Modern, Growing, Successful Province

Office of the Premier Budget Speech 2011



Honourable Speaker and Deputy Speaker

Members of the Executive Council

Members of the Provincial Legislature

Chairperson of the South African Local Government Association: Northern Cape

Mayors and Leaders in our System of Local Government

Honourable Traditional Leaders and Veterans of our Liberation Struggle

Heads of the state organs supporting our constitutional democracy

Director General and Government Officials

Distinguished guests

The people of the Northern Cape

Ladies and gentlemen

It is a singular honour and privilege to present to this House and the noble people of the Northern Cape Province this Budget Vote of the Office of the Premier for the 2011/2012 Financial Year.

Of great significance is the fact that I am doing so in a period in what we have termed “Freedom Month”; for on 27 April we will, as a nation that is united, celebrate 17 years of constitutional democracy under the leadership and custodianship of the Ruling Party, the African National Congress.

Indeed, in celebrating 17 years of democratic governance, the people of this Province expect that, through my office and department, the governance architecture of this province must be capable of responding to the dictates of a democratic developmental state. The Ruling Party at its 52nd National Conference in Polokwane in 2007 reiterated the position that, for government to overcome the challenges of inequality, poverty, unemployment and a depressed economy, it must adopt the agenda of a democratic developmental state. Therefore, in shaping institutions, a developmental state is obliged to build distinctive capacities in order to achieve its various strategic and developmental goals. I am pleased to announce that this province, through the coordination of government functions, steered politically by the Executive Council as a collective and administratively by the Director General, have ensured and will continue to ensure that the government of the Northern Cape is well positioned to serve a developmental state.

Serving a developmental state requires, from all in government and civil society, a conscientious paradigm shift. It requires that our policies and legislation must be sensitive to the demands of a developmental state. It requires that government works jointly with civil society and business in planning interventions that will best stimulate the economy, create jobs and fight poverty, provide basic services and build social cohesion. The Strategic Plan of the Office of the Premier has taken the first step of response by changing the vision the Office has had for the past 15 years to a vision that recognises the changing times in which we are expected to deliver services to our communities.

Honourable Speaker, our vision as from the first day of April 2011 is “A safe, democratic and prosperous province with an empowered, diverse and inclusive citizenry”. Our mission statement in support thereof highlights the view that we must provide strategic leadership and direction and coordinated planning, monitoring and evaluation of developmental programmes to improve the quality of life for all our people. This is at the centre of what the Office of the Premier and department will be driving from now on until; ideally, we achieve the goals of the developmental agenda or, preferably, come close to achieving them.

I dedicate this Budget Speech of the Office of the Premier to the combatants of our Province, the Upington 26. The mere fact of staring death in the face did not dampen their collective will and spirit and it is in that context that I want to present this budget vote.

I also dedicate this address to the following Veterans of the Ruling Party, the African National Congress, who passed on during the course of the past financial year:

Cde Mittah Seperepere; Cde Vuyiswa Magoda; Cde Sam Masemola; Cde Molly Motaung; Cde Hendrick Olifant; Cde Julia Mesha; Cde Mary Keshebang; Cde Elizabeth Mazabane and; Cde Moneimang Kwenampe

The people of the Northern Cape can rest assured that our ANC-led government will not falter in its quest to continue their struggle for a better province, a better South Africa and a better world. I can confidently say: “We cannot and will not fail you!”

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is important to note that we acquired a budget based on what we can produce as a contribution towards creating a better, sustainable life for all and creating better communities.

In this regard, the primary intention of the Office of the Premier is underpinned by our passion to change things around and to relook both our Strategic and Annual Performance Plans. There exists no doubt in our minds that we were on the right track. The nobleness of our objectives was to create a conducive environment wherein we will be able to fast-track the delivery of services.

