Oral Replies by Deputy President David Mabuza to the National Assembly, Parliament, Cape Town
QUESTION: On the role played by the Human Resources Development Council of South Africa in addressing the shortages of critical skills required to improve service delivery at local government level.
REPLY BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT MABUZA:
The Human Resource Development Council provides an important platform that fosters collaboration on building the necessary skills required for economic growth, development and service delivery.
It is seized with the responsibility of ensuring that the appropriate foundation is established for South Africa’s objective of building a capable and developmental state.
For a developmental state to succeed, the overall capacity of the state to intervene, direct, and achieve desired outcomes is dependent on the existence of a public service that is capable, professional and committed.
To address performance gaps in a number of service delivery areas, the public sector needs to take a national long-term perspective on public service training and capacity building, including the selection and placement of appropriately skilled individuals in the right positions.
Performance deficiencies are a consequence of a mismatch between job requirements and competencies of incumbents, resulting in government’s inability to deliver the desired services and lead the achievement of expected developmental outcomes.
For local government to function optimally, the appropriate selection and placement of skilled individuals in key positions is critical to ensure that capacities exist to drive, champion and lead development and service delivery at all institutional levels.
For its part, the Human Resource Development Council is tasked with identifying critical skills required in our country across all sectors, including skills required to improve the quality of service delivery within municipalities.
This is intended to ensure that there is a clear response in terms of building a pipeline of relevant skills required to propel growth and development.
Our assessment of local government performance points to some areas of concern resulting from inappropriate placement of individuals whose skills are not aligned with core competencies required for the jobs they occupy. The audit outcomes by The Auditor-General have highlighted some critical areas of intervention to improve the performance of our municipalities.
Where these performance challenges have been identified, it is imperative to provide targeted programmes to enhance skills with a view of improving the performance of municipalities.
Some of the areas that require improvement include leadership capacity, managerial competence, technical and project execution, as well as financial management skills.
Through the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, SALGA, and National Treasury, a number of training and capacity building programmes are implemented as part of integrated support to municipalities.
These programmes include:
municipal finance development, and municipal executive development in partnership with selected universities
Technical, project management and engineering skills to enhance project execution and delivery, especially infrastructure projects
Financial management and governance, including skills for the implementation of revenue enhancement measures
Leadership and management programmes implemented through the National School of Government
These interventions are complemented by focused recruitment and selection of competent managers in critical senior positions, and the professionalisation of corporate systems and processes like performance management systems.
The deployment of expert technical teams across a range of municipal disciplines is another important intervention to effect skills transfer programmes that benefit municipal officials. Where skills audits have been undertaken, individuals are placed appropriately based on qualifications, skills and experience.
The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs champions programmes such as Revenue Enhancement, Municipal Competency Regulations, Municipal Performance and Financial Monitoring and many others.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Service Delivery at District level will continue to engage with the Human Resource Development Council to identify and coordinate intervention measures to provide skills required to improve the performance of municipalities.
With regard to the second part of the main question, it is important to point out that matters raised herein fall outside the defined scope of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Service Delivery at District Level.
I thank you!
QUESTION: On progress made by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform and Agriculture chaired by the Deputy President, with regards to coordinating and providing political leadership to accelerate land reform.
REPLY BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT MABUZA:
We would like to assure this House that the amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, in order to enable the expropriation of land without compensation remains a commitment and priority of this Administration. Government will not deviate from this policy position.
As a reminder to all of us, the Freedom Charter sets fundamental principles that emphasise among others, equal rights and shared opportunities as well as the pursuit of redress, redistribution, social, economic and spatial justice.
In practical terms, the Charter foresees a direct role for:
both public and private property ownership,
a developmental role of the state
a state with legal authority, political will and resources to address the land question
We have said in this house, and elsewhere, that the land reform process shall be pursued in a responsible manner that seeks to address the following objectives:
sustained inclusive economic growth,
address the skewed concentration of ownership by large corporations/monopolies,
diversify the economy through re-industrialisation, manufacturing and beneficiation.
In other words, we are pursuing a land reform programme for increased agricultural production, for integrated human settlements in order to address apartheid spatial planning, and for industrial use to support manufacturing and other means of production.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform and Agriculture, tasked with coordinating and providing political leadership to accelerate land reform, is currently finalising government’s comprehensive response to the recommendations made by the Panel of Experts on Land Reform. A comprehensive response to the Panel’s recommendations will be presented to Cabinet for consideration and approval.
