Speeches

Department of the Premier Budget Speech 2013

22 March 2013

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 2013/2014 budget vote for the Department of the Premier.

I would like to thank the Director-General and his team for their hard work in finalising our budget for the upcoming financial year and for their dedication to building an efficient, transparent, responsive and corrupt-free government.

I would also like to extend a special welcome to five learners from the Cape Academy of Maths, Science and Technology who are attending this Budget Vote as special guests. The learners are Mu-Amr Abrahams, Noluthando Honono, Astrid Kuppan-Luke, Lesego Mzondiand Zuko Sifumba. They were invited to the House today after winning a debating competition on the 9th of March that focussed on the BRICS Initiative and the upcoming 5th BRICS Summit that will be hosted by South Africa on 26 and 27 March 2013. The debating competition was facilitated by the Township Debating League and was held in collaboration with the National Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Department of the Premier.

These remarkable young debaters are a clear example of how individuals can flourish and excel when given an opportunity, such as the quality education at the Cape Academy, which they then use properly. This is the core essence of “Better Together”.

During my State of the Province address I reiterated the Western Cape government’s commitment to playing its part to make the National Development Plan (NDP) work. Building a capable state that is professional, competent and responsive to the needs of citizens is one of the six pillars on which this plan is built.

Minister Trevor Manuel summed it up best when addressing an economic summit in East London last week. He said that fixing the public service was the first step towards future prosperity because no economic policy could succeed if the “engine room” (government) did not work.

This is precisely what the Department of the Premier has focused on over the last four years. We have made a number of changes to our structures and systems in order to create the machinery needed for a clean, accountable administration that fulfils its mandate efficiently and effectively.

The NDP makes a number of proposals for the creation of a capable state including greater accountability of individual employees, rules restricting the business interests of public servants, a public service that is not weakened by cadre deployment and is insulated from political patronage as well as developing specialist and technical skills and improving operational systems within government.

The Corporate Services Centre based in the Department is geared towards achieving many of these recommendations by providing human resource, ICT, legal, forensic, risk management and internal audit services to all provincial departments. 

Since its establishment the Centre has focused on becoming the engine room of internal government processes and ensuring that we root out corruption, appoint the right people in the right places and are at the cutting edge of technology that serves people.

The exponential expansion in the services provided by the Corporate Services Centre to provincial departments, especially IT services, is also the reason why the Department’s 2013/2014 budget of R853.8 million has increased by 14.15% or R105.9 million from last year.

But Mr Speaker, it is important to state this additional funding will be spent solely on new infrastructure and systems that will enable provincial departments to focus on service delivery. The Department remains committed to its austerity drive and no “frills” ethos including closely monitoring and curbing unnecessary expenditure on hotels, cars and catering.

The Department’s budget is 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 what has been achieved and what is planned for the coming financial year.

Programme one: Executive Support

Programme one provides back-office administration and assistance for Cabinet engagements and meetings of the Provincial Top Management and the Department of the Premier.  Other critical support functions are also located within this programme including the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Departmental Strategy. 

The Programme receives R62.5 million this financial year, which is a slight increase from last year budget of R57.8 million.

Some of the targets under this programme include achieving an unqualified audit, spending 99% of the Department’s budget and ensuring all required annual strategic and annual plans and annual and quarterly reports are submitted.

Programme one also supports the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC), which has been established to remove blockages threatening the success of strategic projects that require Province/City collaboration.

Programme two: Provincial Strategic Management

Programme two has been allocated R52.1 million for 2013/2014 (increase of around R13 million) and is responsible for a number of key sub-programmes.

Firstly, it oversees the Provincial Transversal Management System (PTMS), which is focused on achieving the outcomes contained in our eleven strategic objectives through sector committees and working groups that bring together provincial departments, other spheres of government, the private sector and civil society. We currently have 40 working groups working in a number of critical areas including disability, red tape, road safety, the green economy and youth development.

