Address by the Premier of the Northern Cape Province, Ms Sylvia Lucas, on the occasion of the tabling of Budget Vote 1, at the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature,2017

Mr Speaker and Deputy Speaker
Members of the Provincial Legislature
Colleagues on the Executive Council
Members of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders
The Director General, Management and Staff of the Provincial Government
Distinguished Guests
The People of Northern Cape!

I am indeed honoured to deliver this Budget Vote in the year that has been declared as the “Year of Oliver Reginald Tambo.”This is the year of Reginald Oliver Tambo, who would have celebrated his centenary and hence the African National Congress has dedicated October, his birth month, to celebrate a life of one of the greatest amongst that generation of great freedom fighters. He is a leading figure of our liberation struggle and our ongoing attempts to use the democratic state and its apparatus to transform society.

I wish to emphasise the notion of the “People of our province” as the focal of our collective efforts.

We make this recognition in acknowledgement that we are simultaneously observing the month of the 62nd Anniversary of the Freedom Charter. We are inspired by the ideation that we at all times seek to realise that “The People Shall Govern!”

When OR Tambo was addressing the External Mission of the ANC in New York in the year 1971, he said “We who are free to eat at will, to write, to speak, to travel as we please; we who are free to make or break a revolution, let us use our comparative freedom, not to perpetuate the misery of those who suffer, not to give indirect aid to the enemy they fight by withholding our own contribution.”

This message is as true and relevant today as it was forty-six years ago. We owe our very existences and the current freedom we enjoying to the people. As the Office of the Premier, situated at the apex of the state in the Northern Cape, our budget and that of the state has the people as its focal point; it is about improving the quality of life of citizens.

Honourable Speaker

While acknowledging that great strides have been made in improving the lives of ordinary people in our beloved province, I am acutely cognisant of the painful levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment that characterize our provincial landscape. We are mindful of these realities and we remain committed to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of families through our various social upliftment projects.

Honourable Speaker, it is generally acknowledged within Provincial Government contexts that the Office of the Premier is the strategic apex that drives government policy and its programme of action.

The Office of the Premier has the legislative mandate to coordinate and facilitate the work of Provincial Government; which among other policy imperatives, bases its work on the principles of the National Development Plan (Vision 2030) as the Blue Print of government’s vision for a peaceful, prosperous and economically viable country.

Our mandate is further translated and directed by the Medium Term Strategic Framework for the period 2014 – 2019, which is implemented premised on an outcomes-based approach. This represents a significant shift in the approach, focusing on the impact of the work of government on the qualitative improvement of the conditions of the people.
In furtherance of its objectives, the Office of the Premier drives three critical outcomes as outlined in the National Development Plan, namely:

Outcome 5 – Focusing on developing and sustaining a skilled and capacitated workforce;

Outcome 11 – Focusing on building a better Africa and a better World, thus reminding us of our international obligations as part of a common humanity;  echoing the teachings of OR Tambo; and

Outcome 12, which focuses on an effective, efficient and development-oriented public service, the National Development Plan implores us to put the state at the service of the people. It puts us at the service of the people in the realization of the objectives that we have envisioned in 2030.

Honourable Speaker, in the last financial year we indicated, that we will be developing the Provincial Growth and Development Plan.

We are now in a position to report that this process is well underway. The Provincial Government has been engaged in a process of developing a Provincial Diagnostic Report, a draft report has been recently tabled at the various clusters of government. It is envisaged that various societal role players and the people will be engaged in the processes of consultation that will soon follow.

The PGDP process is an opportunity for dialogue and renews the social compact with the people; this is in line with the objectives of the National Development Plan which implores us to build sustainable communities.

The Provincial Diagnostic Report will aid the development of the Provincial Growth and Development Plan. It is important to indicate the significance of this endeavour and the creation of an integrated functional state across all spheres. Based on the Spatial Land Use Management Act and ancillary legislation it has thus become necessary to review the provincial spatial plan.

As part of this initiative we will work with local government to conduct a study on the economic viability of towns in the Northern Cape. This will enable us to make the necessary interventions to create a better life for our people where they live. To accomplish these tasks of the development of the PGDP we have set aside R4.7 million.