Secondly, it is clearly necessary to restate what the Constitution of South Africa requires what my office should do. The Constitution of our country requires the Office of the Premier to support the Premier and the Executive Council of the Province in:

* Implementation of Provincial Legislation;
* Implementation of Mandated National Legislation;
* Development and implementation of Provincial Policy;
* Co-ordination of functions of the Northern Cape Provincial Administration and Departments; and
* Preparation and initiation of Provincial Legislation as and when required.

Honourable Speaker, in honouring the execution of our constitutional mandate, the Premier’s Office shall continue to drive the Program of Government of creating a better life for all. Driven by both the Constitutional Imperatives and Political Mandate from the Electorate, we utilized all our energies towards enhancing the quality of education, creating healthy lifestyles, fighting crime and corruption, the provision of decent work and work opportunities and a sustainable effort towards agrarian reform and the development of rural communities.

In our leadership efforts, the Office of the Premier is also committed to ensure that our provincial priorities which are linked to the Medium Term Strategic Framework, are properly discharged and implemented as outlined in the State of the Province Address.

Work has continued in respect of the finalisation of the review that we undertook as it relates to the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy. The purpose of the extensive review processes was aimed at ensuring that the PGDS responds to the new priorities of government. In line with those efforts, the Office of the Premier will continue to provide strategic leadership, guidance and create a dynamic, integrated system and a fully organised environment, which will be effectively functional for good governance, a new economic growth path and enhance the human development of the Province.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have also, together with the National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, engaged to put together a Provincial Spatial Development Framework. Work in this regard is progressing very well. We have called upon all sector departments to be involved in the various streams of work pertaining to the development of the Provincial Spatial Development Framework which will inform all planning, budgetary processes and appropriate work going forward. It is in that context that we want to enhance our integrated Provincial Government machinery to work as a composite unit. We dare not squander the opportunity presented to us, for we will have no excuse thereafter and future generations will not forgive us if we fail to discharge this critical task of setting the spatial planning environment of our Province on a new economic growth path and set it free from the shackles of under development.

We shall continue to work in collaboration with departments for capacity building and monitoring compliance while in turn sector departments will consult the Office of the Premier for the necessary leadership and guidance. The work of the Office of the Premier is executed through the implementation of three key programmes namely:

* Administration;
* Institutional Development; and
* Policy and Governance

The Administration referred to as Programme One in the Office of the Premier is entrusted with the general administration of government in that its responsibilities include providing administrative support to the Premier, the Provincial Executive Council and the Director-General in fulfilling their executive and oversight functions respectively. The execution of these responsibilities is aimed at promoting good corporate governance.

Honourable Speaker, we as the Office of the Premier take pride from the previous year’s audit opinion from the Auditor General’s Office. We have received an unqualified audit opinion with no matters of emphasis. We have said before and once again that today we want to commit ourselves to work towards obtaining clean audit opinions on a consistent basis. We are steadfast that the pinnacle of the Provincial Administration needs to be exemplary in this respect. We are confident that we have cut our cloth according to our size. It is with such confidence that we have set-up a team chaired by the Director-General to oversee the Operation Clean Audit initiative across sector departments and our municipalities. This good governance initiative is between the Provincial Government, the Office of the Auditor General and the Development Bank of Southern Africa. Indeed we are sure that the good work we do running our financial affairs in the Office of the Premier will rub off on all other sector departments and municipalities.

In line with our mandate to fight corruption, we will strengthen our efforts by ensuring that the Northern Cape Anti-Corruption Forum is resuscitated. Furthermore we will put plans in place to create an Anti-Corruption Unit in the Director-General’s Office. Such a Unit will report directly to the Director-General and it will facilitate the effective management and safekeeping of tangible information by ensuring the government’s wide Risk Management Frameworks are reinforced and implemented. The fight against corruption and fraud will not be defeated if it is seen as the business of government alone. We must say that corruption is a societal matter and should be treated as such. This is a matter of great concern and we will spare no effort in our fight against corrupt practices.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Programme 2, which we call Institutional Development, is the bedrock of which the foundation for a developmental state lies and a responsive public service administration ethos finds expression in. It is in this programme that the work of ensuring that the Provincial Administration has capacity to deliver on its mandate are fully executed and examined. Among the work of this programme is the provision of effective and efficient Human Resource Management. The capacity of any developmental state is its own management of service delivery improvement plans. In this regard the Office of the Premier will swiftly ensure that such blue prints exist and are adhered to by all sector departments, including the Office of the Premier itself.