More importantly the PTMS will also co-ordinate the implementation of proposals contained in the National Development Plan across provincial departments.

Programme two is also responsible for international relations and mainstreaming human rights across all provincial departments.

Mr Speaker, up to now there has been no integrated international relations strategy for the Western Cape Government. Instead, provincial departments have been working in silos on an ad hoc basis with little cumulative impact. Many agreements signed in the past have also become outdated and others dormant.

Our government realised the need for a co-ordinated international strategy that focuses on increasing tourism, trade and investment into the province and support for our strategic objectives.

We will be introducing our new International Relations Strategy soon, which will focus on strengthening our strategic partnerships with our traditional markets and new countries, in particular, the BRICS and emerging markets in Africa.

One of the key aims contained in this new strategy is to position the Western Cape as the green economy hub of Africa by promoting our province’s competitive advantage when it comes to its renewable energy capacity and its strong financial services sector and innovative design, built environment and manufacturing sectors.

My adviser Jenny Cargill leads the Green Economy theme. One of my priority projects launched last year was 110% GREEN which offers a platform to organisations – and in particular the private sector – to commit to and act on initiatives that connect green and the economy. To date, more than 60 flagship projects have joined this platform and we are aiming for 110 by the time we host the first anniversary of 110% GREEN in June.

The Department will also be presenting a Human Rights Strategy soon, which will be implemented across provincial departments. This strategy will not simply commemorate national days. An issue that is extremely important to me is ensuring that people living with disabilities are not discriminated against and are provided with the opportunities needed to live fulfilling lives that they value. Our key focus areas will be access to  assistive devices, education and employment opportunities.

I am also excited to announce that I will be launching a pilot project on the 8th of April in Vredenburg and Mfuleni that will focus on identifying children and young people living with disabilities so that we can offer them the opportunities they need. More details on this pilot will be provided at the launch.

Mr Speaker, another key focus under Programme two has been investigating ways to change behaviours in the province. During my State of the Province speech, I made it clear that it is impossible to resolve the many challenges facing our society without everyone playing a role: from individuals through the choices they make, parents through the responsibility they take and the guidance they give, whole communities through the norms they establish, institutions like churches and schools in the leadership they provide, as well as the services offered by the state. 

Currently, many citizens are failing to play their part and take responsibility for their actions including having unprotected sex with multiple partners and abusing alcohol and drugs.

Our government has therefore been working with Ideas 42, a Harvard based behavioural economics think tank, and the University of Cape Town to come up with programmes and campaigns that will incentivise and hopefully enforce behaviour change in the province.

Last month, as part of this initiative, our government ran a HIV testing campaign in certain districts in the province that was tied to a lottery incentive. This campaign was a smaller, more localised version of the “Get tested and Win” campaign our government ran during the 16 days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children in 2011.

This smaller campaign ran between the 4th and 22nd of February in a sub-district in the Eden, West Coast, Cape Winelands, Overberg and Central Karoo municipalities as well as two sub-districts in the Cape Town Metro.

The main aim of this campaign was to determine whether a lottery incentive attracts more people than a straightforward information campaign that urges people to get tested, particularly people who haven’t been tested before. This was the indication we got from the results of the “Get tested and Win” campaign, which saw a significant increase in the number of  people getting tested but we wanted to make sure that this is indeed the case.

The preliminary results show that more people went to get tested as a result of this campaign. I will provide more details during the draw of the winners of the lottery cash prize on the 2nd of April.

Lastly, a number of other key projects fall under Programme two including Strategic Communications, support for the 2014 World Design Capital and the implementation of an Integrated Events Strategy that focuses on providing support to intergovernmental engagement and events that aim to leverage economic growth, job creation and increased social inclusion, while also ensuring they contribute to the green economy.

We have also been working in partnership with the National Government and the City of Cape Town to redevelop District 6 and restore the rights of residents who were forcibly removed by the apartheid government.  It is wonderful, at last, to be able to report progress and good inter-governmental co-operation from all spheres of government.