Honourable Speaker

In order to improve efficiency and effectiveness of Offices of the Premier in the country, the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) developed a generic organizational structure for this sector.  The core element of the generic structure is that internal and external functions of the Offices of the Premier be separated.

To comply with the DPSA directive, the redesigned structure for Northern Cape Office of the Premier has been approved. Its implementation will be phased-in.

Honourable Speaker

It is fitting to mention again that this Administration remains accountable and can be trusted with the Tax-Payers’ Monies!

As a result, we recorded remarkable improvements in the 2015/16 financial year and a further significant achievement was seen in the fact that the Northern Cape was the only Province where all three oversight departments, OTP, Treasury and Legislature, attained a “Clean Audit”, which bodes well for the role that they have to exercise over the entire Provincial Administration.

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is no coincidence that this Budget Vote speech is delivered during Youth Month, as we commemorate the heroic struggles waged by a brave and militant generation of young people, who faced the barrel of a gun, and were determined and prepared to die for the freedom we enjoy today. We dare not fail them.

In addressing the socio-economic challenges of the youth, Government requires an effective strategy by working together with the youth towards radical economic transformation by focussing more on closing the gap between the rich and poor. The Northern Cape Provincial Administration is committed:

  • To provide young people with broader opportunities; and
  • Strengthen youth service programmes and introduce new, community-based programmes to offer young people life-skills training, entrepreneurship training and opportunities to participate in community development programmes.

Honourable members, the Office of the Premier drives the activities relating to facilitating and co-ordinating capacity development in the Northern Cape with a strong bias towards the youth. In our continued effort to improve the skills levels of the youth of the Northern Cape a total of R15 965 million has been set aside this financial year for the Premier’s Bursary Trust Fund to make higher education opportunities available on a full-time basis for the youth of the Northern Cape, that possess academic potential but do not have the means to realize it.

We need to acknowledge the contribution of Scatec Solar to 15 students that were assisted to the tune of R700 000 and we are still engaging with other solar companies to assist with more students.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Our gratitude also goes to Solar Capital and Mulilo Holdings who through their partnership with Government assisted almost 90 learners from De Aar and surrounding areas with full bursaries for the duration of their studies.

We have met with the Independent Power Producers to formalise the agreement so that learners from the Province can benefit on a larger scale.  The current support is just in the interim whilst we finalise the agreements.

A total of 359 students were awarded funding to continue with their studies in various disciplines for the 2017 academic year. Additional funding was granted to 76 new students for the same academic year.

The office also has the responsibility to coordinate SETA related activities in the Province. We have experienced an increase in SETA participation in the province in the 2016/17 financial year as compared to the previous years. To ensure that the people of the Northern Cape have access to the SETAs the office ensured that the SETAs have a footprint in the province and this led to the opening of the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) and Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LGSETA) offices in July last year and March this year in the Province.

The opening of the HWSETA also saw the launch of a partnership between the SETA and the Provincial Government through projects valued at R16.5 million with the Premier’s Education Trust Fund, the Department of Education, Department of Social Development, the Rural and Urban TVET Colleges.

As a further effort to address the challenges of skills deficit and unemployment amongst the youth in the province, the Office of the Premier has set aside funding towards a youth development programme. The programme is intended to provide participants with skills that will help them to secure employment, to also establish their own small businesses and manage them successfully and assist in creating employment in the areas where they come from. The programme started this year March and it is anticipated that this programme will provide skills to 700 young people across the province in the following areas;

  • New venture creations
  • Portable and Hard skills
  • Personal wellness
  • Early childhood development and,
  • Nature conservation

The relationship that the Office has built with the SETAs through the provincial HRD Council further created an opportunity for 3 Urban TVET College Students who completed Level 4 Engineering to participate in a one year programme in China. This is through an agreement between the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services SETA (MERSETA) and the Chinese Culture and International Education Exchange Centre where engineering students are sponsored to go and further their studies and be exposed to actual workplace experience at the top 500 Chinese companies in China for a year.