It is worth pointing out that the Panel of Experts on Land Reform has supported the amendment of the Constitution to set out unambiguous provisions for expropriation of land without compensation. The Panel also supports the finalisation of the Expropriation Bill to enable land expropriation within a properly guided legislative framework.
In as far as the work of the Constitutional Review Committee towards the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution is concerned, the Chairperson of the Joint Constitutional Review Committee announced that the Committee will be able to meet its deadline to amend the Constitution.
He has indicated that the Committee would have completed its work by March 2020, as directed by Parliament. He has given the assurance that everything is on track to meet the deadline.
We are confident that Parliament will be able to finalise its own processes within planned schedules.
In the meantime, Government will proceed with the development and tabling of the Expropriation Bill currently underway to provide for the expropriation of property for a public purpose or in the public interest. This process will not be affected by the parliamentary process for the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution.
I thank you.
QUESTION: On practical outreach programmes led by government in fostering dialogue on social cohesion and nation building including the role played by Moral Regeneration Movement to rollout the Charter of Good Values to all sectors of the society.
REPLY BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT MABUZA:
The imperative for the Moral Regeneration of our society has never been more urgent, given the lingering effects of moral decay in our nation leading to an alarming upsurge in gender-based violence, femicide and deaths in our schools across the country.
When the Moral Regeneration Movement was established, it was due in large part to the vision and foresight of former President Nelson Mandela who believed that parallel to the Reconstruction and Development Project, which focused mainly on government’s efforts towards improvement of the material conditions of our people, there should also be an RDP of the Soul.
This meant that equal attention had to be paid to the project of re-building the foundations of a morally upright society anchored on core values of dignity, equality, and respect for human rights and liberties.
This would focus on moral renewal, the promotion of positive values in society, and the cultivation of a collective sense of consciousness and corresponding obligations in safeguarding one another’s welfare as we build a united and cohesive society.
This was borne out of a growing realisation that our history of social fractures, violence, instability, and moral decay were signs of a struggling society, not at peace with itself. For social reconstruction to gain traction, moral renewal and transformation had to be embedded and interwoven into the fabric of society as a whole.
For all intents and purposes, the Moral Regeneration Movement as a civil society-led organisation, has made its contribution towards orchestrating a socially-inclusive process that fosters multi-stakeholder participation in pursuit of moral renewal in our communities. Through government support, the Moral Regeneration Movement has managed to implement programmes and campaigns focusing on moral renewal and ethical conduct.
Our task is to build on what has been achieved to date, and address existing constraints through targeted support in terms of additional resources required to upscale and expand the footprint of moral regeneration programmes.
We have made a commitment to mobilise resources for the Moral Regeneration Movement, both within and outside government.
It is important to mobilise support for the Moral Regeneration Movement in terms of additional resources to complement government’s contribution. Thus, we need to create platforms of participation for key sectors in society such as business, the faith fraternity as well as our traditional leaders.
In view of the above, we are planning a Moral Regeneration Summit in the last quarter of this financial year, which will provide a platform of engagement for other key sectors so as to get them to commit to this moral regeneration programme.
The summit will be preceded by a Stakeholder Consultative Workshop scheduled for 7-8 November 2019 in the Gauteng Province. The workshop will set out the agenda and framework for engagement at the national summit.
What ought to come out of the workshop and the summit is a real concrete plan on moral regeneration which would have been costed and which would be implemented as part of the 2019/2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework commitment.
As part of the current work being implemented by the Moral Regeneration Movement, there are various programmes such as the Anti-Femicide Campaign, the Charter of Positive Values, and the Ethical Leadership Programme.
We must indicate here, Honourable Members, that the work of the Moral Regeneration Movement can only gain traction to the extent that there is proper coordination between the Moral Regeneration Movement and provincial focal points, who should do the bulk of the work, given their close proximity to communities.
In this regard, we are committed to further extending our work of the Moral Regeneration Movement to districts, given the new district based approach to planning and service delivery.
Going into the future, it is clear that our Moral Regeneration Programme across the country has to give priority attention to problems and social ills that are threatening to tear our society apart.
The Anti-Femicide Campaign will become even more important as a core component of the broader Moral Regeneration programme, given the unacceptably high incidents of gender-based violence, and more specifically intimate partner abuse and murder. This will be in keeping with the President’s solemn pledge to deal pragmatically with gender-based violence.