Programme three: Human Capital

Programme three: Human Capital is the first of three programmes that form the Corporate Services Centre. 

This Programme has been allocated R154.4 million and has three facets namely, Human Resource (HR) Management, Organisational Development and the Provincial Training Institute.

Like the NDP, we recognise the critical importance of a competent, qualified, non-partisan public service that is not subjected to political patronage. When we talk of employees being “fit for purpose” we are not referring to public servants who are able to do the bidding of politicians but who have the skills, values and drive needed to realise the outcomes contained in our eleven strategic objectives.

That is why we have invested considerably in putting the rights systems and processes in place that will result in the right people being appointed, who are held accountable for their performance and who are developed.

During 2012, we rolled out the first phase of the e-recruitment system, which enables people to access vacancies in all provincial departments - except Education and Health - and apply for them online. We aim to have this entire process online and integrated within our existing systems by the end of the 2014/15 financial year.  Integration into the Departments of Health and Education will also take place in the following two years with the entire project scheduled for completion in 2017.

We have also begun automating the selection process through the implementation of the E-recruit solution system last December. This web-based system enables the shortlisting of preferred candidates and the related internal processes to be automated.

We are confident that both systems will considerably reduce the cost and time spent on the filling of vacancies in provincial departments in the future.

Mr Speaker, I would also like to use this opportunity to respond to allegations by Honourable Lynne Brown that our government is “purging” black public servants.

While Honourable Brown has yet to provide details on specific cases to back up her allegations, I would like to reiterate what I said during my State of the Province reply, which is that there is absolutely no basis for her claims.

I have been provided with a list of officials (of all races) who were dismissed during the previous financial year. Every single person was taken through the due, fair and independent disciplinary process, and was found guilty of misconduct which includes sexual harassment, unauthorised expenditure, gross dishonesty and misuse of government resources.

The fact is that any Western Cape government employee, irrespective of their race, who is accused of misconduct will be investigated and subjected to a disciplinary process if found guilty, including facing possible dismissal depending on the severity of their transgression.  Their race or political connections are irrelevant.

This is because our government is committed to creating a professional, responsive public service that has integrity and is free of corruption.

However, we admit that our department also faces challenges when it comes to retaining skills. Of the 66 employees that left the Department of the Premier during the 2011/2012 financial year 17 (26%) were African females and 16 (24%) were Coloured females. However, 85% of these employees left because of a promotion or an offer of better remuneration, which the Department could not match. They were not purged, as the Honorable Leader of the Opposition would like people to believe. The Department has, however, increased its focus on recruiting and retaining skilled staff in critical areas.

Under Programme three the Department of the Premier will also be focusing on Organisational Development with the aim of transforming the way in which key processes are carried out by provincial departments in order to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

During the previous financial year, 6449 employees also participated in training programmes at the Provincial Training Institute in Kromme Rhee, which is an increase of nearly 2000 employees from 2011/2012. 3448 officials also completed a training intervention on anti-corruption which was delivered exclusively on our e-Learning platform. The target for the upcoming financial year is to train 7718 employees through various learning platforms.

The IT infrastructure at the Provincial Training Institute has also been upgraded with the installation of a wireless (WIFI) access system and the bandwidth has been increased from 1 MB to 2 MB, which has considerably enhanced the capacity of the institute to provide e-learning interventions. All facilitators have also been provided with training in e-learning technology through a partnership with the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA).

Video-conferencing facilities will also be installed in the 2013/14 financial year to enable course facilitators to communicate with learners who are off-site, which will result in significant savings in travelling and subsistence costs and more employees benefitting from learning interventions.

Finally, the development of the new institutional and funding model for the training institute, which is aimed at establishing a more streamlined and modern approach to transversal training in the province, is at an advanced stage and the implementation plan should be finalised by the end of this month.