On completion of this programme they will be placed within companies in the country for permanent employ. These students are all from Galeshewe in our province and have left for China in March. They are:

  • Desmond Thabang Louw, 25 years (male)
  • Jermain May, 25 years (female) and;
  • Lesedi Verona Loff, 22 years (female).

Ladies and Gentlemen

The Northern Cape Provincial Administration encourages women to actively participate in our economy and seize the opportunities that our new democracy offers. Our constant message is to encourage women to unleash the enormous potential within them and make full use of the opportunities to enter into the mainstream economy. For this financial year, a total of R4.4 million has been made available to the Mme Reka Thusa Trust to assist previously disadvantaged women on economic empowerment initiatives in the Province that will end up contributing to the wider job creation programmes of the provincial government. We are in the process of fundraising from outside sources to augment this amount.

Honourable Speaker

This year marks the 61st Anniversary of the historic march of more than 20 000 women who marched on August 9th to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, to protest against the extension of past laws to women.  We continue to use the state to buttress the seminal position of women in our society, simultaneously giving recognition to their agency for change. Honourable Speaker, it is my pleasure to announce to this august house that the Province will be hosting National Women’s day event on the 9th August, at the Galeshewe Stadium in Kimberley.

This year, the Department of Women will be rolling out the Women Dialogues, as part of the women’s month programme.  The focus of these dialogues, which will take place in all our districts, will focus on violence against women and children.

Honourable Speaker, we have, sadly, noticed an unfortunate phenomenon in the present moment-an increased and focussed attack on women and children. The rape of women and children statistics have increased (9,7%), women and children have been killed unabatedly. This is despite our efforts of combating violence against women and children. This amongst others led me to make our “Call to Action.” The mobilization of society, especially men, in combating this scourge of abuse against women and children is extremely important.

In response to this spate of violence attacks on our women and children, the Province has developed a Provincial Plan of Action for Children, under the auspices of the Office on the Rights of the Child. At the heart of the plan, is the creation of an enabling and supportive environment for children, which is critical. We now have Child Ambassadors in all our District Municipalities whose primary responsibility is to take up children specific matters and escalate to government for interventions. These Child Ambassadors are school going children (12-17 years) chosen by the Departments of Education and Social Development. The office has also developed the Child-Friendly-Communities (CFC) Framework as a guide to the municipalities when developing IDPs. The primary purpose of the CFC is to ensure that municipalities take the issues of children seriously, such as the safe parks, ECDs to mention a few.

In our 2016/2017 budget speech, we clarified the mandate of the Special Programmes within my office, which is, essentially at the core of transformation within the Provincial Administration. The Special Programmes is made up of: Office on Status of Women; Office on the Rights of the Child; Office on Status of Persons with Disabilities and the Moral Regeneration Movement. The attainment of an egalitarian society will become a difficult mission to achieve if Special Programmes ceases to function optimally.

That is why I call on all of us to support the work of Special Programmes. The current onslaught on children and women, that is the raping, kidnapping, killing and even human trafficking, makes the call even stronger. The Special Programmes must continue to assert its role in the Provincial Administration in particular and Society in general. Thus ladies and gentlemen, for the 2017/2018 we are allocating R 16, 491 million for the attainment of the Special Programmes mandate. This amount signifies a nominal increase of R867 000 for the current year (5, 5%).

Honourable Speaker

The recently released report on employment equity in the country shows a disturbing trend. The fact that the employment of women as Senior Managers in the public service is far from reaching equitable levels, a radical intervention will be needed.  In our 2016/2017 budget we were emphatic about the fact that specific target in the 2016-17 annual performance plans is for women to occupy 50% of the total senior management team in the Office of the Premier over the planning horizon.  I’m proud to report that, as I speak, this objective was achieved. However, we need to focus on the rest of the Administration in line with our coordinating mandate.

For the period ahead, the Office of the Status of Women, working together and supported by Mme Re ka Thusa Women development Trust, will primarily focus on programmes aimed at empowering women through ensuring that women are included in all processes of consultation, policy formulation and decision making to advance gender equality. This will include the fundamental role that women should play in the economy.