In addition, the Charter of Positive Values has been endorsed at the highest levels and most of the dialogues and community conversations that the Moral Regeneration Movement organises across the country are framed around the substance and spirit of this Charter.
The Charter is a good example of putting the values of the Constitution into practical effect, through the lens of the African moral ethic of Ubuntu /Botho. The Charter interprets the values of the Constitution, taking into account African values; traditions; culture; philosophy; their collective sense of being, and their way of life.
We will continue with the campaign of popularising the Charter of Positive Values in our schools and public facilities to inculcate and deepen social consciousness on the intent and meaning of ‘positive values’ within our society.
Our working partnership with the Department of Correctional Services will continue to focus rehabilitation programmes for inmates as part of preparing them for re-integration into communities.
In terms of the Ethical Leadership Programme, the Moral Regeneration Movement has developed a mutually beneficial partnership with the South African Local Government Association, in which a number of councillors in some selected municipalities have had the benefit of induction on ethical leadership. This is aimed at raising their level of consciousness on the need to be ethical leaders in discharging their roles as public representatives at local government level.
We will be stepping up efforts in ensuring that this Ethical Leadership Programme is expanded to reach more municipalities as well as public representatives in general.
I thank you.
QUESTION: On government efforts to achieve the longstanding objective for African integration and shared continental economic cooperation through implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
REPLY DEPUTY PRESIDENT MABUZA:
Our foreign policy position moves from a basis that the promotion of regional integration is an important economic and political goal of our government.
South Africa’s development is linked to the development and stability of Africa, especially our region of Southern Africa. It is on this basis that our Government has over the years of our democracy, committed itself towards consolidating the African Agenda.
To advance this agenda, we have sought to establish constructive partnerships with other African countries and have promoted mutually-beneficial economic relations that are based on the ideal of regional integration.
As we all work towards this African continental integration, we are mindful of the prevailing development challenges facing not only our region in Southern Africa, but the whole continent. These development challenges are well documented, and include amongst others:
Undiversified commodity-led growth paths;
Small and fragmented markets;
Infrastructure deficiencies such as energy, telecommunications, poor connectivity as far as roads, rail and ports is concerned, which all have negative impact on trade facilitation;
Lack of technological infrastructure and Research and Development;
Instability linked to armed conflicts and poor political governance;
Inadequate human capital and ‘brain drain’; as well as
Dependence of certain countries to Official Development Assistance from donor countries.
For decades, the continent was characterised by a history of civil strives and armed conflicts, which has since been replaced by maturing democracies and good governance. It is true that we still have isolated cases of instability, but overall, the current reality is that Africa is not the same as two decades ago.
The region has trade and investment potential in areas of agriculture and agro-processing, infrastructure development in terms of roads, rail, ports, telecommunications, water purification and bulk supply, energy, logistics, and Information Communication Technologies, to name a few. If these are fully exploited, they will contribute to establishing appropriate interconnections that would enhance intra-regional trade.
The African Continental Free Trade Area that has been signed and ratified by 54 African countries, seeks to fast-track the agenda of continental integration and create one large market as opposed to current fragmented markets found at country level.
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement therefore, represents a significant step towards achieving the longstanding objective for African integration and shared continental economic cooperation. It is about combining market integration with infrastructure development, and industrial development to boost intra-Africa trade and sustainable economic growth.
By providing a larger continental market, this Free Trade Area offers us the opportunity to improve economies of scale and efficiency, thereby improving Africa’s competitiveness both in its own markets and globally.
This Free Trade Area is an important initiative in accelerating industrialization and economic development across the African continent. It aims to build an integrated market in Africa that will see a market of over 1 billion people with a combined GDP of approximately 3.3 trillion US Dollars.
The 54 Member States, are expected to progressively eliminate restrictive measures that affect trade in services through the reduction and removal of market access barriers.
Currently, South Africa’s primary export destination in Africa is the SADC region due to the advantage of proximity to countries in this region. This Free Trade Area, presents us with an opportunity to further grow our trade volumes and expansion to new markets.
For instance, we can build further from current trade volumes with the likes of Nigeria in West Africa, which is currently around 56 billion Rands; Kenya in East Africa which is currently 9.1 billion Rands; Cameroon in Central Africa which is currently around 630 million Rands; and Egypt in North Africa currently at around 4.1 billion Rands.
This Free Trade Area, further provides South Africa with alternative markets for the export of value added goods, as well as trade in services.
