President Thabo Mbeki - Outcome of July Cabinet lekgotla


27 July 2008

1. Introduction

Cabinet’s mid-year Lekgotla took place in Pretoria from 22 to 24 July 2008. The meeting was attended by Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Premiers, Directors- General and representatives of the South African Local Government Association (Salga).

The meeting also welcomed Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, who was attending the Lekgotla for the first time since his appointment as Minister in The Presidency.

The purpose of the July Cabinet Lekgotla is to conduct a mid-year review of the implementation of government’s Programme of Action (PoA) and to adopt a Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). This Lekgotla took into account the fact that in about 10 months, a general election will take place, ushering in a new Executive. The outcome of the Lekgotla, particularly the 15-year review and the scenario-planning process, will provide a firm foundation on which the new Executive will build.

The discussions were guided by the following framework:
 

  • the need to attend to immediate tasks pertaining to the completion of the electoral mandate
  • identification of major issues that would form part of medium-term programmes, especially those that would need to be launched immediately after the elections, those that form part of the Government’s or nation’s obligations to halve poverty and unemployment by 2014 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

2. Background

The Lekgotla commenced with a discussion on the state of the economy and the effect of the global economic situation on our economy.

The meeting noted that we are on track towards achieving the medium-term goals of halving poverty and unemployment by 2014, even though many challenges still need to be addressed. Attaining high and sustained economic growth is, and will continue to be, a key part of our strategy for achieving these goals.

Although the economy is succeeding in creating jobs (at a 3% average since 2001), this growth rate has not been sufficient to reduce the rate of unemployment. There are two measures required to reach employment and growth goals i.e. gross domestic product (GDP) growth must be closer to 7% and exports must grow three times faster to raise employment levels by 5%.

Global economy

The Lekgotla also discussed the international constraints on growth which are affecting both the developed and developing countries. World growth is projected at 3, 7% in 2008, down from 4, 9% in 2007. At this stage, the economic slowdown appears to be concentrated in the G7 countries but developing nations are affected by the slowing demand from G7 countries and are increasingly at risk to rising inflation and higher interest rates.

The following were identified as factors responsible for pushing up prices and slowing down growth: rising food prices (supply and demand, bio fuels subsidies, export restrictions, consumption subsidies); oil prices (slow supply response to demand, consumption subsidies and speculative investment); declining consumption as the purchasing power of households becomes eroded; declining equity and housing markets (negative wealth effect); and reduced credit available for corporate lending.

South Africa and other developing nations with high current account deficits and high inflation face a higher risk of negative investor sentiment. One of the ways in which these countries can mitigate this risk is by increasing savings and investment to take advantage of global and continental opportunities. At this point, South Africa is investing more than it is saving and the gap between savings and investments is being financed from abroad.

The world is facing stagnation and a number of countries are starting to take firmer action to curb the demand for commodities (lifting subsidies) and to contain inflation pressures (higher interest rates and currency appreciation). In South Africa, inflation is accelerating and the current account deficit is expanding. This situation poses some risks for high inflation and prolonged high interest rates, rising financial and macro-imbalances and slower economic growth.

The key challenge for the South African economy is to ensure that at the end of the global economic adjustment, our economy is more productive with higher savings and investment and with more rapid growth at sustainable current account level.

A key issue for the Lekgotla was to respond to this global environment appropriately. Two areas will need focused attention: the need to build on macro-economic policy success and to accelerate micro-economic reforms. The Lekgotla was of the view that economic growth will depend on macro-economic stability and a steady increase in the use of labour and capital by old and new firms. Better growth will occur when the cost of using capital, labour and other input costs are stable and explicit.

South Africa has strong domestic sectors e.g. finance, wholesale, retail, construction, communications, transport, mining, etc. However, we need to grow and strengthen our exports. Public investment is needed in areas such as human resources development, economic and social infrastructure, public administration and better services to grow the economy.