Under this programme the co-ordination of the implementation of the Provincial Human Resource Development is also undertaken.

The Unit will request quarterly reports from departments to track cases reported to ensure that it complies with the turn-around strategy of reducing cases as enshrined under outcome 12.

The Unit undertook the Pension Redress project as directed by the PSCBC and executed this task without the limitation imposed by resources.

The Unit will coordinate all Labour Relations training matter provincially through the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), Department of Public Service Administration (DPSA), and Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on topics such as Disciplinary Code & Procedures, Grievance Protocol and Dispute Resolutions. This training is expected to be extended to all other regions in the province and will contribute towards building a disciplined workforce which promotes effective service delivery. The Unit will also embark on outreach programmes as part of its oversight responsibilities especially in the farming communities to check compliance with legislation and working conditions of farm workers. This is part of the key priority area on rural development as enshrined in government’s programme of action. We will do this through building solid partnerships with other stakeholders such as the Office of the State Attorney, CCMA, GEPF, Department of Labour, Department of Agriculture, Department of Rural Development, Organised Labour, Farm Workers Unions and Farmers Unions.

The Unit intends establishing a research desk which will be a support function for all departments in terms of advice on labour matters. In addition, the Unit will also be responsible for compiling a monthly newsletter which, amongst others, will highlight recent labour cases, outreach reports, etc.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the whole aspect of ensuring an enabling ICT environment for improved service delivery in the whole of the Northern Cape Provincial Administration is critical. A programme is therefore in place to ensure that the initiatives of strategic marketing and communication in the Province are pursued. Furthermore, it will unleash all efforts to promote and ensure that developmental communication exists between government stakeholders and members of the public. Service delivery successes that are not communicated will create the notion that government is failing in its efforts to provide a quality life for all. Thus going forward this programme will not only ensure that a forum of government communicators exists, but that indeed those communicators will close the communication divide between government and the general public.

In this regard we are in the process of reviewing our entire provincial communication strategy and systems in order to ensure that there is synergy and integration of all communication policies and programmes of all spheres of government. With this, we believe we will manage the flow of information both internally and externally and this will only bode well for government. As municipalities are the coal face of service delivery, it is extremely important that any communication system will have to improve the flow of such interaction with our communities to enhance accountability. We need to strengthen our efforts and support for community media initiatives. It is through community media that we will effectively transmit government messages and its intentions to our people.

Honourable Speaker, since 2007, the Northern Cape Provincial Government, with technical and financial support from the Finland Government, have set-out a programme to develop the Northern Cape Information Society System. As the Office of the Premier, we have, with the collaboration of all sector departments, identified weaknesses in the PGDS in relation to technology, particularly information and Communication Technology. I can today therefore indicate that the matters we have identified were incorporated during the review process of the PGDS. Consequent to that we have prepared a draft Provincial Information Society Strategy which we have to consult and agree on with all our partners.

Honourable Speaker, a central aspect of the work of the Communications Unit in the year under review was communication linked to key initiatives arising from the priorities of Government linked to its Programme of Action. This included work done in the development of the draft Provincial communication strategy, messaging and content development with the assistance of the Government Communications and Information System (GCIS), media liaison, the production of media adverts and events management services.

Key communication activities included assistance provided to the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture for the 2010 World Cup, as well as the hosting of the Uruguayan football team. The unit also provides a support role to the various Provincial Departments in terms of their programmes and in the honouring of Commemorative days.

In an effort to expedite follow up and resolving queries received through the Presidential Hotline, the Communications Unit serves as an interface between various Government Departments and Municipalities. This has seen more queries being resolved effectively.

