Western Cape Governance Review Speech
Members of the House.
Standing in the middle of this provincial cabinet's term, and addressing this very important topic in the House today, I recall the face of Janus, with the two faces of which the one looks back to the past and the other looks forward to the future. In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions.
Today, we are looking back and reviewing the successes and weaknesses of the past two years, and looking forward to the challenges of the two years that lie ahead.
In my debate today I want to focus on five themes that this provincial cabinet introduced and which has dramatically changed the governmental landscape in which our ministers and departments operate.
The first is the provincial transversal management system.
The second is a monitoring and evaluation system.
The third is the principle of compound interest.
The fourth is the social concept of effecting behavior change in society.
The fifth is the Western Cape as a testing site for alternative solutions for our democracy.
1. Provincial Transversal Management System
At the beginning of our term, we found a government with departments all operating in silos, not communicating with each other and often working within the same communities, but the one unaware of the others programmes and action plans. This of course resulted in a fragmented state of affairs to the detriment of service delivery and sadly, a duplication and triplication of financial and human resources - paid for by our taxpayers.
This provincial government has managed to establish a governance model tailor made for the particular needs of the people of the Western Cape - a provincial transversal management system.
The system is designed to achieve measurable outcomes for target publics and communities, through the facilitation of sectors rather than singular departments. In other words, sectoral clusters address issues transversally while line departments become the implementing agents.
The transversal management system was designed and approved by cabinet in order to manage the implementation of the provincial strategic plan in a transversal manner throughout government. The provincial strategic plan identified eleven strategic objectives:
- Increasing opportunities for growth and jobs.
- Improving education outcomes.
- Increasing access to safe and efficient transport.
- Increasing wellness.
- Increasing safety.
- Developing integrated and sustainable human settlements.
- Mainstreaming sustainability and optimising resource-use efficiency.
- Promoting social inclusion and reducing poverty.
- Integrating service delivery for maximum impact.
- Creating opportunities for growth and development in rural areas.
- Building the best-run regional government in the world.
Towards the achievement of each of these objectives, sectoral clusters have been formed building a case and directive with steering and working groups as drivers. Their programmes and plans with accompanying budgets are all focused on outcome indicators - which will of course change in accordance with the indicators.
In this model our people are no longer the victims of a system, but the drivers, because the model is directed to meet the needs of individuals - not the needs of government. Government becomes the facilitator of the needs of its citizens, creating opportunities for every single person, able or disabled.
2. Monitoring and Evaluation System
It follows that in order to measure the performance of the sector programmes and action plans to achieve the above strategic objectives, a monitoring and evaluation system is required. All activities are collected into a dashboard that reflects the operational activities and in the greater scenario, the execution of the strategic objectives. Performance is evaluated as it reflects in the dashboard. Tight control is required to enforce the execution of every strategic objective, in accordance with budgets and annual performance plans.
3. The Principle of Compound Interest
The principle of compound interest is standard in finance and economics. Compound interest arises when interest is added to the principal, so that from that moment on, the interest that has been added also itself earns interest.
In the transversal management governance model the principle of compound interest is applicable, and the outcome and results only visible in the longer term. Our financial and human capital investments should be sound and directed towards the strategic objective of growth and job creation. These are long term investments, of which the results of growth and development will only be seen in the next decade.
An example of such an investment towards which this government has allocated considerable resources, is the provincial strategy against drug and alcohol abuse. At present there is a visible targeted approach by all departments to address this scourge that is weakening the economy of the Western Cape, through the sector working groups, but the visible effects will only be seen in the long term. In the long term the interest that has been added will also earn interest.
Another example of such an investment is the Premier's HIV Test and Win Campaign linked to 16 Days of Activism of no violence against women and children - very topical today, World Aids Day. The real impact of the heightened awareness of the importance to get tested will only be visible five years from today. The point is that there must me a shift away from our so-called "successes" in treatment of the disease, towards addressing the roots and causes of HIV Aids, addressing social behaviour and individual responsibility. Far too long now the emphasis has only been on government's responsibility to respond to this disease, instead of co-responsibility to contain the spread of the virus.
4. The Social Concept of Effecting Behaviour Change in Society
In line with the HIV Test and Win Campaign, which is a pilot project to test whether such an innovation will provide results, I would like to refer to the Health Care 2020 vision.
What will be the envisaged service delivery platform by 2020? It is clear that there will be a shift away from government carrying all the responsibility for the health of its citizens, but that individuals will be encouraged and challenged to take responsibility for their own health, and for the risks they take in making irresponsible decisions affecting their own health. In this regard I refer to drug and alcohol abuse, unprotected sex, unhealthy eating habits and a passive lifestyle.
In order to turn the vicious cycle of disease to a state of wellness, government needs to facilitate behavioral change - not only in our clients that are dependent on public health services - but across all sectors of society.
In order to achieve this behavior change, there should be an integrated and transversal whole of society approach.
Investments must be made to collate valid and reliable data to monitor outcomes against 5 year targets.
The individual should be at the centre of the governance model and treated according to his / her individual needs.
5. The Western Cape as a Testing Site For Alternative Solutions For Our Democracy
In this province, the only province where the voters have voted for an alternative government, we have the opportunity to be a testing site, a laboratory, for alternative solutions for the challenges that South Africa faces as a country and a democracy.
We are positioning ourselves as a province with pockets of excellence, as a province exchanging our successes with other provinces, and learning from the successes in other provinces. The acknowledgement of one another's strengths and weaknesses is an important component of a working democracy.
The Western Cape is not an island, but an alternative testing site for the challenges facing the whole of South Africa. The Western Cape is a laboratory where mistakes lead to new tests and ultimately to a solution for all. We are a province that is serious and in need of acquiring knowledge about other provinces' best practices. In fact, in the Department of Health we very often consult with our counterparts in this regard. Ultimately, we can only hope that the South African political system will reach a stage of maturity where these best practices and alternative governance approach can be adopted, despite political differences.
In this regard I would like to refer to the National Development Plan announced by Minister Trevor Manuel during this month. In the chapter "Planning a Capable State", it states "The real issue is how provinces can best contribute to building more constructive intergovernmental relations. It is this question that is the most pressing priority and one that requires urgent and focused attention."
The development plan resonates with the relevance of the Western Cape's different and alternative approach towards the contribution for a growing democracy.