Scenario planning

As part of preparing for the future, The Presidency has initiated a scenario planning process to help the country to anticipate and plan better by exploring what might be possible and probable for South Africa by 2025. These scenarios will afford policy-makers the possibility to devise plans that take advantage of opportunities and minimise the negatives that lie ahead.

The scenario planning process is entitled: “The Future we Choose”. The process identifies storylines that are driven by the following six key forces:
 

  • shifts in the global economic power
  • shifts in global political power
  • resource constraints
  • South Africa’s economic growth
  • governance
  • social fabric.

It is anticipated that the scenario process will provoke introspection about government policies, planning and implementation, and about how policies can be translated into action.

A 15-year review

A progress report on the 15-year review process was received and endorsed. This review provides a detailed analysis of the progress, achievements and the key challenges that still face the South African society. Examples of progress include the significant decrease in levels of poverty, even though the gap between the rich and poor has widened. Also, over four million homes have been electrified since 1994.

Homesteads with access to a communal tap increased from 62% in 1996 to 88% in 2007 and access to water inside a dwelling rose from 61% to 70%. Access to sanitation increased from 50% in 1994 to 72% in 2007. Although the December 2007 target to eradicate the bucket system in formal settlements was missed, households using the bucket system declined from 609 675 to 211 508 by the end of 2006 and 113 085 by the end of the 2007.

The participation rate in education increased dramatically. For instance, participation among six-year-olds improved from 49% in 1996 to 70, 3% in 2006 and to 91% in 2007. Enrolment at tertiary institutions increased from 300 000 in 1986 to 750 00 by 2005. Access to health services also increased dramatically. Government has built 1 600 clinics and healthcare centres since 1994 as a result of which 95% of South Africans now live within a five-kilometre radius of a health facility.

From 1994 to the third quarter of 2007/08, 3 123 769 housing subsidies were approved and 2 358 667 units were built at a cost of R 48.5 billion. A total of 9, 9 million citizens, 53% of whom were women, benefited from state-subsidised housing opportunities.

The statistics quoted above are some of the highlights from the 15-year review, demonstrating that government is meeting its mandate by accelerating service delivery and moving faster towards achieving the goal of a better life for all.

The review will be published and subjected to rigorous scientific analysis. This will be the Government’s contribution to the debate about the progress our society is making towards meeting the medium term goals of halving poverty and unemployment by 2014.

3. Economic Cluster

The Economic Cluster gave a progress report on the implementation of the Programme of Action with a particular focus on the Apex priorities. Overall, extensive progress is being made in many of the interventions that are necessary to ensure that our economy continues to grow.

This report covers three broad areas under the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP); global warming, energy security, ICT interventions and land agrarian reform. Industrial Policy Action Plan

Progress is being made on a number of fronts with regard to the IPAP. The Economic Cluster has made major strides in expediting the implementation of IPAP in four key sectors, namely:
 

  • metal fabrication and capital
  • automotives and components
  • chemicals and pharmaceuticals
  • wood, paper and furniture.

The following progress was noted:

Metal fabrication, capital and transport equipment

Key import duties were reviewed and duties on carbon and stainless steel were removed. A review of duties on aluminium products will be finalised by the end of the year. The National Tooling Initiative was launched in March 2008.

Automotives and components

A replacement scheme to the Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP) has been developed following consultations with industry players. The new plan will be unveiled in August 2008. An empowerment plan for the automotives and components sector is being finalised and will be completed by December 2008.

Chemicals, plastics and pharmaceuticals

The import duty on upstream chemical products has been finalised and is ready for implementation. An announcement will be made in this regard at the end of 2008. The study on increasing polypropylene value-added products has been finalised and a process of to promote investment in the sector has begun.

Investment has been secured for the fluoro-chemicals expansion initiative and the next step is to secure sufficient land for the project.

Wood, paper and furniture

New afforestation targets have been set in collaboration with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) and AsgiSA-EC (Ltd). In the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, an agreement has been reached on general authorisations for afforestation in areas that are not water-stressed. New opportunities are being investigated in Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

A service-provider as been appointed to collect data on the small-scale saw-milling industry in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

A draft strategy has been completed on the expansion of the furniture industry and a furniture incubator is scheduled to start operating in November 2008.