Honourable Speaker

Last year we received a memorandum from DeafSA. In the main, the organisation was highlighting the plight of persons living with deafness or hearing loss.  I have instructed our Office on the Status of Persons with Disabilities to develop a coherent response in order to intervene on the issues raised. The issue of Sign Language, as one among the other issues raised, will be taken up and prioritised for the current financial year. Fundamentally, in order to heal the injustices of the past, DeafSA is calling for Sign Language to be recognised as the 12th Official Language.  The office, working together with Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, will attend to the issue of how to systematically introduce Sign Language in the Departments, whilst awaiting the National Government processes to unfold.

The Office on the Status of Persons with Disabilities continues to ensure that the policy space is created to engage on solutions to the plight of the persons with disabilities. I’m pleased to announce that we have procured an Embosser machine which will help in generating documents in Braille. The office is tasked with the responsibilities of training all stakeholders on the White Paper on Persons with Disabilities. Worrying though, is the fact that statistics show that we are not doing well in meeting the target of 2% for the employment of persons with disabilities. Our office is at 1, 16% as at 31 March 2017. The NDP actually calls for 7% by 2020 and 10% by 2030. We need to do something drastic about this situation.

Honourable Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen

The issue of Moral Regeneration Movement took a back foot in the previous financial year due to human resource capacity. I am happy to announce that, for the current year, the issue has been addressed. A great deal of work has already taken place in all our district municipalities. We are now working on the strategy to ensure that MRM becomes a real movement. The office will ensure that MRM fora in all the District Municipalities are revived. At the heart of what we must do, is to build awareness on the Charter of Positive Values.

Honourable Speaker
During the presentation of the Annual Performance Plan of the Office to the Standing Committee on Premier and Legislature, concern was raised about the amount of Litigation cases involving Provincial Government. We are mindful of these and for this reason; the Legal Services Unit in the Office renders a comprehensive and co-ordinated legal advisory service to the provincial government and those municipalities that require assistance.

In this regard the Unit has assisted the Phokwane Municipality in re-claiming almost 200 (two-hundred) hectares which was sold to a private company for a mere R200.00 (two-hundred rand).

Through the Collective Bargaining Process, the Employer, led by the Office of the Premier, has ensured that labour peace prevails within the Provincial Administration. This has been achieved through a continuous engagement with labour unions. As a result of strategic interventions and guidance provided by the Labour Relations Unit in the OTP, there has been a significant reduction in the number of days it is taken to finalise disciplinary cases in the Provincial Administration.

Honourable Speaker

The Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Unit continues to provide support and guidance to all provincial departments thus ensuring that the Government Wide Monitoring and Evaluation is strengthened towards improving institutional and service delivery performance.

Through this on-going support, guidance and capacity provided to provincial departments, the province has been able to maintain a positive upward performance trajectory from 2012 to 2016 on the implementation of the Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) introduced by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.

The Province has improved its overall MPAT performance rating over all the MPAT cycles.  The performance of the Province is commendable as it gives an indication that performance will continue to improve as the province and its departments are focused on improving systems to ensure compliance with processes and strengthen management practices for effective institutional performance.

For the 2017/18 financial year the province wide Monitoring and Evaluation will be further strengthened with the finalisation of the Provincial Monitoring and Evaluation Framework as well as the Provincial Evaluation Plan.

Honourable Speaker

The National Development Plan (NDP) reflects on the need for an active citizenry and strong leadership. All spheres of government “can enhance citizen’s participation through a variety of two-way information gathering and sharing forums and platforms between citizens and government. While these platforms can enable government to inform, they also enable citizens to give feedback to government and monitor performance.

The Front Line Service Delivery (FSD) and Citizen Based Programmes (CBM) are precisely aimed at giving citizens a voice on government services by bringing government and the communities it serves together,  thus promoting accountability.

Honourable Speaker

Speaker, the people of the Province can take encouragement from the fact that 99% of the Presidential Hotline service delivery related cases get resolved. More work needs to be done to retain our number one position in positively responding to our people’s need; we cherish all of those who contribute to our responsive governance.

Similarly our commitment to the people is further echoed by the fact that this Northern Cape Executive makes every effort possible to listen to the people of the Northern Cape, through the Executive Council Outreach programme of government.

