Thank you, Madam Speaker:
President of the Republic, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa
Ministers and Deputy Ministers present here
Director-Generals and other senior government officials
Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is my great pleasure to make my contribution to the Presidency Budget Vote speech. This is the year in which we commemorate the centenaries of the stalwarts of our liberation struggle � Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu, a fearless champion of human rights, and Nelson Mandela, the first President of a democratic South Africa. We celebrate Ma Sisulu under the theme, A Woman of Fortitude, while President Mandela’s centenary is organised under the theme: Be the Legacy.
Since the beginning of the year, our nation has been gripped by losses of prominent personalities. Cultural icons such as the National Poet laureate, Prof Keorapetse Kgositsile, distinguished trumpeter Hugh Masekela, prominent photographer Sam Nzima and legendary guitarist, Phillip Tabane, all passed away in quick succession.
The fall of the Mother of the Nation� Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, has sent tremors throughout South Africa and the whole world. The passing of our giants confirmed the old adage that, When a big tree falls, the earth is bound to shake.
We must honour those who selflessly dedicated their life to the service of humanity. We must embrace the spirit of thuma mina as Tata Madiba and others did and became volunteers for transformation.
There was deliberate and a very systematic intervention to disposes African people of their land, livestock and wealth, a policy to keep them unskilled and excluded from participation in the economy.
The democratic government of the African National Congress (ANC) since 1994 has put in place strong institutions of democracy such as chapter 9 institutions, financial institutions, the judiciary and civil society organisations such as NEDLAC. These are the pillars of our democratic developmental state. It is for this reason that the NDP is very emphatic on the importance of the developmental state in tackling the root causes of poverty and inequality. It clearly states that:
South Africa requires both a capable and developmental state, able to act to redress historical inequalities and a vibrant and thriving private sector.
What this means in practical terms is that we should develop multipronged growth strategies, so that while we address the pressing issues of poverty, unemployment and inequalities, we simultaneously build a developmental state by establishing strong institutions that reinforce economic growth. Independent institutions such as Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) are the conscience of the nation � bringing to light sobering facts important for evidence-based planning and policy making.
To accelerate progress, we developed an integrated National Development Plan to comprehensively address the challenges. The adoption of the NDP as the overarching plan of the country in 2012, followed a rigorous public consultation process, which involved multiple stakeholders, including state entities, the private sector, civil society and labour. All these stakeholders worked with the National Planning Commission (NPC) in developing this plan. The core priorities of the NDP are to fight poverty, unemployment and inequality. Each institution should contribute towards the achievement of our collective vision as articulated in this lodestar of our nation.
Institutionalisation of Integrated Planning
While we have the NDP as the lodestar that guides our development endeavours, there is a great need for coordinated and integrated planning across government. Our current state of planning is fragmented, which undermines policy coherence and coordination, resulting in poor implementation and outcomes.
The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) developed and presented the Integrated Planning Framework Bill to cabinet. The Bill is aimed at establishing an institutional framework to integrate planning across government and ensure alignment between national, provincial and local government planning and other sectors.
The Bill proposes a five year implementation plan for the NDP to ensure focus on resourcing and immediate, short and medium term deliverables to ensure the achievement of our long term developmental goals of the NDP. Last month the Bill was approved by cabinet for publication in the Government Gazette for public comments.
As a developmental state we should have integrated comprehensive institutionalised nationwide planning utilising the resources and talents in the NPC and StatsSA. The implementation of the NDP will be better achieved through the new spatial planning moving away from the apartheid spatial planning. The spatial framework that we inherited from the apartheid state is designed in such a manner that the majority of our people do not have easy access to resources and essential services.
Spatial transformation particularly in municipal spaces is one of the necessary interventions to change the socio-economic conditions of the marginalized masses of South Africans. The NDP recognizes that, without deliberate and focused efforts to change the spatial configuration, public and private sector spending can exacerbate existing spatial divisions and reinforce economic exclusion.
We need to create an integrated spatial planning system that will ensure the spatial development of African people so that they live closer to work opportunities, require less travel to reach recreational centres, hospitals and other essential facilities. To this end, work has started on the development of the National Spatial Development Framework and we will closely monitor its development.
Health, Education and Social Security
Our democratic government has increased access to health care treatment, the effectiveness of our interventions is most evident in the manner in which the health of many South Africans is changing. We have made significant strides in the expansion of access to education, improved health care and the treatment of HIV/AIDS infections. Most importantly, both life expectancy infant mortality have significantly improved.
These interventions are further reinforced by the National Health Insurance (NHI). Through the implementation of the NHI, we will ensure that our people are able to access quality, cost-effective and holistic health care that is located close to where the live and work. The NHI will enable us to provide healthcare that is free at the point of service and that all the resources available in the health sector are available in an equitable, fair and inclusive manner.
Our nutrition programme, which has successively alleviated hunger at our schools, enabling many learners to benefit from the education system. We will ensure that under nutrition malnutrition underweight and stunting especially those children under five years of age. We have previously spoken about how a staggering 17 million South Africans are cushioned from extreme poverty through social grants.
Madam Speaker and Honourable Members,
President Ramaphosa has challenged all South Africans to make meaningful contribution towards transforming our society and the development of an inclusive economy. In his State of the Nation Address, the President paid tribute to Masekela through the song, Thuma mina, and galvanised the nation to sing in one song, to speak with one voice, and march in unison.
