Department of the Premier Budget Speech 2012 | Western Cape Government

Speeches

Department of the Premier Budget Speech 2012

22 March 2012

Honourable Speaker,
Cabinet Members,
Leader of the Opposition,
Leaders of political parties,
Honourable members,
Director-General,
Colleagues and friends,
Citizens of the Western Cape,

Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to present the 2012/2013 budget vote for the Department of the Premier.

I would like to begin this morning by thanking the Director-General and everyone working in my department for their hard work and their dedication to achieving one of our government's key strategic objectives, namely "building the best-run regional government in the world".

As I explained in last year's budget speech, this objective has become the focus point of the Department of the Premier and rests on the philosophy that if we want to create the conditions for job creating economic growth and increase the opportunities that are available to all our citizens, we have to get the machinery of government working properly.

This is what the Department of the Premier has concentrated on over the last three years.

By adopting a new approach to governing which includes changing our organisational structures, operating practices, personnel systems and service delivery models, we have aimed to build an efficient, transparent, responsive and corruption-free government that delivers cost-effective services to our citizens.

We recognised from the outset that building a world-class administration that delivers services efficiently and effectively is going to take time. While we have laid the foundations over the last few years, we realise that we still have a long way to go when it comes building the walls and erecting the roof. That is why we have earmarked 2019 as the outer timeframe for when we expect to see the delivery of some of the indicators falling under this strategic objective.

However, I am pleased to announce that we have reached an important milestone this financial year, which is that this is the first time our government has had the opportunity to allocate funding directly to the deliverables focused on realising our 11 strategic objectives. This milestone highlights that we have progressed from the conceptualising and planning stages to where our government expenditure is directly aligned to the implementation of the plans contained in our strategic objectives.

We have also made this progress despite the Western Cape Government's commitment to do more with less in the province, which is also directly in line with National Treasury's call for austerity.

In this regard, it is important to note that the budget I am presenting today is only R5 million more than the 2011/2012 Department of the Premier Adjustments Budget. In other words, our main budget has increased by less than 1%.

Furthermore, we have continued to reduce the percentage of under-spending in the Department of the Premier. Last year, we reduced this to 0.39% (R2.45 million) compared to 1.27% in 2009/2010. We are on track to having reduced our under-spending even further during the 2011/2012 financial year to 0.1%, meaning we will have spent 99.9% of our budget.

Speaker, the total budget for the Department of the Premier for the 2012/2013 financial year is R699.802 million.

This amount is broadly divided into five programmes, namely, executive and administrative support, provincial-wide strategic management, human capital, the centre for e-innovation and corporate assurance.

I will now go through each programme briefly, to explain some of my department's key successes and highlight some of the key deliverables planned for this financial year.

Programme One: Executive Support (Administration)
Programme One: Executive Support provides the back office support to the Premier, Cabinet and Director-General and receives R67 million for this financial year - a slight increase from last year (R66.7 million).

One of the reasons why there has been a negligible increase is because no funding has been allocated to the recently closed Western Cape Provincial Development Council after our government met all its financial obligations during the previous financial year.

The work of Human Rights Directorate and the Human Rights Advocater situated in my office, Ms Thandi Mpambo-Sibhukwana, also falls under this programme.

One of the key ways in which we have upheld and promoted the rights of some of the most vulnerable citizens in our province is by paying personal attention to ad hoc complaints of human rights violations that were brought to the attention of the Office of the Premier during the past year.

These types of complaints are often complex in nature and fall across a number of provincial departments and the three spheres of government. The transversal nature of these problems means that they are often simply referred from one government department to another without being resolved.

However, when a complaint is received by my office, Ms Mpambo-Sibhukwana will personally go and investigate the complaint, will contact the correct officials in the relevant government departments and will follow up to make sure the issue is resolved.

A good example is a case that was reported to us by residents living in an informal settlement in Lavender Hill.

Residents reported that a young boy who had cerebral palsy was being locked up with his six-year-old sister in their shack each day by their mother who had to go to her job in Constantia.

