Voorsitter, Minister en lede, ek wil minister Chabane bedank vir sy toespraak. Hy het duidelik gewys hy het reeds 'n goeie begrip van hierdie departement waarvoor hy nou verantwoordelikheid aanvaar het.
Die Nasionale Ontwikkelingsplan, NOP, is duidelik: T min Suid-Afrikaners het werk. Die internasionale ervaring is dat ekonomiese groei ten beste deur die privaat sektor gedryf word. Die ho vlakke van werkloosheid sal alleen verlaag word deur volgehoue groei in die privaat sektor. Dit is dan ook ons visie van 'n oop, geleentheidsgedrewe samelewing.
Die Nasionale Ontwikkelingsplan: Visie 2030 is duidelik. Die privaat sektor moet ondersteun word deur 'n effektiewe Staatsdiens en staatsadministrasie. Die Staatsdiens het enorme veranderinge, noem dit transformasie as u wil, oor die laaste jare gesien. Sommige hiervan was goed, en ons erken graag dat dienste nou gelewer word aan gebiede wat voor 1994 dikwels afgeskeep is.
Tog het ons ook te veel mislukkings van die Staatsdiens oor die afgelope jare gesien, en danksy die DA is 'n hele klomp hiervan aan die kaak gestel. My kollega agb Mc Gluwa en die agb Minister het verwys na die groeiende probleem van korrupsie, en dat anonieme aanmeldlyne, oftewel "hotlines", soos dit algemeen bekend staan, en 'n verskeidenheid strukture wat hiermee moet handel, besig is met 'n opdraande stryd.
Minister, ons is dankbaar dat dit ook u aandag gaan geniet. Hierdie stryd het die President genoop om 'n groot deel van sy staatsrede hieraan te wy en verskeie planne aan te kondig.
Een van hierdie planne is die aankondiging van 'n sentrale tenderraad vir alle regeringsfere. Ongelukkig het juis hierdie plan die potensiaal om die tenderprosesse in die Staatsdiens, wat alreeds een van die probleem-areas in die Staatsdiens is, nog lomper te maak en tenderprosesse nog langer uit te rek. Maar as dit kan help met die korrupsie, waarvan Nkandla waarskynlik maar die oortjies van die seekoei is, sal die DA dit met voorbehoude steun.
Daar word dikwels gemeld dat die Staatsdiens goed is met beplanning, maar dat die probleme hoofsaaklik by die implementering van hierdie goeie planne l. Ek verskil. Goeie beplanning sluit tog ook in planne vir implementering. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Mr A P VAN DER WESTHUIZEN: Chairperson, Minister and hon members, I wish to thank Minister Chabane for his speech. He has shown clearly that he already has a good understanding of this department for which he is now responsible. The National Development Plan, NDP, makes it clear: Too few South Africans have work. International experience proves that economic growth is best driven by the private sector. The high levels of unemployment will be lowered only by means of sustained growth in the private sector. This is indeed also our vision of an open, oportunity-driven society.
The National Development Plan: Vision 2030 is clear. The private sector needs to be supported by an effective Public Service and state administration. The Public Service has in recent years seen enormous changes, call them transformation, if you wish. Some of these were good, and we are pleased to acknowledge that services are now being delivered to areas which were often neglected before 1994.
However, we have also seen too many failures by the Public Service in the past few years, and thanks to the DA, a whole lot of these have been exposed. My colleague the hon Mc Gluwa and the hon Minister referred to the increasing problem of corruption and the fact that anonymous reporting lines, or ?hotlines?, as they are commonly known, and a variety of structures that need to deal with these, are engaged in an uphill battle.
Minister, we are grateful that this is also receiving your attention. This battle has compelled the President to devote a large part of his state of the nation speech to this and to announce various plans.
One of these plans is the announcement of a central tender board for all spheres of government. Unfortunately, this very plan has the potential to make the tender processes in the Public Service, which are already one of the problem areas in the Public Service, even clumsier and to extend the tender processes even further. But if this is going to assist with fighting corruption, of which Nkandla is probably only the tip of the iceberg, the DA will support it with certain reservations.
It is often said that the Public Service is good with planning, but that the problems lie chiefly with the implementation of these good plans. I beg to differ. Good planning surely also includes plans for implementation.]
Where was the excellent planning to cope with the recent increased demands placed on the Public Service after the Minister of Home Affairs issued new immigration regulations and when people had to learn that the delays of several weeks in the issuing of travel documentation would be aggravated and that this would lead to delays of several months?