The Unit chairs the Provincial Communicators Forum and also provides support to the District Communicators Fora. Such forums are important because they allow government at all levels to communicate its central messages both clearly and effectively.

During this financial year, the Unit will seek out unique and innovative ways to continue to manage and promote programmes through communications and marketing campaigns, production of media and provision of media production services for the Office of the Premier as well as the Northern Cape Provincial Government.

The unit will also develop and implement the NCPG communication strategy with the assistance of various departmental communicators through the Cluster working process of government to ensure communication of common messages and effective communication. More focus will also be placed on the Public Participation process in line with the directive from the Presidency with regards to outreach programmes by Political principals to communities.

The Office of the Premier is still and will continue to extend government services to the most rural and far-flung areas of our Province. The Thusong Service Centres are a unique way of taking government services to the people. It is our considered view that such centres need to be established in all parts of our Province.

The Northern Cape should be the leading Province when it comes to addressing the needs of all vulnerable groups. Through our employment equity initiatives we have established that we currently stand at 0.34% regarding the employment of people with disabilities in the Provincial Administration. The total percentage of the Premier’s Office is 2.21% above the provincial target.

The employment figures of women in the Provincial Administration stands at 27%. The total number of Women in Senior Management in the Provincial Administration stands at 37.50%.

We had numerous consultations with stakeholders in an effort to develop both a Provincial Gender Mainstreaming Strategy and we have a Draft Provincial Disability Management Strategy. With regard to the draft Provincial Disability Management Strategy we have terms of reference for the Provincial Disability Machinery. It is our intention to use them as a monitoring tool to gauge our progress with regard to the management of disability needs in the Province.

This government, together with the other spheres, has a responsibility for the well-being of all children and more work has to be done to mainstream children’s rights delivery. In support of such work we will continue as an office to convene the sittings of the Provincial Advisory Council on Children’s Rights.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have mentioned on numerous occasions that the issue of equity is non-negotiable. We will ensure that all departments comply with employment equity targets of 50% women and 2% of people with disability at all senior management levels in the government. Through our efforts, the Office of the Premier will launch the Provincial Diversity Management Training Manual, which will be implemented by all departments and municipalities. The aim of the Manual is to guide the Provincial Government in dealing with issues of diversity in the workplace and to deliver a service that recognizes and respects diversity. The Manual will equip staff to understand issues of cultural differences and all other differences which could lead to discrimination.

Furthermore the Unit will work with the provincial and local government to capacitate special programmes officers to develop indicators that will assist government to have a sense of the status of target groups in the province.

Progress is steadily being made on data disaggregation on target groups. The challenge faced by the Office is the constant turnover of personnel who attend to issues of target groups and this has an impact on capacity building. New staff needs to be trained on a constant basis, thereby impacting on decision making.

The MRM has accepted the Charter of Positive Values and intends to use it to harness the moral wealth of our province in order to effect societal renewal at all levels. Through the schools programme we want to ensure that we reach out, especially to children in their formative years, so that we can begin to change the tide of moral decay in our communities. This programme will be launched by the MRM National Office and will be driven by two field workers (one based in Kimberley to be responsible for the Frances Baard, Pixley Ka Seme and John Toalo Gaetsewe regions and one in Upington to be responsible for the Siyanda and Namaqua Regions.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our province has been chosen to host the National Launch of Moral Regeneration Month during July 2011. I will deliver the main address at the launch at which the National Leadership of the MRM and provinces will be in attendance.

The key issue at hand for the Office on the Rights of the Child is the establishment of child rights monitoring and evaluation systems within the departments and municipalities to give effect to the extent of work that government does in these institutions. Without the established systems, there is no way that we can plan as a sector and get reports that would speak to the mandate of government as captured in outcome 12.

The challenge is, whether the Office of the Premier, through its various mandating structures can mandate departments and municipalities to comply by establishing these monitoring and evaluation systems.

Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, once remarked:

“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance”.