The young boy didn't go to school and he spent his days in a camping chair because there was no money for a wheel chair.

When the community brought this case to our attention, Ms Mpambo-Sibhukwana immediately visited the family with social workers who registered him for a social grant and gave him a wheel chair. He was also enrolled into a nearby school and was registered with the City of Cape Town's Dial A Ride. Since then, he has been admitted to the Gugulethu Home where he lives during the week and comes home over weekends.

This case highlighted the fact that there are many families living in disadvantaged areas that have children with disabilities and don't know how, or have the means, to care for them. To address this problem, the Human Rights Directorate, the Department of Social Development and the Department of Health will be launching a programme in partnership with Iris House - an institution that works with the severely disabled - to teach parents how to care for their disabled child. Five other NGOs have also been identified to be part of this programme.

During this financial year, a tracking system will be developed in the Human Rights Directorate to track all complaints received from the public from the initial enquiry up to its finalisation. This will further assist my department in ensuring all complaints are adequately resolved.

The Human Rights Directorate has also continued with its teenage pregnancy prevention project.

Girls' soccer tournaments that have focused on raising awareness of the dangers of teenage pregnancy were hosted across the province with around 800 girls participating. The directorate also awarded bursaries at the end of last year to 14 girls presently enrolled in an institution of higher learning as reward for their academic performance and positive behaviour. In this financial year, the Human Rights Directorate will link their teenage pregnancy prevention outreach programmes to our government's MOD centres that run after hours at schools across the province.

The International Relations Directorate in the Department of the Premier will continue to focus on strengthening our strategic partnerships with other countries particularly in areas where we can increase trade and attract investment and learn lessons from best practice in other regional governments and apply them in the province.

I will be leading a delegation of local and provincial government officials and representatives from the business sector to attend the next Regional Leaders' Summit in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in April where we hope to continue strengthening our trade links and deepening relations with our four regional partners Bavaria (Germany), Upper Austria, Georgia (USA) and Sao Paulo, particularly in the areas of Sustainable Energy and Development, which is the theme of this year's summit.

Programme Two: Provincial Strategic Management
Speaker, the budget for Programme Two: Provincial Strategic Management is R32 million.

During my State of the Province Address, I stated that we will only make progress in this province if government, citizens, civil society and business play their role and fulfil their specific responsibilities. This is what underpins our government slogan "Better Together".

Our Provincial Transversal Management System (PTMS) also rests on this philosophy. It ensures greater integration and a better coordination between provincial departments, other spheres of government, the private sector and civil society in order to achieve the outcomes contained in our 11 strategic objectives.

The working groups, steering groups and sector committees have been meeting on a regular basis to discuss ways in which to tackle some of the major challenges facing our province including unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse and road safety.

We also continuously undertake performance reviews of this system in order to make it more efficient and effective. This has resulted in a number of new working groups being established that will concentrate on the following issues, the Green Economy, Mental Health, Women and Child Health, Climate Change Adaptation and Resource-Use Efficiency, Youth and Family Development and Civic Participation and Diversity.

A key focus under this programme is the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of our strategic objectives. The Executive Provincial Dashboard continues to serve as a critical tool to red flag projects that are falling behind schedule or are running over budget and as a way in which members of the public can hold our government accountable.

During the previous financial year, the Provincial Strategic Management Branch in the Department of the Premier has also developed a set of transversal outcome indicators that will measure the results of the provincial strategic objective outcomes and will assist our government in assessing whether interventions in the strategic objectives have been successful and where changes or new interventions are required. We aim to finalise this set of outcome indicators by the end of this month.

During this financial year, we will also establish a new sub-programme called the Strategic Projects Facilitation Unit. Up to now, events have been organised by provincial departments on an ad hoc basis and have not been properly aligned to our strategic objectives.

This new sub-programme will ensure all events hosted by the provincial government will result in real benefits for the province and its citizens by developing an integrated events strategy for the Western Cape Government that will also be aligned to the events and projects of local and national government and the private sector.