Where were the excellent plans when the presidential hotline was introduced in 2009 and when, for many months, only a small percentage of phone calls could be dealt with?
Where are the plans to address the growing backlog in housing to manage the migration from rural areas? Where are the plans to deal with the long queues that we see daily at some offices? I could go on and on.
It remains a challenge to our Public Service to acknowledge excellent service and to attract and retain people with the necessary skills, people who display an entrepreneurial approach to service delivery. I therefore welcome the Minister's focus, in his speech, on addressing this challenge.
Too many public servants are still unable to distinguish between an entrepreneurial approach to their work, which is a good thing, and personal entrepreneurial ventures where they are benefiting, often in corrupt ways, from public funds. The DA welcomes the recent announcement that, in future, public servants will have to declare their business interests.
This is another instance where the Western Cape provincial government has shown national government the way.
The DA also supports the announcement by the President in his state of the nation address that the number of internships in the public sector will be increased. We believe that the skills gained under this programme will reduce unemployment amongst the youth.
Please note, Minister, we trust that the opportunities to apply for these internships will be open to all South Africans and not only to a few well- connected young people.
Minister Chabane also referred to the Public Service Commission's reports stating year after year that only a low percentage of grievances in the public sector are being dealt with within the timelines stated in the regulations. These are all signs of weak management in the public sector.
When one visits the offices of public entities and government departments - which we, as parliamentarians, are often privileged to do - one cannot help but to observe the bottlenecks caused by poor allocation of resources, outdated office equipment, the lack of proper filing equipment and poor workflow processes. Surely any competent manager should at a glance be able to identify these as problem areas.
Some delays are, however, not that obvious to observe. We also support President Zuma's observation in his response to the state of the nation address that- There is a need to enhance skills development in areas such as financial management. Shortcomings become glaring each time the Auditor-General releases his annual report.
He also said, and I quote:
We agree with honourable members that part of improving the performance of the state is to get government to pay small businesses and other suppliers promptly within 30 days.
Te veel klein entrepreneurs, veral opkomende entrepreneurs, het al bankrot gespeel as gevolg van die staat se vertraging in die vereffening van hul rekeninge. [Too many small entrerpreneurs, particularly emerging entrepreneurs, have gone bankrupt in the past as a result of the state's delays in settling their accounts.]
However, efficiency in administration also requires relevant technology. The State Information Technology Agency, Sita, has been beset with problems since its inception in April 1999. The current chief executive officer, Mr Nomvalo, is the 17th chief executive officer in the last 15 years.
The Sita has been through many turnaround exercises. The problem is this: The State Information Technology Agency Amendment Act, Act 38 of 2002, identified Sita as the sole entity to establish and maintain computer networks for all government departments. All information technology, IT, equipment and services must be procured through this entity, despite this entity lacking stability and leadership for so long. It is only when Sita declares a service as one beyond its capability that government departments are allowed to procure IT equipment and services elsewhere.
This week's presidential proclamation, which intends to move the responsibility for Sita from Minister Chabane's ambit to that of the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, will do little to bring the much-needed stability to Sita, neither will this move impact positively on the level of service supplied by Sita.
The current senior management of Sita has embarked on a valuable and, at times, brutally honest self-assessment of the organisation. The strategic plan points out that 50% of all tenders are cancelled, that customers do not know about the progress and delays with tenders and that Sita has been unable to leverage economies of scale in its procurement processes.
Kortliks, die staat betaal meer vir rekenaars as waarvoor dit in die oop mark gekoop kan word. [Briefly, the state pays more for computers than they could be purchased for in the open market.]
In its strategic plan for 2014 to 2019, Sita stated that it takes more than 12 months to deliver on tender requests, that it is slow to enter into new contracts after they expire and that some contracts are therefore repeated up to five times without testing the market. No wonder, then, that out of an estimated annual budget of R25 billion for information communications technology, ICT, spending, less than R4,3 billion is addressed by Sita.
It is clear that many government departments have done everything they can to circumvent Sita in their ICT spending. It is generally accepted that access to information technology is paramount to this country's future economic growth. The National Development Plan is quite clear on this in saying that ICT can be used as a tool to fight poverty, increase employment, education and entrepreneurship.
Most of these goals can also apply to the Public Service. The DA will therefore continue to measure the Department of Public Service and Administration against these goals. I thank you. [Applause.]