Another challenge we have is whether all departments and municipalities have dedicated appointed Child Focal Points. Exacerbating our difficulties is the fact that subsequent to receiving training, personnel are changed at regular intervals and this nullifies all the capacity building efforts of the ORC. The retraining of new Child Focal Points does not only have an impact on the budgets of units but also on the time officials put into these activities.

The issue of the State of the Child Report in the province is of primary importance to the Office on the Rights of the Child and to the children’s sector as a whole. The report will inform the sector of the current situation of the child in the province and enable the sector to plan on reliable information and put in place relevant intervention measures to address the challenges of the sector.

The ORC had consultative meetings with all 5 District Municipalities, and their local municipalities, to set up systems that would address the objectives of the sector.

A presentation was also made to the Pixley Ka Seme IGR Technical Committee on issues relating to the operations of the Special Programmes Unit and possible intervention strategies in relation to effecting the objectives of the sectors.

A draft framework for the establishment of Child Friendly municipalities was developed for piloting in the Sol – Plaatje Local Municipality.

District road shows have been undertaken to finalise the draft strategy which will be finalised and departments trained on the implementation thereof. The office has successfully coordinated programmes such as of the Women’s Month, the 16 days campaign and the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Day to change the mindset of communities on the importance of women and children in society. The “No violence against women and children campaign” will be launched during the 16 days campaign in 2011 to create an increased awareness of the negative impact of violence on women, children and society as a whole. The OSW will continue to monitor the representation of women across all occupational categories and will further develop women-specific indicators to be integrated into the government-wide monitoring and evaluation system.

Honourable Speaker, kindly allow me to quote the last stanza of a poem by Maya Angelou entitled ‘Still I Rise’, to celebrate and honour the resilience, strength and determination of all women:

“Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

Into daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the dream and the hope of the slave

I rise

I rise

I rise”

Honourable Speaker, we will continue in our endeavour to improve the lot of women in our Province. In this regard we acknowledge the role that technology can play. One example I can cite is the provision of computers to the Latter Glory House in Phutanang, Galeshewe. The Centre was officially opened on Monday this week, and as I speak, two computers with internet access are being installed.

The Office on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, amongst others, is entrusted with the responsibility to monitor the implementation of disability legislation and other international, continental and national commitments. In executing this responsibility, the unit must ensure that these pieces of legislation and commitments are integrated into departments’ Annual Performance Plans and municipalities’ Integrated Development Plans (IDPs).

The tracking of the activities relating to Outcome 12 outputs can only be made possible by departments and municipalities developing and integrating disability disaggregated indicators into their monitoring and evaluation systems.

As the Office of the Premier we will continue to play the role of assisting all departments with legal matters.

Honourable Speaker, all departments are encouraged to utilize these services from the office of the Chief State Law Advisor. It will only promote good corporate governance if our in-house services are utilised to the maximum and in the process we save money that may be directed to other pressing needs. Going forward, the Office of the Premier will continue to enhance the capacity, skills base and legal know-how of the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor to serve the entire Provincial Administration.

It is my pleasure to share with this honourable house that the Office of the Premier and the Department of Sports Arts and Culture have worked tirelessly to put together a draft Provincial Language Policy. This policy will satisfy the constitutional imperative that proclaims that government at all levels needs to have such a policy in place in order to promote and protect all official languages. Together we will take the Provincial Language Policy through all the necessary EXCO processes so that the final product can be owned by all.

Programme Three of this office is termed Policy and Governance. This programme has the responsibility to ensure the development of policy, the management thereof, proper co-ordination of such policies and to monitor its implementation in the process of governance. Necessarily, these programmes need to incorporate strategies to achieve an integrated approach towards the human development of the Province and its new economic growth path. The entire planning function of the Provincial Administration resides under this programme.

In pursuing integrated planning, this programme also facilitates the implementation of special programmes across the sector departments. It is therefore by no accident that the initiative I referred to, namely the Development of the Provincial Spatial Development Framework, is undertaken by this unit.