Clothing and textiles

The overall objective is to raise productivity, upgrade capital and technology, address illegal imports, upscale skills and systematically review input costs.

Measures have been implemented to recapture and stabilise the domestic clothing and textile market. Country-of-origin labelling has been in place since July 2007. Quotas for certain Chinese imports have been in place since January 2007. The Interim Textile and Clothing Development Programme (ITCDP), formerly known as the Duty Credit Certificate Scheme, has been extended until March 2009 with limited tradability.

A Textiles Engineering Centre of Excellence has been established at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Other AsgiSA sectors

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is being implemented. For example, nine projects have been approved, 9 132 jobs have been created and R 658 million worth of investments have been made. A global player in this sector, TeleTech, has been secured to invest in South Africa. A preliminary agreement has been reached with Telkom on telecommunications pricing, subject to regulatory approval.

Funding has been committed and secured for the Monyetla Training Programme and to this end, 30 000 learners will be trained over a four-year period.

The Tourism Support Programme is in place and applications opened on 21 July 2008. The National Tourism Safety and Awareness Strategy is being implemented at provincial level. The tourism sector skills plan and the licensing criteria for bio-fuels have been finalised. The next steps include the finalisation of financial mechanisms and incentives to support production. The issuing of licenses is scheduled for the end of 2008.

Other sector developments

A draft framework for the national Food Control Agency has been completed for consultation.

The revised rebate for foreign and local film and TV production was launched in March 2008.

The Jewellery Manufacturing Precinct (JMP) at Oliver Tambo International Airport will be designated as an industrial development zone in October 2008.

Global warming

The priorities for the Economic Cluster are to finalise the climate change response policy an

South Africa is committed and ready to negotiate an equitable burden-sharing paradigm that balances the needs of developing nations against those of developed nations. In this regard, we will strive to work towards a transition to a low-carbon and climate resilient economy and society.

International negotiations on mitigation actions were launched in Bali in 2008 with a view to reach agreement on targets by the end of the 2009. The meeting noted that among developing nations, South Africa, together with Brazil, India and China, were among the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. A substantial amount of work is being done to ensure that South Africa is ready to table its plans on greenhouse gas emissions.

The following six broad policy direction themes were supported by the Lekgotla:
 

  • reducing and limiting greenhouse gas emissions
  • building on, strengthening and or upscaling current initiatives
  • implementing the “Business Unusual” call to action
  • preparing for the future
  • vulnerability and adaptation
  • alignment, co-ordination and co-operation.

Our work in this regard will be informed by, monitored and measured against the following emissions decline trajectory:
 

  • greenhouse gas emissions to stop growing and start to plateau in 2020 – 2025
  • gashouse emissions begin to decline in absolute terms around 2030 –2035
  • long-term greenhouse gas emissions levels to reduce to 300 Mt CO2-eq by 2050 – 60.

A national climate change response policy development summit will be held in February 2009 to adopt a framework which will be followed by further consultation. The next step will be the publication of a Green Paper in April 2010 and the policy will be finalised at the end of 2010. The policy will then be translated into a legislative, regulatory and fiscal package for implementation.

Our immediate task is to start now by accelerating energy efficiency and conservation across all sectors of our economy; invest in research and development targets that focus on carbon-friendly technologies.

Government will launch a comprehensive awareness programme to mobilise citizens and stakeholders to support the process to save our planet.

Human Resources Development Strategy (HRDS)

The revised HRDS for the period 2009 to 2014 was approved. One of the critical challenges that government has been addressing has been to ensure that there is proper alignment between the skills that the education and training system produces and the needs of a developing society and economy.

The aim of this strategy is to achieve articulation between the sub-systems (public-private and across government), for optimal achievement of systemic outcomes; to facilitate a continuing analysis of human resource development and the functioning of the labour market. The intended outcomes will include improvements in the Human Resources Development Index (HDI) and country ranking, improvement in the measure and ranking of economic competitiveness, reduction of the Gini co-efficient and improvement in social cohesion.