Programme Three: Human Capital (Corporate Services Centre)
Speaker, Programme Three is Human Capital and the budget for this programme is R134.7 million. This is up from last year's allocation of R119.2 million, mainly due to money being shifted from other departments to fund the Employee Wellness Programme.

We are also still on track to have saved R135 million by 2014 through the establishment of the Corporate Services Centre, of which Human Capital is one of the components.

The corporatisation of human resources over the last two years has also laid the foundation for the development of best practice systems and processes in human resource administration and labour relations, which is critical to achieving our objective of becoming the best-run regional government in the world.

Realising the outcomes contained in our 11 strategic objectives also hinges on a competent and qualified workforce who have internalised our government's core values namely, accountability, integrity and responsiveness. That is why it is crucial that we have the systems and processes in place that result in the appointment of the right people in the right places, hold them accountable for their performance and invest in their training and development.

In this regard, there will be two new developments in the Human Capital Programme during this financial year that are aimed at further improving our human resource function.

Firstly, we will begin piloting the migration from the PERSAL system to the SAP human resource management system. This process will take two to three years to complete and will be introduced in a phased manner starting with the 11 departments currently serviced by the Corporate Services Centre followed by the Departments of Education and Health.

The migration to SAP has also revealed the benefits that result from adopting a shared services approach. If the SAP system had to have been purchased by all 11 departments separately it would have cost our government over R50 million. However, by driving the migration process through the Corporate Services Centre it will cost approximately R11.2 million.

The second development is that the Corporate Services Centre will introduce an online job application service during the first quarter of the new financial year that will replace the manual process of applying for advertised posts.

We anticipate that this online service will reduce the time spent on the filling of vacancies, while at the same time alerting registered job seekers of appropriate jobs advertised at any particular time. We also plan to utilise provincial libraries, e-business corners and Thusong Centres to assist candidates in accessing this service.

This online application service will also pave the way for the establishment of a fully fledged e-recruitment system, which will be introduced towards the end of the financial year. This system will to a large extent automate the entire recruitment process, thereby empowering line managers to decide where, when and how to advertise for a position.

The online application service and the e-recruitment system that will follow will contribute greatly to creating a world-class administration. We will also continue focusing on providing training to existing staff at our Western Cape Provincial Training Institute in Khromme Rhee in Stellenbosch. Last year, 4 457 employees participated in training courses at the institute and the target for this financial year is 5 459 employees.

More lecture rooms will be added to the institute by converting underutilised storerooms. This will increase the number of spaces available from 350 to more than 441 per day.

Our government also recognises the pivotal role ICT can play in training programmes, which is why ICT infrastructure is being installed at the training institute, including a commercial broadband link later this year. All Education, Training and Development Practitioners will also be trained in the use of interactive technology, particularly with regard to e-Learning.

Finally, a service provider has been appointed to investigate and establish a new institutional model at the training institute. The service provider will conduct a feasibility study on the current status of training, infrastructure and systems, resources, capacity and funding in the province. An environmental scan will then be performed to identify possible expansion areas and programmes that can be implemented. This will also be an inclusive process as provincial employees will be consulted and will be given the opportunity to contribute to the final institutional and funding model that will be established. This new model will result in a more streamlined and modern approach to transversal training in the province.

Another exciting project launched under the Human Capital Programme this year is the Premier's Advancement of Youth (PAY) project.

The purpose of this project is to provide 1 000 matriculants who graduated in 2011 with the opportunity to work in the Western Cape Government for a period of one year in order to obtain skills sets and experience to make them more marketable and to gain contactable references on their CVs.

The project is aimed at matriculants who are not enrolled to study further, are unemployed and have no network or support to help them make career choices.

On-the-job training will be provided to these young people in all the provincial departments from March until December 2012. A number of FET colleges spread across the province have also been contracted to conduct work and readiness induction training.

We plan to continue this programme next year. From September, the new intake will be recruited from the class of 2012 matrics to start 1 April 2013 with the support of the district offices of the Western Cape Education Department.