Thuma Mina, is a clarion call to inspire active citizenry, as espoused by the National Development Plan (NDP), our nation’s long-term plan. The song is a challenge to all South Africans to make a meaningful contribution towards the creation of a transformed and more prosperous society with a diverse and inclusive economy as envisaged in the NDP Vision 2030. This call heralded a new era� the era of collective responsibility. The era of active citizenry. We have entered an era where we do not wait for handouts; but we raise our hands-up.
Radical economic transformation and the Skills revolution
A radical shift in the manner and pace in which we do things is urgently needed if we are to meet any of the targets articulated in the NDP. Radical socio-economic transformation is premised on expediting fundamental changes required for black people to attain true economic freedom. At the core of this programme is the creation of decent work, accelerating shared and inclusive economic growth, and transforming the structure of production and ownership of business enterprises.
The citizens must be the allies of the radical socio-economic transformation. We need to make the relevant investments in order to achieve this. We must invest in our most precious resource, which is our people. A skills revolution will be important if we are to implement radical socio-economic transformation, specifically in the science, technology, engineering, maths, research innovation and entrepreneurship. We need to invest in vocational training and efficient artisans.
Skills Revolution and Youth Development
We need to equip our people with skills, knowledge and resources so that they can actively contribute to our growth and development as a nation. The most defining factor in our development endeavours will be a massive skills revolution, of which young people must be the primary architects.
We believe that innovators and entrepreneurs have a potential to boost economic growth, increase employment and reduce poverty and inequality. Young innovators and entrepreneurs stand to contribute immensely in the creation of millions of jobs that we need for the realisation of an inclusive economy. We must invest in skills development so that we can produce young men and women who will become exceptional innovators and make a meaningful contribution to economic growth.
Poverty and Inequality
The World Bank in collaboration with Stats SA and the DPME, produced a report on Overcoming Poverty and Inequality in South Africa, which confirms the grim reality that South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world. The analysis of the report reveals that poverty is higher among female-headed households, that Black South Africans consistently exhibit the highest poverty rates, and that poverty declines with the higher levels of education. The study makes the following startling observations:
1. Consumption inequality is very high and has increased since the end of apartheid.
2. High level of inequality of opportunity.
3. Wage inequality is very high and is compounded by heavy polarisation two extremes.
4. Wealth inequality is very high, even higher than income inequality.
5. How intergenerational mobility is an obstruction to all inequality reduction
We need to make deliberate and determined efforts if we are to change the current poverty trends. Our policy interventions to address the current condition should include fostering skills migration, accelerating the rollout of social and affordable housing and expanding basic services in underprivileged settlements.
Labour income remains the most important source in reducing the level and depth of poverty over 2006 � 2015, whilst income from social grants was the second. In rural areas income grants was by far the largest contributor to reducing the poverty gap. Whilst racial lines continue to determine poverty and inequality levels, the skills and labour market, incomes are an increasingly important determinant to deal with these challenges. The NDP states that South Africa requires both a capable developmental state and a vibrant and thriving private sector.
Realignment of Budget with NDP Priorities
The development of the Integrated Planning Bill is intrinsically linked to the cabinet’s decision to mandate the DPME and National Treasury to develop an annual Budget Prioritisation Framework (‘Mandate Paper’). The Mandate Paper is a significant step in the integration of governance across different spheres.
The objective of this document is to establish the strategic framework for decision-making on budget priorities that are required to advance the goals of the NDP. The Mandate paper focuses on strengthening the three key levers of NDP implementation:
Growing the economy
Enhancing the capabilities of South Africans, and
Building a capable state
It ensures that the various national departments, provinces and local government align their budgets with the goals of the NDP. In our endeavours to monitor government performance and set new targets for the remainder of the NDP, we will produce the 25-year review as the basis for our development strategies. The 25-year review is of particular significance as it will inform the implementation of the next Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), covering the period 2019 � 2024.
Service Delivery Challenges
We are also mindful of the fact that there are a number of factors that remain obstacles in the attainment of our objectives. These include service delivery challenges that cause significant discomfort and inconvenience to our communities. We are doing our best to attend to all the pressing needs of our people.
Over the past week, we had consultations with various stakeholders across the North West province where there were violent protests. Although the issues are very complex and diverse, we are convinced that they are not insurmountable.
With every crisis we face, we must always draw lessons. Our experience in North West demonstrates quite clearly that the challenges that our society faces are intertwined and need an integrated approach for effective governance of our institutions for service delivery.
It also raises the need for our monitoring and evaluation experts to continuously monitor communities so that we can detect early-warning signals to prevent the eruption of violent protests. In the spirit of Thuma mina, we must be proactive and lend a hand to assist and find solutions before there is a crisis.
This will be the realization of Madiba’s dream of a selfless society, where everyone contributes towards the creation of a better life for all. His words still echo today:
There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy without expecting anything in return.
As I conclude, Madam Speaker, I would like to reiterate the call for all South Africans to contribute towards the betterment of our society. We might be of varying religions, ideologies and political persuasions, but we claim allegiance to one nation. Let us join hands and work towards the creation of a better and more prosperous South Africa. It is through working together that we can propel our nation forward.
Source: Government of South Africa