The strategy includes the following commitments:
 

  • acceleration of training outputs in priority areas to achieve accelerated and shared economic growth
  • ensuring universal access to high-quality and relevant education
  • improving technological and innovation capability in the public and private sectors
  • establishing efficient planning capabilities in the relevant departments and entities for the successful implementation of the HRDS for South Africa.

A monitoring and evaluation system will be put in place with clear indicators to monitor the implementation of the strategy. A major review based on systematic evaluation studies and impact assessments will be conducted every five years.

The Minister of Education will embark on consultations with stakeholders on the strategy. The strategy will be implemented in April 2008.

4. International Relations, Peace and Security (IRPS) Cluster

The IRPS Cluster tabled a report on its work. The following were the highlights of the report and decisions taken by the Lekgotla:

Zimbabwe

The Lekgotla was briefed on developments in Zimbabwe, particularly, the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the Zanu PF and representatives of the MDC.

The meeting welcomed the signing of the MoU as marking a significant milestone that would bring Zimbabweans closer to finding a lasting political settlement that could lead to political stability and economic recovery. The meeting expressed its appreciation to the mediating team, Minister Sydney Mufamadi (Minster of Provincial and Local Government), Dr Frank Chikane (Director-General in The Presidency) and Ms Mojanku Gumbi (Presidential Legal Advisor), who were working under the leadership of the President.

The meeting expressed confidence in the Southern African Development Communuty (SADC) -backed mediation process and in the talks that were taking place between the Zanu PF and the representatives of the MDC.

The Lekgotla expressed hope that the Zimbabwean parties would act with urgency to ensure that a settlement is reached soon.

South Africa’s chairing of the Southern African Development Community

South Africa assumes the chair of the SADC in August 2008. This role will take place against the backdrop of pressure on the cohesion of SADC due to the situation in Zimbabwe, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations and the global rise in food and energy price which has exacerbated food insecurity in the region.

As the chair of SADC, South Africa will have to develop priorities that will be championed in executing this role. The Lekgotla decided that South Africa should focus on the following priorities during this period:
 

  • enhancing regional political cohesion
  • advancing SADC regional economic integration (focus on SACU)
  • intensifying efforts towards infrastructure development
  • advancing the undersea cable initiative to expedite the continent’s access to the information highway
  • dvancing food security issues in the region
  • identifying opportunities for the region that are linked to the 2010 World Cup
  • strengthening the capacity of the SADC Secretariat.

Advancing the African agenda

Government will continue to advance the agenda of working with our sister countries towards building a better Africa and a better world. The Lekgotla noted the progress that we are making in strengthening our diplomatic work in the African continent, including the extensive work undertaken under the South Africa-Democratic Republic of Conga Binational Commission.

The meeting also noted that extensive work was being done to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the bilateral relationship with China. The January Lekgotla had approved the proposal to use the 10-year celebrations with China as a model to implement government-wide economic diplomacy that seeks to integrate and co-ordinate our international work across all sectors and all spheres of government.

5. Social Cluster

The Social Cluster discussion covered work being done in the following areas:
 

  • the launch of the War on Poverty Campaign
  • social cohesion
  • social security and retirement reform
  • rising food prices.

The War on Poverty Campaign will be launched in all the provinces during August 2008. The most deprived wards and households have been identified and will be visited periodically by a team of professionals and community workers to identify needs, accelerate access to government services and provide safety nets. The long-term goal is that the poorest households should receive assistance and support in a co-ordinated and sustained way. This campaign is co-ordinated and championed by the office of the Deputy President. A “war room on poverty” has also been established.