As we move to plot the spatial planning of the Province, we will enhance our capabilities and capacity to co-ordinate the Geographic Information System Functions as the lead institution in the Provincial Administration. This initiative will ensure that we have access to all geographic information so that we carry out our planning functions with maximum efficiency.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Province is in the initial processes of developing an Integrated Spatial Information Management System and a Provincial Data Repository. The purpose of the system is to ensure that decision makers in the Province have access to quality information which will be accessible to all government departments.

The Provincial Data Repository will facilitate real time information sharing and the interfacing with various existing provincial data bases in the public domain. This will effectively enable synchronised planning between the three spheres of government in the Province and the obvious impact on service delivery that will consequently follow.

Honourable Speaker, in our endeavour to improve our programme information, we are currently busy negotiating with various data analysis institutions to provide the necessary licences to the whole Provincial Administration. As soon as we reach agreement of the kind of tool we will need to provide a relevant and up to date analysis of our Provincial circumstances, we will continue with the appropriate logistical arrangements to secure such licences. This initiative, we trust, will assist us not only to provide quantitative information but rather qualitative information regarding the performance of the Provincial government.

Furthermore, in our quest to promote integrated service delivery, we are exploring an option of putting together a policy on Provincial Integrated Policy Forum Management. The intention of this policy is not to relegate the important work done by all Provincial Forums, but rather elevate that work into the mainstream of government work activity. We believe that such elevation will enhance the efforts that officials put into their activities related to such forums. More importantly, such forums will have the force of law and will receive the necessary attention from senior echelons in the Administration.

In pursuance of integrated planning, we have to decide as a Province which institutional arrangements will best serve our interest. In that context we have a choice to make not only to transplant the blue print of the National Planning Commission in the Province but rather look at what mechanisms will best advance our Provincial interests. I can report that we are on the verge of making that choice within our limited financial resources.

Our work will ensure that the much needed technical work that needs to take place, as expressed by the Intergovernmental Relations Act, indeed finds proper expression. We have resolved to ensure that this area of our work enjoys more attention so that we may impact on service delivery on a bigger scale.

The twelve outcomes approach has really shaped government to do and see things differently. We have agreed that the relevant clusters of EXCO will be grouped to handle certain outcomes as and when they have a focus on a particular outcome.

In this regard, EXCO Clusters have been modelled to give sufficient attention to the outcomes based approach.

Consequently, the government’s programmes need to be shaped in line with the outcomes so as to track progress in meeting the outcomes. It is in this light that the EXCO Lekgotla has expressed its intention to support the strengthening of the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit in the Premier’s office. The work of this unit will be properly co-ordinated if two things are in place, namely:

1. Provincial Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy; and
2. Provincial Monitoring and Evaluation System

The current manual monitoring and evaluating mechanisms which the unit has employed to assess the government’s Programme of Action proves to be a challenge, but this will be overcome by procuring an electronic system. In strengthening the capacity of the provincial administration to effectively monitor the performance of our provincial government departments and municipalities, we have started laying a foundation to support a strong monitoring and evaluation system. In conjunction with the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, issues relating to coordination and collaboration, tracking and monitoring of the 12 outcomes, and performance reporting, have been finalised.

Honourable Speaker, this financial year will see us developing a provincial monitoring and evaluation strategy that will seek to clarify and provide all the necessary mechanisms, processes, systems and networks to institutionalise monitoring and evaluation. We are working closely with the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs to manage a single window of coordination in line with the principles of healthy intergovernmental relations together with seamless monitoring and evaluation.

The M&E coordination value chain has been outlined and approved by EXCO after the August 2010 Cabinet Lekgotla and was presented to the PIGF in November 2010. The implementation forums have been established and have already commenced with their functions.

Indeed the Office of the Premier is the apex of the Provincial Government. It is our responsibility to ensure that sector departments execute their mandates to improve the lives of our people. We will also undertake the process of ensuring that we all work closely together in order that, at any given time, the Premier and the Executive Council can have a dashboard view of what is happening in the Province from a government point of view.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Executive Council Secretariat has consistently worked towards the goal of integrated governance and facilitated a number of meetings as it relates to the business of the Executive Council.

