Hon Chairperson, I feel embarrassed that the Minister was using an iPad ... [Laughter.] ... and I am still carrying papers. Next time I will try to follow suit. [Laughter.]
Minister for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, the hon Jeff Radebe; Deputy Minister for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, the hon Buti Manamela; hon members; and ladies and gentlemen, one of the greatest French aristocrats and a pioneering aviator, Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, once said, and I quote:
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Indeed, in South Africa we have recognised that planning is critical for the state to succeed in discharging its mandate and political commitments to its people. We are saying this because we are aware that we come from a divided and atrocious past, where the majority of the people of South Africa were not only neglected but also completely ostracised in the country of their birth.
In 1998 the Presidential Review Commission advised government that co- ordination at the centre of government was not only weak, but also fraught with a number of challenges such as a lack in a common agenda and inadequate oversight and governance systems.
It is for this reason that we took a firm decision to enhance the performance of our government and to establish all the requisite systems and framework to ensure that we monitor and evaluate the performance of our government.
As we consider Budget Vote 6 of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, we must proceed from the understanding that, as the Medium-Term Strategic Framework, MTSF, correctly points out, we operate in a global environment with too much uncertainty and turbulence. We should also recognise that the challenges that our society faces have deep historical roots in our apartheid past that left us with a fractured and disjointed society characterised by inequality, poverty and underdevelopment.
It is for this reason that the ANC-led government adopted the National Development Plan, NDP, as a critical tool that focuses on the plans of government and defines a common agenda for all spheres of the South African government. As the ANC, we believe that for the NDP to be realised, it is critical that we proceed with the utmost urgency and determination in order to enhance the capacity of our state machinery so that it is able to discharge the mandate of a developmental state; and we should work progressively to deal with the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
In this regard, the ANC continues to initiate and support policy initiatives aimed at enhancing the state's technical capacity and people's skills capacity. It is in this context that we recently supported the public administration management, among many recent interventions, to promote the basic values and principles governing the public administration referred to in section 195(1) of the Constitution, which states, and I quote:
Public administration must be governed by the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution, including the following principles:
a) A high standard of professional ethics must be promoted and maintained. b) Efficient, economic and effective use of resources must be promoted. c) Public administration must be development-oriented. d) Services must be provided impartially, fairly, equitably and without bias. e) People's needs must be responded to, and the public must be encouraged to participate in policy-making. f) Public administration must be accountable.
Hon Minister, as the ANC and this committee, we have the utmost confidence in your leadership to continue driving the department in producing results on performance and governance. We do so because we take great pride in the fact that, since the inception of this department more has been achieved in the monitoring and evaluation of the work of government departments, with the view to addressing structural problems that impede proper services.
We are aware that you are working with greater urgency and decisiveness to ensure that the challenges facing the Public Service are addressed.
The widespread service delivery protests mean we need to strengthen our monitoring and evaluation capacity in all government departments, but firstly, strengthening it by ensuring that people who deliver a service have the requisite skills. This is the function that must be carried out by sectors responsible for higher education and training, the sector education and training authorities, Setas, as well as the imminent National School of Government, NSG. This will demonstrate government's and the ruling party's commitment to the provision of services and impacting the lives of our citizens.
As part of celebrating 20 years of democracy, government has published a Twenty-Year Review strategy as evidence to reflect on the progress made and challenges encountered since 1994. The focus of the fifth administration is to work on the building blocks through monitoring the deliverables concerning the outcomes approach employed by government to track the impact of services rendered. The department has a huge responsibility to undertake through the monitoring and evaluation of the work of all spheres of government and their entities.
The government's delivery agreement and outcomes approach further puts more emphasis on ensuring that indicators of performance are configured and followed through with proper monitoring tools such as the management performance assessment tool, MPAT, towards changing the lives of the people.
The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation is charged with the responsibility to monitor the implementation and reviewing of delivery agreements. The committee supports the department in assisting the executive to monitor and evaluate the work of government. The department's establishment and existence is unquestionable and should always remain relevant to assist government in sharpening service delivery tools and methods.
The President highlighted during the state of the nation debate that the following priorities are to be undertaken in relation to the mandate of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.