The social cohesion initiative is work in progress by the Social Cluster. Its objective is to provide a material basis for social cohesion and social justice. The following areas are receiving attention: addressing poverty, unemployment, deprivation, lack of access to basic services and opportunities and the elimination of racism, sexism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance. The draft National Family Policy has been developed to provide guidelines for integrated services to promote the functionality of families. A policy for people with disabilities has been drafted to enhance the integration and mainstreaming for the disabled and to ensure that the disabled poor receive adequate services and support. A draft framework for moral regeneration is being finalised.

A progress report on the reform of social security and retirement was noted. An Inter-Ministerial Committee has been created to deal with this issue. The tasks of the committee include: reviewing the social assistance grants; the design of contributory retirement system; social security governance and system framework; the co-ordination of administrative agencies; National Health Insurance and the regulation of the complimentary social insurance reforms. Finalisation, consolidation and publishing of the discussion document for public comment will take place towards the end of 2008.

6. Governance and Administration Cluster

The Governance and Administration Cluster presented a progress report on measures taken to improve the performance of the Public Service.

The report included specific projects such as the monitoring of vacancies, performance evaluation processes, ID smart cards, a new passport system, the skills audit and the establishment of a strategic planning capacity within government; budgeting for concurrent functions and the review of local and provincial government structures. With regard to the smart cards, each department will identify information needs that could be incorporated into the microchip when the cards become operational.

Government will continue to strengthen administrative systems to implement the principle of Batho Pele. Compulsory capacity-building programmes for human resource professionals will be implemented by March 2009. Departments will be supported to improve the quality of information on Persal.

The policy review process on provincial and local government was tabled and discussed. The review process presents options for institutional reform and other interventions to improve the effectiveness of the system of government across all three spheres. The review covers the following topics:
 

  • mandate of provinces and local government
  • effectiveness of the current system
  • strengths and weaknesses of the current structures
  • spatial development planning
  • intergovernmental relations
  • whether the current three-tier system should be retained.

The review report on provincial and local government was noted and referred back to Cabinet for further consideration.

Challenges identified included budgeting for concurrent functions. The concurrent system provides for dual executive and legislative authority which leads to multiple stages of decision-making on policy and budgets. Examples of the challenges in this regard include the fact that national priorities sometimes fail due to funding being diverted to other areas of spending by either the local or provincial sphere of government. The matter of budgeting for concurrent functions was noted for further discussion in the cluster.

7. Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster

The safety and security of all South Africans remains a top priority for government and will occupy the centre stage, especially as we get closer to the hosting of the 2010 World Cup.

Tremendous progress is being made on a number of fronts in the fight against crime. The recently published crime statistics indicate a sharp decrease in some crimes and an increase in others.

Reducing the crime rate by 7 to 10% remains the target for the remainder of the term. This target relates to eight priority crimes namely: murder, attempted murder, rape, serious and violent assault, common assault, indecent assault, robbery with aggravated circumstances and common robbery.

The average decrease of 6, 4% in serious violent crimes was below the 7% target but higher than in the 2006/07 financial year. The trend of serious crimes occurring among people who know one another continues to be a characteristic of violent crimes. Further, the report shows that street robbery continues to be the biggest subcategory of serious and violent robbery.

Organised crime is another key challenge government is focusing on. Work in this regard includes legislative and structural changes to increase the State’s capacity to deal decisively with organised crime.

The capacity of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to investigate organised crime will be enhanced through the creation of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation. The meeting noted that Parliament will be holding public hearings on the Bills for the incorporation of the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO). The hearings will be held from 5 to 15 August 2008 in Parliament and all provinces.

The matter of children in conflict with the law remains one of the major challenges that is receiving attention by the cluster. There are 3 478 children in detention (1 669 in places of safety; 820 in correctional facilities; 989 sentenced detainees at correctional facilities). This is a matter that will receive priority attention of both the JCPS and the Social Cluster.

The meeting noted that the study on the causes of the violent nature of crimes in South Africa, which is being conducted by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation is in the process of being finalised by the end of the year and will be discussed at the January Cabinet Lekgotla.