Mr Speaker, during my State of the Province address I reported back on the Premier’s Advancement of Youth (PAY) project and how it has benefitted young people living in the province. 750 new interns will be entering this programme at the beginning of next month.

Programme four: Centre for e-Innovation

Programme four is the Centre for e-Innovation, which is responsible for the implementation of the Provincial ICT Delivery Plan and the IT Service Delivery Improvement Plan.

Like the NDP, our government recognises that the development of ICT is critical for increased economic competitiveness and growth, skills development and a more connected society.

It is also crucial when it comes to making government services more accessible, allowing citizens greater access to information and also making government more accountable.

This is why the Centre for e-Innovation has been allocated R482.2 million, an increase of R62.4 million.

Broadband implementation at government sites remains a major priority under this programme.  Our government will continue building and maintaining Cape Access e-community centres, which provide computer and internet facilities in disadvantaged areas. Seven new centres will be built during 2013/2014 in Bredasdorp, Grabouw, Plettenberg Bay (two centres), Worcester, Hawston and Mossel Bay

The Centre for e-Innovation has also set stringent service delivery targets for the upcoming financial year despite the fact that the ICT user base has increased from 14 500 to approximately 16 500. These targets include a 99% “systems uptime” and 99% “network uptime” and a 4-day turnaround time at the IT helpdesk. 

Overall, a target of level 3 for IT governance maturity in terms of international benchmarks has been set.

Some of the additional funding allocated to Programme three will be spent on IT hardware, including:

  • R25 million will be spent on refreshing outdated servers, routers and other ICT infrastructure throughout the province including hospitals and other service delivery points;
  • R29 million will be spent on increasing connectivity costs and R9.6 million will be spent specifically on connecting 22 additional health care facilities to the internet; 
  • R7 million will also be allocated to supporting the Khanya programme. The Centre for e-Innovation has taken over the provision of support to Khanya laboratories as part of the Khanya mainstreaming process within the Western Cape Education Department.

We will also continue implementing the broadband project in partnership with the Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism and the City of Cape Town.

Finally, Cabinet also recently approved the Provincial ICT Delivery Plan which aims to implement transversal ICT initiatives including Business Process Optimisation, Business Intelligence, Electronic Content Management and Performance Management (which includes Enterprise Project Management) across provincial departments.

This set of initiatives will further embed the gains made through the implementation of the IT Services Blueprint. The funds for the implementation of the Provincial ICT Delivery Plan are currently reserved in Vote 3 (Provincial Treasury) and will be disbursed once Business Plans and Project Initiation documents have been finalised by respective provincial departments.

Programme five: Corporate Assurance

Programme five is Corporate Assurance, and includes Enterprise Risk Management, the Forensic Investigative Unit (FIU), Internal Audit, Legal Services and Corporate Communications.

All of these are essential support services aimed at strengthening good governance and I believe the programme remains under-resourced, given the critical role it plays.  The budget for Corporate Assurance for the coming financial year is R102.7 million.

We agree with Minister Manuel that corruption is the biggest threat to the successful implementation of the NDP. This is why the Western Cape is the only province that has introduced regulations that prevent provincial employees from benefitting from state contracts.

The Department of the Premier has also focused on capacitating and strengthening the FIU considerably over the last few years so that corrupt officials, wherever they are in this administration, are caught and rooted out.

As a result, the case backlog we inherited when taking over the administration in 2009 has stabilised. As at 1 March the FIU did not have any cases on its caseload that date back to the financial years preceding 2010/11. 

The unit has also been conducting regular follow ups with provincial departments to ensure the implementation of recommendations made on the completion of investigations including referring criminal cases to the South African Police Service, taking disciplinary action against employees and improving key controls in departments.

During 2013/2014 the Department of the Premier will also begin re-establishing the FIU as an internal function.

Members of the ANC opposition have questioned the rationale behind this decision in light of the Department partially outsourcing the functions of the unit over a year ago (1 December 2011).