The Executive Secretariat coordinated meetings of the Executive Council, Cluster committees and a wide range of other meetings such as the Premier’s Intergovernmental Forum, EXCO Makgotla and the Dingleton Joint Task meetings for the possible relocation of the Dingleton community. Clusters deliberated on the provincial government’s Outcomes Based Approach and the Medium Term Strategic Priorities.

The Governance and Administration Cluster, over the last year, discussed matters pertaining to the democratic developmental state and looked, in particular, at strategic issues such Operation Clean Audit for municipalities, the Turn Around Strategy for local government and the Performance and Development of the Public Service as a whole. I will continue to discuss important strategic matters as it relates to Governance.

The Social Protection, Community Development and Crime Prevention Cluster focussed their energy on matters such as improving the Province’s health profile, the fight against crime and corruption, cohesive and sustainable communities and improving the education system in the Province.

The Economic Sector, Employment and Infrastructure Cluster’s main focus is to look at speeding-up growth and transforming the economy of the Northern Cape. The Cluster will continue to look at matters such as social and economic infrastructure, rural development and land reform as well as sustainable resource management.

Furthermore, the “EXCO Meets the People” programme is based on giving further effect and concrete expression to participatory democracy so that communities can exercise their right to be heard, and assist with the national effort to build a better life for all. In an effort to keep participatory democracy alive, we had to shift focus of the “EXCO Meets the People” programme and it is now more pronounced with interaction directly with community members. Over the past year, we have engaged both commercial and emerging farmers in the Siyanda and John Taolo Gaetsewe Districts, the Education fraternity and more specifically the School Governing Bodies in these Districts. We shall continue to interact with our communities in different parts of the province.

The Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act provides for the establishment of a range of formal structures for IGR consultation and dialogue across the spheres of government. The Premier’s Intergovernmental Forum is one such Forum, which provides a platform for District Municipalities to interact with Provincial Government. The PIGF met on a number of occasions last year in an extended capacity, where municipalities were also afforded the opportunity to discuss matters affecting them. Crucial matters discussed at the Forum included the Expanded Public Works Programme and the state of local government in general.

The Dingleton Joint Task Team comprising Provincial Government and Kumba Iron Ore is also hard at work, looking at the possible relocation of the Dingleton community. In February this year, new members of the Dingleton Resettlement Working Group were elected by the community to represent their interests at Provincial level. We are currently busy with the feasibility phase and we are appealing to the community of Dingleton not to lose faith in the process.

Our Executive Council Committees are now also well-established and have improved on the quality of their work, which in turn enables the Executive to receive timeous information for evidence-based decision-making. The challenge still to be addressed is to increase our research capacity, to ensure critical and functional support to the Executive and its sub-committees.

Ladies and Gentlemen, taking all the developmental factors into account and within the parameters of our official political obligations, we, as the elected public representatives constituting the Executive Council of the Northern Cape Provincial Government, under the custodianship of the Office of the Premier, were proud to launch our unique provincial government campaign termed “Operation Pula-Nala”. In essence, “Pula” and “Nala”, words derived from the Sotho language, mean “rain” and “prosperity” respectively.

Operation Pula-Nala will in the main, endeavour to expedite our township revitalisation and rural development initiatives. It will accord a thorough assessment of the objectives and functions of the municipalities both within their current and our historical contexts. Development, and the work associated therewith, must be balanced and coherent, thus Operation Pula-Nala will examine the extent of development in our townships and rural areas in an effort to tilt the scale to address major service delivery and related backlogs.

Operation Pula-Nala will under the auspices of this particular Provincial Government, create the conditions necessary for the improvement of the quality of life for all the people in our beloved Province.