The review of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) is on track. A co-ordinating committee has been set up to oversee the review of the CJS. Mr Johnny de Lange, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, has been appointed as the champion of the criminal justice review process with immediate effect.

The review of the Community Policing Forums has begun with the aim of giving the forums requisite powers to co-ordinate, as autonomous bodies, the relationship between the communities and the police services. The possibility of establishing community safety fora to interact with the integrated CJS will also be explored.

8. 2010 preparations

A detailed report on the preparations for the hosting of the 2010 World Cup, the largest sport event on earth, was tabled and discussed. The Lekgotla was satisfied that all the preparations for hosting this event are on track.

Delivery of essential infrastructure is on track to meet the FIFA deadlines. The transport plan was submitted to FIFA within the deadline of 31 March 2008. Even though difficulties were experienced with the Nelson Mandela Stadium, all other venues will be ready for the hosting of the 2009 Confederations Cup and the 2010 finals.

The Schools World Cup was successfully launched in May 2008 to raise awareness among youth and students. This competition is being co-ordinated by the Department of Education and Sport and Recreation South Africa. The next challenge is to mobilise the rest of society to support and participate in the preparations for the World Cup. The volunteer programme is progressing according to plan.

Government and the Organising Committee will have to step up communication efforts to profile progress and our readiness to host the best World Cup ever on the African continent. Government and the people of South Africa are ready to host the world and will stop at nothing to ensure that we make all of humanity proud of what we as Africans can achieve.

We will continue to work with our neighbouring countries and the rest of the continent to ensure that the 2010 World Cup finals can promote the continent for tourism and trade.

9. Conclusion

The overall assessment is that government have made major strides in improving the lives of millions of South Africans, and we will continue working hard, in the spirit of ”Business Unusual”, to ensure that we fulfil our electoral mandate. We will use the next 10 months to accelerate delivery because our people expect no less from this government.

- End -

Annexure A: APEX Priorities

Industrial Policy Action Plan (Project 1)

The progress report is contained in the main briefing notes.

Set up an investment call centre (Project 2)

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is being implemented. For example; nine projects have been approved, 9 132 jobs have been created and R 658 million investment has been made. A global player in this sector, TeleTech, has been secured to invest in South Africa. A preliminary agreement has been reached with Telkom on telecommunications pricing, subject to regulatory approval.

Work on the construction of the submarine cable has advanced considerably. The Intergovernmental Assembly (IGA) of countries that are parties to the Nepad control have met and have agreed on the representative of the IGA on the Baharicom Development Company Board and have agreed to set up a Trust Fund which will hold shares of participating countries. The main objective of the Trust Fund is to support the development of ICTs on the continent with a particular focus on education and health projects. The construction of the West Coast cable from Cape Town to Portugal will be completed by May 2010. A process is under way to consolidate The East African Marine Systems (TEAMS) into Uhurunet.

Speed up ICT interventions to provide cheap platforms (Project 3)

The Sentech wireless broadband network will be rolled out as the backbone for Apex Priority 3. The primary objective of this priority is to increase uptake and usage of ICTs by government and individuals. An Information Society and Development (ISAD) Cluster has been established. Sentech is finalising plans to provide connectivity to 235 of the 500 Dinaledi schools. This connectivity will cover health centres, heritage sites, police stations, government offices, libraries and post offices.

Digital migration is on track to meet the November 2008 digital switch-on date. The development strategy for the manufacturing of set top boxes is under way. Set top box specifications have been submitted to the SABS for final approval.

In addition to the construction of submarine cables to increase access and reduce ICT costs, a benchmarking exercise for telecommunication costs will be launched during the second part of the year. This exercise will include countries such as Brazil, Chile, Korea, India and Malaysia.

Implement an intensive campaign on energy security (Project 4)

The departments of minerals and energy and public enterprises have implemented a National Response Plan. This plan addresses both demand and supply side measures. The objective of the campaign is to restore a reasonable reserve margin, to reduce levels of unplanned outages to below 2 500 MW per day, to replenish depleted coal stockpiles, fast-tracking co-generation and to focus on fast-tracking Eskom’s new build programme.