While the scope of this Free Trade Agreement does not include technology and digital trade in specific terms, the African Union is currently undertaking parallel initiatives on the development of an African Digital Trade and Digital Economy Development Strategy through the Specialised Technical Committee on Trade, Industry and Mineral Resources.
For its part, South Africa is developing a comprehensive response to the digital trade and the 4th Industrial Revolution through the President’s Advisory Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The emerging issues from these processes as far as initiatives around 4th Industrial Revolution is concerned, should bring into sharper focus how as African countries we engage meaningfully in technical cooperation across various sectors of development.
We should look at how we address youth unemployment by harnessing our manufacturing capability and human innovation. We can for example make major advances in upscaling of our value-added exports taking advantage of rapid technological advances to achieve new efficiencies along product value chains.
The deployment of digital banking technologies and solutions across the continent will integrate financial services, facilitate trade, eliminate red tape, and reduce the cost of doing business on the continent. It will link producers with markets.
For our part, this suggests that the agenda of building a better Africa must also focus on technical cooperation between relevant research and development agencies as well as industry associations in areas of industrial research, technology development and transfer, standards and enterprise development as tools to enhance further trade and investment.
We call upon the private sector in particular, to play its part in the process of continuous skilling of its workforce to adapt to the ever-changing environment influenced by technological advancement.
I thank you!
QUESTION: On the model adopted by government for unlocking the economic potential of our country’s land and property assets.
REPLY BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT MABUZA:
Across all spheres, government departments, municipalities, and state owned companies play various and differentiated roles as custodians of state-owned land and property assets. Within the framework of applicable legislation and prescripts, they all have a responsibility to ensure that state owned land and property assets are managed, deployed and disposed of, to unlock economic value to support our development and service delivery goals.
Currently, there are various models implemented across government and state-owned companies to ensure that state land and property assets are utilized in a manner that supports fiscal revenue streams, public infrastructure development, spatial development planning, new investments and growth expansions.
Having said that, the strategic management of state-owned land and property assets is key to unlocking economic growth and development to advance socio-economic transformation. Across all spheres of government and state-owned companies, land and properties are held to meet current and future service delivery and developmental needs.
Without access to land for productive use, there can be no development. Without land for building enabling infrastructure networks, such as roads, telecommunications, and bulk water reticulation, there can be no meaningful development.
In addition to state-owned land parcels, government has, over the years, invested in a huge portfolio of economic infrastructure, buildings and houses, some of which remain under-utilized and inadequately maintained.
Where land and properties are under-utilised, and in excess to requirements for originally intended developmental use, they must be released for alternative use in a manner that unlocks the country’s growth potential.
Within the framework of applicable prescripts and policies, state-owned land and immovable assets must be deployed, managed, and disposed of in a way that ensures full realisation of inherent economic value.
The release of state-owned land must serve the public interest, and the long-term spatial development plans to deal with growth and future settlement expansions. Land invasions and uncontrolled settlements growth are unsustainable. That is why land must be proactively released to address this challenge, especially in our major cities.
We must urgently deal with the problem of under-utilised and derelict government owned buildings which are susceptible to hijacking by criminal syndicates. The release of these buildings for productive economic use is critical.
As we mentioned last week in this august House, government is taking a holistic approach to the release, and redistribution of state-owned land and properties to address current and future developmental priorities.
As part of accelerating land reform, government has prioritised intervention measures that will unlock strategically located land for redistribution to support agricultural production, human settlements and industrial development.
The release of state-owned land will address the need to build human settlements, especially in urban and peri-urban spaces to deal with population growth and the rising demand new public infrastructure investment for the provision of road, water and sanitation.
Alongside this, we will also prioritise the identification and release of under-utilised state buildings that may be utilised or converted into modern areas of accommodation.
More essentially, government owned land must be used to leverage and attract private sector investment in priority areas of economic growth to address poverty and unemployment challenges. Government has prioritised the development of Special Economic Zones and Industrial Parks on state owned land to promote investments and industrialisation in targeted areas.
Where economic infrastructure and assets remain under-utilised, especially in former homeland areas, national government is working with provincial and local spheres to revitalise these assets, and provide business support infrastructure and services. This is intended to attract investments, and support the participation of new small and medium-sized enterprises into the mainstream economy.
The private sector can play an important role in unlocking the value of public land and property assets through sale, lease, or joint venture development projects. For instance, public-private partnerships in the management of heritage properties and biodiversity conservation land assets can unlock the injection of private capital and expertise to support local economies and community development.