Firstly, it was always the intention of the Department to re-establish the FIU once problems within the unit had been resolved. However, I believe the following analogy will assist opposition members in understanding the processes we have followed when it comes to the FIU.

Mr Speaker, the unit we inherited when taking over the administration in 2009, was very similar to a poorly constructed RDP house that hadn’t been built on a proper foundation.

Making “cosmetic” repairs to this RDP house would mean it would more than likely begin falling apart again in a few years’ time. Trying to address the symptoms rather than the root causes of the problems plaguing the FIU would result in the same thing – the unit would never have the capacity to tackle and root out corruption in the province.

That is why we decided to start from the beginning so that we could build the strong foundation needed for a competent, effective FIU (like rebuilding a poorly built house from scratch)

By outsourcing some of the FIU’s functions to Deloitte – a leading forensic auditing firm in the corporate sector – we have been able to leverage the firm’s expertise to reduce the high backlog of cases we inherited and to make progress in capacitating the unit by developing the skills of staff members through skills transfer programmes.

Now that we have a strong foundation, the Department has shifted its focus to finalising the structure of the unit and will be making a number of key appointments including the Head of the FIU and managers over next few months. We aim to move towards a fully insourced function by November 2014.

The FIU will also be performing an annual fraud health check to determine the level of fraud awareness in the Province and set the basis for preventative initiatives for particular departments.

When it comes to further embedding risk management in the operations of our government, the risk maturity of departments are currently being assessed in line with a global standard, and all indications are that the target set for 2012/13 will be achieved – which is that three provincial departments will achieve a second-level risk and control maturity.  Our target for the upcoming financial year is for at least six departments to achieve a minimum of a second-level risk maturity.

Internal audit has also set itself a target of 90% completion of the approved Departmental Internal Audit Plans.  No further financial allocations have been made to Internal Audit Services, however, we are pursuing an opportunity to assess assurance coverage in a broader perspective through a concept introduced by the King Report on Governance, which aims to optimise assurance coverage obtained from three levels, i.e. management, internal assurance providers and independent assurance providers on the key risk areas of the province.  It involves the mapping of assurance coverage against the key risks and objectives within an organisation, in an attempt to coordinate all the assurance activities, thereby ensuring optimal utilisation of assurance spend.  Furthermore, should provincial departments want to achieve an increased internal audit coverage, they would be able to fund this from within their allocated budgets with the extent of this coverage and funding being agreed on during the internal audit planning phase.

Legal Services also expects to process 1750 requests during 2013/2014. A legal compliance unit has also been established in the Chief Directorate: Legal Services, which will ultimately improve governance by offering proactive legal services to all provincial departments including legal training and pro-active assessments of departments’ compliance with legislation and the requirements for legally sound decision making.

Corporate Communications will also be reporting quarterly to Cabinet on the implementation of the provincial communication strategy.

Conclusion

Mr Speaker, there are numerous other interventions that have been introduced by the Department of the Premier to get the machinery of our government working but time constraints mean that I cannot provide more detail about these today.

While there is still much to be done, I am confident that our initiatives have put us on the right path towards realising the capable state envisioned by the NDP, which can focus on increasing the opportunities available to everyone living in the Western Cape so that they have the opportunities and the means they need to improve their lives.  

However, I want to reiterate that a capable state cannot tackle the many problems our society faces on its own. Both our government and the NDP recognise the crucial role an active citizenry must play in partnership with the state.

The Department of the Premier is committed to realising the provincial strategic objective of “building the best-run regional government in the world”, which attracts investment and creates an enabling environment for economic growth and job creation. I call on every citizen to take personal responsibility for using the opportunities provided to them and for making the right lifestyle choices so that they can live a life of value and make a meaningful contribution to our society.

I thank you. 

Media Enquiries: 

Zak Mbhele
Spokesperson for Premier Helen Zille
Tel: 021 483 4584
Cell: 083 600 2349
E-mail: Zak.Mbhele@westerncape.gov.za