The first priority is the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities. I am proud to announce that that has happened already. The committee will oversee the department as it achieves targets set by the President for the Inter- Ministerial Committee on the Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities. We are looking forward to receiving a full briefing and regular updates on the progress made by the Inter-Ministerial Committee.
The second priority is to continue to conduct unannounced visits to service delivery sites in order to monitor indicators such as queue management and waiting times, dignified treatment, cleanliness and comfort.
The third priority is the monitoring of government performance against the five key priorities of education, health, crime reduction, job creation and the development of rural communities.
We noted the policy shift when the National Treasury requested the department to play a direct role in guiding the strategic and annual performance planning in government. These policy directives will help in aligning the strategic and annual performance plans of the departments with the NDP: Vision for 2030. This is a smart and well-thought-out strategy championed by the National Treasury.
One can attest to it today that government has delivered many services which have led to the improvement of the lives of our people, but more still needs to be done. It is fairly important to link planning with monitoring and evaluation. The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation is in the process of revising the delivery agreements for 2014 to 2019 for the 14 service delivery outcomes of government.
The role of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation is to effectively monitor and evaluate outcomes on a regular basis. The department's demands are incremental, which determines their relevancy and existence today.
The committee has noted the newly identified indicators in the strategic and annual performance plans such as the Local Government Management Improvement Model, LGMIM, which will help to determine the efficacy and value for money of that sector. Currently, with the state of local government, the establishment of such indicators will accord the necessary responsibility to our municipalities to deliver a prompt service to our people and exert pressure on them to carry it out.
The scorecards on the local government improvement model are very good initiatives and are very welcome in order to reflect on municipalities that will need various interventions.
The development indicators provide an indication of the progress in government's programmes, policies and projects rendered by a number of departments. The development indicators also provide government with proper assessment on the ground.
It is, for example, reported that the delivery of basic municipal services accessed by households increased by 95% between 2009 and 2012. The information reported on by the development indicators will be useful to guide different portfolio committees as they carry out their oversight functions.
Despite the state investing in commissioning research and evaluation studies of its programmes, we will never know whether we are doing things the right way, whether there is value for money, effectiveness, sustainability and impact, if the new government does not align its activities with the provisions envisaged in the NDP.
The department has already developed the National Evaluation Policy Framework, which serves as a guideline for government departments in commissioning evaluation studies.
The committee concurs with the department in playing a key role in assisting the national and provincial departments to evaluate programmes by establishing the steering committee to approve studies. This initiative will minimise and control duplication in different spheres of government.
The evaluation steering committee should ensure synergy in the three spheres of government. Value added on the results of evaluation of studies requires government departments together with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation to work together on the improvement plans of evaluated programmes.
Another priority of the department is improving the management of government departments, drawing lessons from Canada's best practices. The development and implementation of the management performance assessment tool brings about an effective tool for government to reflect on government departments by assessing the quality of management practices.
We applaud the department for the development of such a tool. However, there is a need to strengthen it. As we are aware, municipalities are at the core of the provision of service delivery. Therefore, these new assessment tools will go a long way in assisting government to determine whether or not it is making any progress in making a dent in structural challenges.
Following these observations, the committee feels that the department should speed up the process of piloting the municipal assessment tool to cover all the municipalities. The committee welcomes the expansion of the assessment tool across all spheres of government.
In September 2009 the President introduced a Presidential Hotline as a tool to contribute to a more accessible and responsive government. Since the inception of the hotline, a number of cases were received and resolved such as those at Ngobi village, which was visited by the President in Hammanskraal under the Moretele Local Municipality in the North West province, where they had problems. More than 190 000 complaints were logged and received the necessary attention through the Presidential Hotline.
Indeed, there are many good stories to tell regarding the successes of the Presidential Hotline. Most of the referrals from the hotline to government departments have been attended to on time. [Applause.] Improvement is what everyone aspires to achieve at all times. The development of systems that categorise the cases in terms of clusters and provinces will provide the government with clear indications of which departments need interventions. We want a functional Public Service that prioritises service delivery to the people. The initiative of the department on the citizen-based support programme will intensify the manner in which government departments and local municipalities provide quality services.
To my fellow members of the portfolio committee and the parliamentary support staff, thank you very much for your commitment in ensuring that the committee fulfils its constitutional mandate. Together we are moving South Africa forward. We support the Budget Votes. Thank you. [Applause.]