A power conservation programme has been launched which seeks to change behaviour and to achieve a 10% savings target by both households and industries. We are still a long way off achieving this target. We are currently at about 4% on average with key industrial customers at around 7%. Communication has now been centralised and co-ordinated by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and a communication campaign is currently being implemented with full support and participation of business, government and individual households.

Resolve organisational issues on skills development (Project 5)

The objectives of this priority have been achieved. The Department of Education has been appointed as the lead department. The HRDS strategy has been finalised.

The revised HRDS for the period 2009 to 2014 was approved. One of the critical challenges that this government has been addressing was to making sure that there is proper alignment between the skills that the education and training system produces on the one hand and the needs of a developing society and the economy on the other.

The aim of this strategy is to achieve articulation between the subsystems (public-private and across government), for optimal achievement of systemic outcomes; to facilitate a continuing analysis of HRD and the functioning of the labour market. The intended outcomes will include improvements in the Human Resources Development Index (HDI) and country ranking; improvement in the measure and ranking of economic competitiveness; reduction of the Gini co-efficient and improvement in social cohesion.

The strategy includes the following commitments: acceleration of training outputs in priority areas to achieve accelerated and shared economic growth, ensuring universal access to high-quality and relevant education, improving technological and innovation capability in the public and private sectors and establishing efficient planning capabilities in the relevant departments and entities for the successful implementation of the HRDS for South Africa.

A monitoring and evaluation system will be put in place with clear indicators that monitor the implementation of the strategy. A major review based on systematic evaluation studies and impact assessments will be conducted every five years.

The Minister of Education will embark on consultations with stakeholders on the strategy. The strategy will be implemented in April 2008.

Resource poor schools and monitor learning (Project 6)

An audit was conducted to establish the needs of schools that were selected to participate in this programme. In the Western Cape, 109 schools have been painted and burglar-proofed. In the Northern Cape, 10 schools were recipients of mobile classrooms. In Mpumalanga, three schools were renovated and four additional classrooms, 10 toilets, a computer room, a library, a science laboratory and a kitchen were added. Three hundred Maths and Science textbooks were procured and delivered to 488 Dinaledi schools.

An additional one million library books will be provided to 3 000 schools. Two thousand schools will receive 2,2 million reading books in 11 languages. One thousand five hundred reading toolkits in four languages have been distributed to 1 000 schools.

A progress report on the reform of social security and retirement was noted. An Inter-Ministerial Committee has been set up. The task of the committee includes: reviewing social assistance grants, the design of contributory retirement system, social security governance and system framework, co-ordination of administrative agencies, national health insurance and regulation of the complementary social insurance reforms.

Finalisation, consolidation and publishing of the discussion document for public comment will take place towards the end of 2008.

Speed up land and agrarian reform Land and Agrarian Reform Project (LARP) (Project 7)

The objectives of this priority are to redistribute five million hectares of white-owned agricultural land to 10 000 new agricultural prodders, increase black entrepreneurs in the agribusiness industry by 1%, provide universal access to agricultural services to the target groups, to increase agricultural production by 10 to 15% under the LETSEMA-ILIMA Campaign and increase agricultural trade by 10 to 15 % for the target groups.

Planning for the implementation of the LARP is at an advanced stage. A National Intergovernmental Forum for Agriculture and Land Reform (NIFAL) and an Intergovernmental Technical Committee have been established to co-ordinate the implementation of the project. Similar structures will be established at a provincial level to co-ordinate implementation at provincial level while district committees will assume planning and decision-making responsibilities regarding individual LARP projects.

A total of 2,5 million ha of land will be delivered by the end of March 2009 and the other 2,5 million ha will be delivered by the end of the 2009/10 financial year. Land reform grants have been revised to facilitate land acquisition in the light of increases in land prices. Additional posts (1 220) have been created and are in the process of being filled in the provinces to speed up the process.

