Speech notes: Office of the Premier Policy Report and Budget 2020/21

Issued by Kobus Botha, MPL
Office of the Premier portfolio committee member

Madam Speaker, all protocols observed.

It is now 13 months and one week (22 May 2019) since Premier Oscar Mabuyane has taken charge of the government in the Eastern Cape.

The Premier and the Executive Council are responsible for the realisation of the rights of people as contained in the Constitution of South Africa, provincial legislation, along with any national legislation assigned to the provinces.

The Premier also sets provincial policy and manages all the departments of the provincial government to ensure service delivery takes place.

In order for him to do his job, the Premier must table his budget vote request to this Parliament for consideration and approval.

This financial year (2020/21) the Premier is looking for a budget allocation of R1.154 billion.
This is an increase of 17% from the 2019/20 programme budget.

The budget for the Office of the Premier is also expected to increase by 11% over the MTEF period.

In comparison with the total Eastern Cape budget of close to R 86 billion, Office of The Premier’s (OTP) budget weighs in at 1.3% (R 1.154 Billion) of the overall budget.

Within the context of OTP’s three programmes it’s clear that the Premiers job is one of strategic leadership.

His strategic leadership must have a direct effect on good governance, performance of departments and overall economic prosperity of our province.

The premier job is thus to ensure that the purpose of government is to enable the people of the Eastern Cape to live in safety and happiness.

His job is to ensure that the government exists for the interest of the governed, not the governors.

He must ensure that we all have a life of value, dignity and prosperity.

Honourable Speaker, within the context of the above and the report tabled by the Chairperson of the Multi-Party Portfolio Committee, one realizes that not much progress has been made since the 5th term leadership and administration.

The report is in fact irrefutable proof of serious leadership and service delivery failures at all spheres of the ANC government.

It is on the basis of this report and many recent negative media investigations and reports that the Democratic Alliance (DA) is of the view that Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s leadership is not up-to-standard to lead our province.

The report exposes:

1. Misalignment of plans between the Provincial White book, Operational Plans, Annual Performance Plans and various policy directives.

2. The failure to conclude the multi-million-rand broadband connectivity project contracts that could have created many job opportunities and to connect various government sites.

3. The process of filling of vacant posts in all departments that takes up to several months to fill.

4. The Office of the Premier has still not achieved the 2% target on the employment of people with disabilities as it currently stands at 1, 8% and only 2 departments have achieved employment equity targets pertaining to disability and gender parity within Senior Management Structures across all departments.

5. The process of re-engineering the organisational structure has not yet been finalised and four departments (Health, Transport, Education and Public Works) have still not finalised the review of their organisational structures.

6. The provincial government has still not achieved the 50% target of women at senior management level as only a few departments have achieved this target (Department of Human Settlements and Social Development). How will the Premier’s Office ensure that government departments intensify and take positive action towards achieving these targets?

7. The provincial Anti-Corruption Council and Forum is not functioning at the required level in the province.

8. Four (4) departments (Department of Social Development, Transport, Economic Development & Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Education) do not have fraud prevention & ethic plans despite being required to develop and implement the plans.

9. Monitoring and Evaluation in the Province is not effective and is not functioning at the required level despite there being a Planning and Evaluation Forum in the province.

10. Medico legal claims to the amount of 29 billion rand is threating the budget of the province and the recruitment of staff for the medico legal unit is at snail’s pace.

11. Despite the announcement to conduct lifestyle audits and a budget set aside for this, it does not seem that this announcement will be given effect in this financial year.

12. Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) is not functional in the province due to an absence of integrated planning execution, monitoring and reporting by the spheres of government in the province

13. No consequence management for those facing significant audit performance challenges as the culture of non-compliance, especially in supply chain management deviations, continue.

Madam Speaker, recent oversight visits by many of my DA colleagues in this legislature have once more exposed the bad state of ANC COVID-19 leadership and management.

Ranging from the late delivery and lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), to a spate of protests in public healthcare facilities, to the R 10 million Rand purchase of a fleet of 100 scooter ambulances.

The latter has been criticised as dangerous and the product of a deal which stinks of corruption and/or ridiculous profiteering.

Honorable Speaker, the list of bad leadership continues as cadre deployment, jobs for sex, jobs for sale, rampant corruption, lack of consequence management and broken wastewater treatment works continues to pollute our rivers.

The lack of strong ANC leadership in this province pollutes good governance as fourteen local municipalities in the EC require bailouts from the national treasury as they are bankrupt.
Where is the peoples’ money? Where are our basic services?

If the Premier is passionate about uplifting the people of the EC he must stop the job losses in the EC and crack the whip on local municipalities to deliver good governance in order to ensure reliable basic services for residence and businesses to live and work in.

We need reliable electricity, water and road infrastructure!
We need to derive value from the peoples’ tax money, and we need cost effective quality government services!

Madam Speaker, the ANC government can have institutions and policies that look good on paper but if there are no capable and ethical political and administrative implementers, there is no good governance that can realize value for the people’s money.

It’s impossible to build a capable state outside an acceptable ethical framework and the necessary range of human capability deficiencies and institutional stasis due to poor political management.

Under a DA governed province, building capabilities in partnership with business and civil society will be key to retooling the EC administration for higher performance.

The DA is committed to building a province that works for everyone.

Our track record speaks volumes because where we govern financial management is measurably better as the auditor general reported that 27 out of the 30 municipalities in DA-run Western Cape Province achieved clean or unqualified audits.

In Gauteng, the only municipality that achieved a clean audit was DA-run Midvaal. Why?
It’s simple we put the three P’s of good governance first!

We place people needs first, followed by adequate processes to deliver their needs and lastly, we make sure that everybody in the government value chain performance is constantly measured.

Given our province’s high rate of unemployment and the fact that South Africa’s unemployment rate is significantly higher than in other emerging markets, with youth unemployment exceeding 50% our focus will be on creating a business environment that enables everyone to do business in our province with the least amount of red-tape.

In closing Madam Speaker, the government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives. Therefore, there should be only one political ideology and that is ‘good governance’.

We need a government of the people, by the people and for the people and that government will be a DA government.

The Democratic Alliance supported the content of the report tabled as a true reflection of the committees work BUT we don’t support the budget vote for the Office of The Premier.

I thank you.