With that in mind, during the past financial year alone we travelled to every corner of the Province in order to make sure that we listen to the needs and challenges experienced by our people. During this process we have interacted with a multitude of communities, no problem being too big or too small to listen to and seek a lasting and valuable solution for it.

Agbare Speaker

Hierdie program van die Regering sal voortduur om een van die programme van die ANC beheerde Regering te bly. Dit is ook duidelik en vanselfsprekend dat Regering se hulpbronne ingespaan sal word om hierdie program van die Regering te dryf. Ek is dit eens dat dit van kardinale belang is dat ons met ons mense persoonlik moet ontmoet en aanspreek dit wat hulle kwel. Die Imbizo program sal dus aanhou solank as wat die ANC die Regerende Party is.

At the same time this office has also been engaging with our partners in the private sector to roll out winter relief programmes for the elderly as well as construction of houses for the elderly, child-headed households and any destitute family in need of decent shelter that we encounter on our community outreach engagements. We wish to thank these partners, especially Standard Bank and Compgraphics, for this noble gesture and for working with Government to improve the lives of our poor and vulnerable.

Honourable Speaker

The Information Communication Technology and Infrastructure Directorate renders professional information technology services to the Office of the Premier and Provincial Departments in order to enhance service delivery through e-government initiatives in spite of the challenges that exist in this environment. The Northern Cape is the only province without a data centre and in dire need of this capacity. Disaster Recovery services for critical business systems has consistently been on the AGSA’s radar as an audit finding. For this, plans to establishment a data centre in the province are already underway, driven and supported by SITA, the State Information Technology Agency.

Honourable Speaker

Not only do we need a capacitated workforce to drive our developmental agenda but the health and wellness of employees is critical for the efficient functioning of the Office of the Premier and the provincial administration.

Honourable Speaker

The Inter-governmental Relations Unit is responsible to promote and facilitate effective intergovernmental relations between the different spheres of government. Intergovernmental forums serve as consultative platforms to discuss and resolve disputes amongst departments and municipalities. The Premier’s Intergovernmental Forum (PIGF) meets regularly and consults on broad development in the province, as well as on the implementation of national and provincial policy and legislation.

Honourable Speaker, the total budget allocation for 2017/18 for the Office of the Premier is R236.1 million compared to the R227.8 million allocated for the 2016/17 financial year.  The increase is attributed to mainly earmark funding for specific once off Provincial projects; which in real terms does not reflect actual growth of the budget.

Earmarked funds for the 2017/18 financial year received by the Office of the Premier include R 10.2 million for the Youth Development programme and R 4.7 million for the Provincial Growth and Development Plan and the Spatial Planning Land use Management ACT (SPLUMA).

Honourable members, the allocated budget for the respective programmes is as follows:

Programme 1: Administration with a budget allocation of                     R105.6 million

Programme 2: Institutional Development with an allocation of R87.5 million

Programme 3: Policy and Governance with a budget allocation of R43 million

Honourable Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen

We remain resolute in our aim to build a province that is free from poverty, inequality and unemployment.  In reflecting on our journey as a democracy over the past 23 years, we can only be proud of our achievements while, at the same time, being mindful that much more work lies ahead.  We are also aware that government, on its own, cannot bring about the transformation that we seek. What I am certain of, however, is that through the passage of time, we can collectively assert that tomorrow will be far better than yesterday.
Therefore let us spare no effort, no energy in order to ensure that our people’s lives are improved for the better.

Honourable Speaker

As I conclude allow me to express my profound appreciation to the Director General and the entire staff of the Office of the Premier, as well as the staff in my private office for all their hard work and support. I also wish to thank my family, my religious family in my parish as well as my family in the ANC for their invaluable support and guidance.

Moreover, together with my colleagues in the Executive Council, I can confidently state that we have a clear vision for the Northern Cape Province that will certainly yield economic prosperity, peace and stability for all.

Allow me then Mr Speaker, Members of this august House, Ladies and Gentlemen, to present the Budget Vote of the Office of the Premier of the 2017/2018 to be accordingly tabled for adoption.

I thank you!
Baie Dankie!
Enkosi!
Ke a leboga!

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