War against Poverty (Project 8)

The War on Poverty Campaign will be launched in all the provinces during August 2008. The most deprived wards and household have been identified and will be visited periodically by a team of professionals and community workers to identify needs, to accelerate access to government services and to provide safety nets. The long-term goal is to ensure that the poorest households can receive assistance and support in a co-ordinated and sustained way. This campaign is co-ordinated and championed by the Office of the Deputy President. A ”war room on poverty” has been established.

Speed up the community infrastructure programme (Project 10)

The Lekgotla approved that provinces and municipalities dedicate resources for the maintenance and proper assessment (e.g. refurbishment and replacement of existing infrastructure) as well as to address bulk infrastructure.

Implement the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme (Project 11)

Training for ECD practitioners is continuing according to plan. Some 6 340 practitioners have been trained. A plan is being considered to move the 60 000 caregivers from receiving a stipend to paying them a minimum wage. The next key challenge is to focus on examining the quality of ECD programmes to ensure that these programmes provide a good foundation for children.

Assistance to SMMEs (Project 13)

A business case for the establishment of a call centre was completed in May 2008. A call for proposals has been issued to identify and select a suitable service-provider. The implementation of the call centre is scheduled for March 2009.

Implementing social cohesion (Project 14)

The social cohesion initiative is work in progress by the Social Cluster. Its objective is to provide a material basis for social cohesion and social justice. The following areas are receiving attention: addressing of poverty, unemployment, deprivation, lack of access to basic services and opportunities and the elimination of racism, sexism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance. A draft National Family Policy has been developed to provide guidelines for integrated services to promote the functionality of families. A policy for people with disabilities has been drafted to enhance the integration and mainstreaming for the disabled and to ensure that the disabled poor receive adequate services and support. A draft framework for moral regeneration is being finalised.

Regularise employment and Key Performance Areas (KPAs) (Project 15)

By July 2008, only 91% of the departments had responded to the survey. Results revealed that 66% of managers at national level had signed KPAs and only 53% at provincial level. Four DG posts were vacant (three national and one provincial). Thirty-eight out of 207 DDG posts were vacant, and 13 out of 59 provincial DDG posts were vacant. At local level, the vacancy level among municipal managers was between 12% and 14%, and the vacancy rate was 74%.

Integrated planning across all spheres (Project 16)

The January Lekgotla approved the setting up of planning capacity in The Presidency. This capacity will enable government to develop a Strategic National Development Plan. The policy unit in The Presidency is co-ordinating this unit.

Improve civic services (project 17)

The report included specific projects such as monitoring of vacancies, performance evaluation processes, ID smart cards, a new passport system, skills audit and the establishment of strategic planning capacity within government, budgeting for concurrent functions and the review of local and provincial government structures. With regard to the smart cards, each department will identify information needs that can be incorporated into the microchip when the cards become operational.

Implement special crime combating and security initiatives (Project 18)

The capacity of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to investigate organised crime will be enhanced through the creation of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation. The meeting noted that Parliament will be holding public hearings on the Bills for the incorporation of the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO). The hearings will be held from 5 to 15 August 2008 in Parliament and the provinces.

Reduce number of cases pending trial (Project 19)

The cluster is developing policies, procedures and protocols aimed at reducing overcrowding in correctional facilities and police-cells. This framework will be finalised by December 2008 following a study on international trends on the management of remand and detention. Eleven remand detention centres have been established at Pietermaritzburg, Durban Medium A, St Albans, Pretoria Local, JHB Med A, Potchefstroom, Mthatha medium, Modderbee and Boksburg prisons.

Facilitate the resolution of the political challenges facing Zimbabwe (Project 21)

See main body of the briefing notes.

Consolidate advances relating to peace and reconstruction in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Project 22)

Intensify economic diplomacy and communication economic diplomacy and communication (Project 23)
 

Increase SANDF (MSD) intake of young trainees: (Project 24)

See main body of the briefing notes for progress report.

- End.

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)

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Year: 
2008
Media Statement date: 
Sunday, July 27, 2008