Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, Members of Parliament and guests, members have all received strategic plans in the parliamentary committees which outlined how the departments were going to address service delivery issues. The departments detailed their Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and annual performance plans. This gives the assurance that government has kept to the ANC's 2009 election manifesto.
A lot of questions were asked by relevant committees to ensure that communities received proper services. These questions were based on Members of Parliaments' constituencies and the effects of poverty, unemployment and inequality. Parliament does oversight on these departments and entities as part of its constitutional obligation, but the question is whether this is enough. We all know that the ANC-led government has made great progress in addressing the needs of the people of South Africa, but a lot still has to be done to bring about a better life for all. In the booklet titled "Government's Year of Delivery: 2011-12", the President stated that one of the key factors that has shaped our progress as government was the performance monitoring and evaluation approach that this fourth administration had introduced.
He further stated that this approach has enabled us to identify loopholes in the government-wide system and to hold government departments accountable. This is a significant move on the part of government as it shows that we are acknowledging and addressing the challenges that impede our people from living a better life.
The hon Snell addressed Programme 4, which I am also going to address but from a different view. He discussed extensively the rigorous evaluation of the programme, which deals with the management of performance assessment of all our national and provincial departments and municipalities over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period.
The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation looks at gaps within all the departments and addresses them. It does not replace the departments, but does the audit of services by these departments, although still not replacing the Auditor-General. The hon Sogoni has referred to some of the issues during his overview. Monitoring and evaluation of the frontline services is what I will focus on as this is where practical activities happen - where we see everything that is happening. When we talk about front-line services, we are talking about a government institution, which can, for example, be a hospital. The Minister has addressed this. Who are the people in the front line? It is the people who receive the services, the people who give the services and the desired product. This means this can be medical professionals and patients at a hospital. The products here would be medicines and the people who produce this service - and if is a quality service rendered.
Out of all this, we will assess the accessibility of that product of that institution. Is the institution accessible? How far away is it? Is there transport to take people to that institution? Are there signs within the institution that lead people to the relevant department so that they can receive attention quickly? Are there people or staff who address these issues and make sure that the people receive services? Are there emergency services? Is the community given attention when they get there? What is the attitude of the people - do Batho Pele principles apply? Do people appreciate what they get from the staff or whoever gives the government service?
I am going to speak about the aims of the front-line delivery services. These aims are, among other things, that service delivery standards should be in place and therefore monitored by the department; that basic information is available to the communities and users of the service; that the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation and offices of the premiers, which the Minister has referred to, are able to identify where improvement initiatives should be targeted; and that evaluation of the performance of government and departments is also one of the aims of front- line service delivery.
The surprise visits were already referred to by the speakers before me. Officials from the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, DPME, and the premiers assess the level of service delivery. Officials interview, as already mentioned, staff and people who are there, and do an observation of the situation that exists there.
The hon Snell has referred to citizen-based monitoring and evaluation. So I will not talk about it. I turn to the presidential hotline. This is an effective, toll-free line for service delivery and an important source of information for government-wide performance monitoring and evaluation. It enables government to track important issues for citizens as well as its responsiveness to citizens. The statistics have already been mentioned: 122 509 cases were logged between September 2009 and 31 January 2012, and between 500 and 1 000 calls are recorded per day. Responsiveness, as mentioned, has improved from 39% in November 2009 to 80% in January 2012.
It is a fact that community members know about the Presidential Hotline and refer each other to the hotline. The Thabazimbi Local Municipality once received a referral from the hotline in my presence, which shows how widely spread and utilised this service is. They even referred to it during our community meetings.
This programme has shown that reconstruction and development is people- driven. It links democracy, development and the people-centred approach, which has been the programme of the ANC. The department discussed its focus areas for 2012-13 and the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework with the committee. The highest increased budget allocation falls within this Programme 4, which we both dealt with.
The findings that we all know about and that were received by the department were both positive and negative. Visits of officials from the department and offices of premiers were appreciated by the communities. To mention a few negative findings: There was no internal signage for users to be able to reach their destinations within the institutions; there were long waiting times and long queues; neglected facilities; and a lack of maintenance. These are the gaps which, when identified, are being addressed by one particular department, which is given the opportunity to address and close the gaps that are seen in the other departments.
The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation also includes national youth development. As a result, there is no way we can say that we need reports from them. From where we are, we agreed that both presented their strategic plans and annual performance plans to us. We agreed and acknowledged that it was the first time that we saw them and we are going to organise workshops at which we will be able to understand and follow their mandates and operations.
As a result, hon Swart, this is where we are going to go deep into the matter and ask for their reports. They will definitely present us with reports, because they are new to us. We did not have time to refer to their reports.
Another issue that I want to refer to is the National Youth Development Agency. This agency was addressed intensively and clearly put to us by the hon Mkhulusi. We all know that it is a Polokwane resolution in terms of wanting to look at all the youth of South Africa, not only the youth from a certain particular party, hence the composition of that board is a multiparty one. [Interjections.]
Two of the nine identified challenges, as listed in the diagnostic report of the National Planning Committee, are that there are too few people who work and that the standard of education for most black learners is of a poor quality.