headed by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo completed its work and submitted the final part of its report in June last year.

Last year, President Ramaphosa announced that government would take decisive action against corruption and make a clear break with the era of state capture.

“The recommendations of the Commission are being implemented according to the plan that I submitted to Parliament in October last year so that the systemic weaknesses identified by the Commission are addressed and state capture is never allowed to occur again.

“As a country, we owe Chief Justice Zondo, the Commission staff and all those who provided testimony a huge debt of gratitude for their extraordinary public service,” he said.