We hope that the PAY programme will provide opportunities to matriculants who do not have the means or the support to study further or find a decent job. I encourage all those matriculants who have been selected for this year's programme to make the most of this amazing opportunity to gain skills and work experience and to forge working relationships with officials working in the provincial government.

Programme Four: Centre for E-Innovation (Corporate Services Centre)
Speaker, I stated in my State of the Province Address that if we aim to create an internationally competitive knowledge economy, improve productivity and enjoy access to new markets, we need to invest far more in fast and affordable broadband infrastructure. We need to link over 4 000 government facilities in the province to one another and to business, civil society and citizens.

This is why Programme Four: Centre for E-Innovation receives the largest share of my department's budget - R372.8 million. This is a slight decrease from last year's expenditure (R394.8 million) due to the fact that the payment for Microsoft licences was brought forward to take advantage of the lower exchange rate.

Two priority projects identified by the Provincial Cabinet also fall under this programme.

Firstly, partnering with the City of Cape Town's Fibre Optic broadband connectivity project, which I provided details about in my State of the Province Address and which has been allocated R18.5 million per annum for the next three financial years.

Secondly, implementing electronic content management (e-Filing) in the provincial government, which has received R13 million and will contribute, amongst other things, towards consolidating our software licencing and creating a central platform for the provision of ICT support and maintenance across provincial departments.

The Centre for E-Innovation has continued to increase the services it provides including:

  • A total of 8 300 users had been migrated to the new technology platform by January 2012, which is up from 2 900 users that had been migrated by the end of 2009/2010.
  • Providing ongoing support to the Western Cape Government installed base of 14 5000 workstations as well as 46 000 workstation in 1 500 schools.

By the end of this financial year, the Centre for E-Innovation aims to have:

  • Migrated 80% or 14 500 users to the new technology platform.
  • Migrated 22 sites to broadband infrastructure.
  • Further embedded IT Governance maturity at a level three maturity level.
  • Increased the Ce-I service standards compliance from 75% to 80%.

Through these initiatives, we are confident that we can position the Western Cape as a competitive place to invest and do business and empower citizens to become economically active and take control of their own lives.

Programme Five: Corporate Assurance (Corporate Services Centre)
Managing fraud and risk and ensuring a mature internal control framework form the foundation of good governance in any organisation. All of these functions fall under the third component of the Corporate Services Centre namely Programme Five: Corporate Assurance. This programme receives R92.9 million this financial year, which is an increase of almost R10 million from the previous financial year.

The main reason for this increase is that two provincial priority projects have been identified under this programme namely, the strengthening of Legal Services and the strengthening of Forensic Services as a result of our government's commitment to rooting out corruption in all provincial departments. These two priority projects have received R7 million for this financial year.

Some of the Corporate Assurance programmes key deliverables targeted for 2012/2013 include the following:

  • Further embedding enterprise risk management in the operations of our government to achieve a risk and control maturity level of 1 to 2 in 75% of the departments and 2 to 3 in 25% of the departments.
  • Developing a tool to measure our own maturity rating. We aim to appoint a service provider before the end of March to assist us with this process in order to ensure the tool that is developed is independent, objective and in line with international best practices.
  • Increase the internal audit coverage in terms of strategic risks included in the coverage plans to at least 45% and ensure that high-quality reports are compiled and issued that will improve our control framework.
  • Conduct training for provincial employees in areas such as the promotion of administrative justice and access to information, the conclusion and management of contracts and the provincial legislative process.

Speaker, one of the greatest threats to service delivery is corruption. If we aim to become the best-run regional government in the world, it is critical that we tackle corruption and improve the level of fraud awareness in the Western Cape Government.

That is why the capacitation of the Forensic Investigation Unit (FIU) in the Corporate Services Centre will continue receiving focused attention during this financial year. In light of the skills shortage in this unit, a decision was taken to outsource this function. While some may argue that this may cost more, a failure to root out corrupt practices would cost our government far more in the long run and also destroy our capacity to deliver services to our citizens.