Through sales, concessions or lease arrangements, government can unlock revenue streams to deal with some of its fiscal pressures. This would allow government to direct revenue streams from such assets to infrastructure investment and other service delivery priorities.
One of the lessons from our work on land reform is that there is a critical need for better institutional coordination in the effective and efficient management of state owned land and property assets. Our management systems and operating platforms are not integrated and seamless to provide a single view of the country’s composite balance sheet of state-owned land and property assets across all spheres of government and state-owned companies.
This leads to poor monitoring of utilisation by the custodians of these assets. In the process, the abuse of state land and properties for self-gain creeps in undetected.
In the medium to long-term, we need to integrate and streamline our systems to establish a common set of intergovernmental norms for records and inventories of state owned land and property assets across the country.
Decisions on state-owned and property assets must be based on clearly articulated development priorities, which are guided by the National Spatial Development Perspective. Any uncoordinated, and unguided disposal or transactions on state land and property assets may undermine national interest and our commitment to the ‘public good’ principle.
I thank you.
QUESTION: On government empowerment programmes to provide opportunities for rural and township youth, women and persons living with disabilities.
REPLY BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT MABUZA:
As a country, we are tirelessly working on initiatives aimed at realising the promise of freedom as expressed in our Constitution of 1996, Vision 2030 and the National Development Plan.
However, our great efforts aimed at uplifting many South Africans to the level of socio-economic security, continue to be hampered by sluggish economic growth. Despite all this, we continue to soldier on in the implementation of initiatives that will yield a better South Africa for all.
Our efforts are focussed on a social transformation programme that must deliver practical responses to our current challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
Through various government programmes, the championing of efforts towards fair and equitable provision of the offerings to Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities remains a priority. This is a task that requires government to prioritise targeted interventions to support the development and empowerment of women, youth and people with disabilities.
In doing so, collaborative partnerships with the private sector and other social partners is critical to mobilise additional resources to scale up government’s efforts
Our focus the development of rural and township is intended to create opportunities for skills development, entrepreneurship and infrastructure support to benefit women, youth and people with disabilities living in township and rural villages.
Through this work, we aim to support and upscale initiatives that are focused on ensuring that rural and township businesses become part of the mainstream economy and create employment, through improving their competitiveness and sustainability. Economic participation and skills development programmes should be targeted to respond to challenges in nodal areas of high poverty concentration, starting with households of people in receipt of government support.
As we mentioned in the NCOP on 11 September 2019, government is also implementing an integrated and comprehensive youth employment strategy which will be coordinated by a Project Management Office in the Presidency.
Through this strategy, we will ensure that in the next 10 years 5 million young work-seekers between the ages of 15 and 35 will have engaged in a national pathway management network and accessed services to help them grow their employability as they pursue work opportunities.
In partnerships with the Industrial Development Corporation, government departments, and other development finance agencies, the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities is leading the implementation of an enterprise and entrepreneurship development programme for women. This is one of the programmes aimed at providing financial management skills to all categories of women who own and manage enterprises.
The Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities has also partnered with traditional leaders to support women economic empowerment projects in South Africa’s rural areas.
The Department of Social Development, in partnership with the Japanese International Development Agency, initiated the Community Based Integrated Development Programme. The programme seeks to create capacity support for rural women to unlock economic opportunities for persons with disabilities. This programme has been piloted in the Vhembe and Thabo Mofutsanyana districts, and will be expanding into rural districts in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape in the next 12 months.
Furthermore, the National Youth Development Agency is championing youth development programmes for emerging entrepreneurs through the establishment of business incubation hubs. The agency also trains work seekers on job preparedness and life skills. It has also set itself a target of expanding its current reach by increasing the number of their centres in district municipalities to be more accessible to township and rural youth.
Through the Supported Employment Enterprises, an entity of the Department of Employment and Labour, employment opportunities are provided to over a thousand workers with disabilities in designated factories across the country.
Although these have traditionally been located in urban centres, plans are afoot to expand them into more rural provinces.
To support the development of enterprises owned by persons with disabilities, the Small Enterprise Finance Agency established Amavulindlela Funding Scheme to offer entrepreneurs with disabilities standard credit facilities at a preferential rate. This is supported by in-depth mentoring, coaching and business development support to ensure that these enterprises succeed.
Despite significant progress that government is making, more work still needs to be done create a fully inclusive society where women, youth and persons with disabilities enjoy equitable access to development and economic empowerment opportunities.
I thank you!
Source: Government of South Africa