Honourable Speaker, regarding the Premier’s Education Trust Fund, I am pleased to report that the Trust awarded loans to 231 beneficiaries in 2010. The funding covers costs for registration, tuition and study material. 88 beneficiaries were targeted to complete their studies in 2010 and we have, to date, confirmed 20 thereof. Follow-up and verification is continuing with respect to the remaining beneficiaries.

For 2011, the Trust Fund targeted to award loans to 307 beneficiaries for studies at the following Institutions of Higher Learning:

* Universities;
* Universities of Technology;
* The National Institute for Higher Education; and
* Further Education and Training College.

The Trust will continue to solicit inputs from stakeholder institutions with respect to identifying skills for prioritisation and will seek ways to reach the vast majority of potential beneficiaries in the Province. To this end, the Fund is engaged in the process of establishing a website, as well as visiting regions to foster an understanding about the Trust and its workings.

Ladies and Gentlemen, from the perspective of my Office, our preparations for the local government elections are proceeding satisfactorily. The voter registration that took place earlier this year went well despite the heavy rain that was experienced in many parts of our province. I urge the people of the Northern Cape to exercise their democratic right on voting day by casting their vote.

A special appeal is extended particularly to the youth to exercise their right and cast their votes during the Local Government Elections on 18 May, which is only 38 days away!

With Local Government Elections only a few weeks away, I take this opportunity in making a call to all political parties to campaign, canvass and lobby in a manner that befits our constitutional democracy.

This House appropriated One Hundred and Fifty One Million and One Hundred and Ninety Two Thousand Rand (R 151 192 million) for the Office of the Premier in the previous financial year. I must indicate that the funds entrusted to my office were indeed well spent. We have been on course with our expenditure to such an extent that we projected to spend the budget at the close of the financial year without any over expenditure. As I have indicated earlier, we had a clean audit without matters of emphasis. However compliance issues were raised pertaining to performance information and internal audit. We are confident that, with the measures that are in place, we will improve on our performance information.

The current budget that we request this august House to appropriate for 2011/12 is One Hundred and Forty One Million and Two Hundred and Thirty Six Thousand Rand (R141 236 million). Our budget in this financial year has recorded a decrease owing to the fact that there were certain projects in the previous financial year that we undertook and will not continue with in this new financial year.

Honourable Speaker, the Budget allocations for each Programme are as follows:

Programme One: Administration

Sixty One Million and Six Hundred and Fifty Seven Thousand Rand

(R 61, 657 million)

Programme Two: Industrial Development

Fifty Million and One Hundred and Eighteen Thousand Rand

(R 50, 118 million)

Programme Three: Policy and Governance

Twenty Nine Million and Four Hundred and Sixty One Thousand Rand

(R 29, 461 million)

Ladies and Gentlemen, in order to save time, the detailed Budgetary allocation per unit has been incorporated in the addendum, which has been circulated

It is worth mentioning this as the nature of the Office of the Premier our personnel budget cost stands at 54% of our total budget. We are hard at work with the process that DPSA is leading of developing generic structures for all Premier’s Offices in the country. At the conclusion thereof, we will be in a better position to relook at our structure and align it accordingly.

Goods and Services for the office of the Premier amounts to 34% of the total budget, transfer costs stands at 14% and capital expenditure at 4%. Even though our budget will record increases in the outer MTEF years, the expenditure trends on our budget will stay the same throughout the MTEF.

In conclusion, Honourable Speaker; Ladies and Gentlemen, kindly allow me to express my sincere gratitude to the People of the Northern Cape for their ongoing support; all the Members of the Executive Council for their commitment to the developmental agenda of the Province; the Director-General and his staff for advancing the cause of the Provincial Government and, of course, my support staff in the Private Office for their industrious and passionate sense of duty. I surely could not have asked or wished for a better team!

To my husband David, children and family, you continue to be the source of my inspiration and strength. Thank you for your care, support and incomparable love.

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; Working together is success.

It is now my privilege to place the Budget Vote of the Office of the Premier for 2011/2012 before this House for appropriation.

I thank youCole Haan Zerogrand 2020 , First Look at New Running Shoes

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