The improvements made to the FIU have resulted in a significant dent made to the backlogs our administration inherited in 2009. For example, of the initial backlog of 115 cases brought over from 2009/2010 and previous financial years, only 21 remain in progress and the majority of these are currently in the reporting phase.

Action has also been taken against a number of government officials as a result of FIU investigations.

During February 2012, eight individuals were arrested in connection with the sale of government-issue baby formula. This formula is clearly marked for government use but information was received that these tins of formula were being sold at various outlets in the George vicinity. An FIU investigator was sent to George to investigate and liaise with SAPS. Within two days, arrests were made and the individuals appeared in court and have been released on bail.

Furthermore, eight individuals were arrested on fraud and corruption charges two weeks ago in connection with Supply Chain Management irregularities at George Hospital, which was investigated by the FIU. Three of these individuals were former Department of Health employees. Two of them were previously dismissed in connection with this case and the third had left the department. This case has been remanded to 18 May 2012.

Speaker, under the Corporate Communications sub-programme we have developed a comprehensive Western Cape Government brand and communication strategy which we will continue to review, improve and implement during this financial year.

In this regard, I believe that this budget speech would not be complete if I failed to refer to the hype that arose around the Western Cape Government's communications tender towards the end of last year.

I would like to reiterate once again that there was nothing improper, let alone corrupt, in awarding this tender. I have said this from the very beginning and have provided all the documentation to show that the process was transparent, fair, equitable, competitive and cost-effective.

However, what I have acknowledged is that there were administrative problems, in particular around the bidding process and the transversal applicability of the contract. It is never desirable to have to start a tender process three times and the money we spent on this, which amounted to R8 196.29 on re-advertising the tender could possibly be classified as prima facie fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

However, this does not make the process followed or the tender that was awarded corrupt.

More importantly, it was our internal systems that picked up these administrative problems and as soon as we became aware of them we took immediate steps to rectify the situation and to ensure that the same mistakes will not be made again. This is the very reason why we have put these internal systems in place - in order to assist us in spotting problems so that we can tighten our supply chain management in order to meet best practice.

Finally, there was a lot of hype regarding the participation of my strategic adviser Ryan Coetzee participating in the bid evaluation committee that awarded the communications tender.

I have conceded that the participation of political advisers in tender evaluation and adjudication processes might set a dangerous precedent in other provinces and at a national level. It is for this reason that I have taken the decision that my political advisers will not participate in tender processes in the future.

However, I want to reiterate again that Ryan Coetzee's involvement in the bid evaluation committee that awarded the communications tender was not unlawful or corrupt in any way.

Conclusion
Speaker, as I said earlier we acknowledge that much work still needs to be done to rectify the weaknesses we inherited and to get all provincial departments working seamlessly together to achieve all our strategic objectives including becoming the best-run regional government in the world.

But, I believe that the initiatives I have outlined today will contribute greatly to this goal.

Furthermore, the systems and processes we have put in place in the Department of the Premier over the last three years are already bearing fruit and are placing us ahead of the other provinces and national government.

For example, we are the only province and state department in the country to have achieved 100% compliance two years in a row when it comes to finalising and submitting performance contracts and financial disclosure documentation to the Public Service Commission by the relevant deadlines.

We are also the only province to have achieved unqualified audits across every provincial department for the last two years. While we saw some slippage during the previous financial year we are committed to continue leading the other provinces and state departments when it comes to audit outcomes and we have devised a comprehensive plan to achieve this in 2012/2013.

Speaker, we believe that by setting aspirational goals we will continue striving for excellence in the province and, in particular, the way we work in government.

It is crucial that other spheres of government, business, civil society and individuals commit themselves to doing the same so that we can work in partnership to create an environment in the province that encourages economic growth, investment, employment and the creation of opportunities.

By being "Better Together" we can successfully place the Western Cape ahead of all other regional governments in the world.

I thank you.