20 January 2012
Cabinet has concluded a successful four-day, extended Cabinet Lekgotla in which we conducted a mid-term review and charted the way forward in pursuit of the goal of building a more prosperous, united and equal South Africa.
The Lekgotla deliberations have provided the basis for President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address on February 9, 2012.
In broad terms, our deliberations focused on the Mid-Term Review, the economic situation and progress on the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC).
Contextualising the Lekgotla, President Jacob Zuma reminded Cabinet that he had observed in the 2011 State of the Nation Address that government had made notable progress across its five key priority areas of education, health, rural development, safety and crime prevention, as well as job creation.
The President had also cautioned last year that too many South Africans were unemployed and living in poverty. 2011 had therefore been declared as a Year of Job Creation.
In 2011, the President had also called on all sectors of society, in government, civil society and the private sector in particular, to contribute to defeating the scourge of unemployment.
Six areas were then identified for job creation: infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the green economy, and tourism.
Subsequently, government launched various initiatives at creating jobs, including:
• A R9 billion Jobs Fund over the next three years to finance new job creation initiatives;
• The IDC had set aside R10 billion to invest on job creation over the next five years;
• R20 billion in tax allowances of tax breaks to promote investments, expansions and upgrades in the manufacturing sector.
Also last year, government announced its intention to merge three agencies that support the SMME sector in order to ensure to improve access, efficiency and effectiveness.
It was against this background that Cabinet assessed the impact of government programmes since this Administration came into being, and considered options for the future.
Given the period that has passed since the general election of 2009, this Lekgotla also undertook a Mid-Term Review assessing the performance of this administration and setting out a way forward.
Detailed discussions took place regarding the progress government is making on the five key priorities of safety, health, education, employment and rural development.
Cabinet is indeed satisfied with the progress made in these areas.
The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency will in the next few weeks undertake final consultations with delivery forums in the various Clusters of government as part of finalising a review that will be published soon.
Cabinet discussed the development of a cohesive State machinery to oversee our economic planning and progress and the need for us to strengthen our management and leadership of critical delivery institutions.
Cabinet's deliberations this week built on the foundations laid with last year's emphasis by the President and the National Executive on job creation.
Continuity in planning and implementation is vital to our success in addressing the national priorities that demand sustained interventions over long periods of time.
Cabinet therefore examined progress made with regard to the six areas that have been identified under the New Growth Path as the key drivers to reduce unemployment.
Cabinet also emphasised the need for government and its partners in other sectors to maximise the initiatives we have started to create and sustain economic activity and growth.
These interventions include, as outlined by the President, the Jobs Fund, investments by the Industrial Development Corporation in job creation, and tax breaks.
Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC)
In July 2011, government formed two significant commissions that constitute government's own efforts to create jobs through public-sector initiatives. The commissions were tasked with expediting such initiatives as part of the urgency attached to the President's declaration of 2011 as the Year of Job Creation.
The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) is led by President Jacob Zuma while the Short-term Job Creation Commission is led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
At this Lekgotla, the PICC presented its first report on infrastructure rollout that is designed to stimulate regional economies and job creation.
This report has been referred for further consultations with provinces and affected regions for consolidation and alignment.
Cabinet Lekgotla is confident that our strategies and plans are sound but is keen that we should sustain momentum in driving the economy and the country forward.
The State of the Nation Address on February 9 will set out our approach in closer detail.
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