Presidency Annual Report 2015/16 reflects positive interventions to support the economy and build a united and prosperous South Africa

The Minister in the Presidency, Mr Jeff Radebe, today tabled the Annual Report 2015/16 of The Presidency in Parliament, closing the chapter on a financial year in which the apex of government led the implementation of the National Development Plan in a difficult economic climate and steered the national mission of building a united, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa.

The 2015/16 financial year was especially significant for government because it was the first full year in which the National Development Plan (NDP) was implemented.

Between March 31 2015 and 1 April 2016, government collaborated closely with social partners and South Africans in general to keep the implementation of the NDP on track, amid the economic difficulties facing the country.

The year in question was the period during which the Nine-Point Plan for Economic Growth and Job Creation gained momentum of implementation, after President Jacob Zuma announced it in February 2015.

The plan covers the following priority areas:

o Revitalisation of the agriculture and agro-processing value-chain;

o Advancing beneficiation (adding value to our mineral wealth);

o More effective implementation of a higher impact IPAP;

o Unlocking the potential of SMME, co-ops, township and rural enterprise;

o Resolving the energy challenge;

o Stabilising the labour market;

o Scaling-up private-sector investment;

o Growing the Ocean Economy;

o Cross-cutting Areas to Reform, Boost and Diversify the Economy:

o Science, technology and innovation

o Water and sanitation

o Transport infrastructure

o Broadband rollout

o State owned companies.

During the 2015/16 fiscal year, the Presidency’s commitment to the Nine-Point Plan resulted in a number of new investments in the economy which demonstrated confidence and contributed to job creation.

New investments and expansions were announced by major companies such as Ford, Nestle, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo, as well as the Beijing Automobile International Corporation and Samsung Electronics.

In the spirit of “Together We Move South Africa Forward”, President Zuma mobilised various sectors in society to work with government in revitalising the economy and in implementing the Nine-Point Plan and the NDP.

The programme of cooperation with business included meetings of the Presidential Business Working Group and the National Mining Consultative Forum, which focuses on stabilising the mining sector.

The President also convened the Presidential Youth Working Group, in order to discuss ways in which the agenda of youth empowerment can be advanced, with a special focus on addressing the huge challenge of youth unemployment.

A highlight of the cooperation process fostered between government and business was demonstrated in the first ever road-show by business, government and labour leaders to the United Kingdom and the United States, in an unprecedented collective effort to avert the sovereign downgrade of South Africa.

Many other initiatives were also undertaken by The Presidency during the year under review, including the efforts of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, facilitating negotiations at NEDLAC on the minimum wage and his leadership in turning around some State Owned Entities (SOEs).

In addressing the challenge of energy insecurity, comprehensive measures were implemented under the leadership of The Presidency, to resolve governance problems at Eskom, including the appointment of the board and the appointment of senior executives. The interventions resulted in a much-welcome turnaround at Eskom and a halt being put on load-shedding.

During 2015/16, the tough economic environment did not prevent government from pushing ahead with the agenda of transforming the economy. On 9 August 2015 President Zuma launched the Women in the Economy Report, which led to President Zuma instructing all Ministers in the Economic Cluster of Cabinet to set specific targets in departmental plans pertaining to the economic inclusion of women.

As part of consolidating the institutions of our democracy, The Presidency continued to promote positive working relations between the three arms of the state.

President Jacob Zuma convened a landmark meeting with the judiciary last year following disagreements on some areas of work.

“This demonstrated the ability of our country to solve problems through dialogue. It also demonstrated the resilience of our democratic institutions and systems,” said Minister Radebe.

President Zuma later hosted another meeting in Cape Town with the leadership of Parliament (the Speaker and Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces) and the Chief Justice to discuss working relations and other issues affecting the three arms.

In terms of issues unfolding in society, the Union Buildings was the scene of a march by university students demonstrating against increases in university fees.

The President met the leadership of universities as well as student leaders to discuss the matter and later appointed the Heher Commission of Inquiry to investigate the funding of higher education and training.

In the aftermath of the attacks on foreign nationals during 2015, government established an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) that developed a Multi-Disciplinary Integrated National Action Plan to address the causes of conflict between local communities and foreign nationals. The work of this task team, led by Minister Radebe, continues.

Beyond our national borders, South Africa’s increasing engagement efforts in the international arena reflected the confidence and respect that the international community, and especially the African continent, has for South Africa.

As a member of the G20 and BRICS groups of countries, South Africa maintained its pivotal role in global and South-South relations, complemented by various missions to bring about peace, stability and development in the African continent.

In this regard, President Zuma and Deputy President Ramaphosa were active in many multilateral and bilateral settings to advance South Africa’s interests and build a better Africa and a better world.

In terms of internal organisation, the work of The Presidency took place under difficult economic conditions which necessitated the implementation of cost-containment measures.

Setting an example for government and the country, The Presidency did more with less while maintaining the essential work of coordinating government and delivering on government’s mandate.

The Presidency has been on an austerity drive since the implementation of expenditure thresholds outlined as part of the cost-containment measures introduced by government in 2013/14.

The Presidency successfully implemented expenditure thresholds that entailed cutting back on spending on non-essential goods and services and re-prioritising, abolishing vacant posts and, in some cases, delaying planned capital projects.

The impact of the reorganisation of government, which began in 2014, reached its end-point in The Presidency, when the Ministry for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, which had resided in The Presidency, was transferred to the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) during 2015/16. This completed the establishment of the comprehensive planning, monitoring and evaluation portfolio led by Minister Radebe, in addition to his responsibilities as Minister in the Presidency supporting the President and Deputy President in the execution of their tasks.

A lot of progress was made with regard to enhancing corporate governance in The Presidency. A total of 15 new and revised operational policies and plans were processed to ensure compliance with government legislation, regulations and directives. These policies deal with supply chain management, human resources, information and communication technologies, finance, performance information, and governance and compliance. A review of all charters and terms of reference for various management structures was also done.

The Presidency adopted a language policy, which was published on 15 February 2016.The policy allows for the promotion of all official South African languages and for citizens to communicate with The Presidency in any official South African language. This has meant that The Presidency has had to set up processes for accessible translations services.

The Human Resources (HR) strategy of The Presidency was revised and implemented with an amended recruitment and selection strategy, to specifically respond to legislative requirements for disability management, in order to promote opportunities for people with disabilities. This intervention is designed to enable The Presidency to improve its current profile, which stands at 1.41% disabled staff members, which is just below the national average of 2%.

As part of its fraud detection programme, The Presidency conducted a verification exercise of the educational qualifications of all staff. To date 948 qualifications of all staff have been verified. The project will be finalised in the 2016/17 financial year.

The Presidency is equally proud of its own performance in saving energy in the country.

In response to the electricity generation crises that resulted in outages and load-shedding, The Presidency launched a government-wide energy saving campaign in March 2015, to help stabilise the country’s energy grid.

Within The Presidency itself, energy saving interventions implemented in the past year include the fitting of sensors to office lights, to ensure the efficient use of office lighting.

The interventions were part of a comprehensive strategy that was implemented. Utility meters, which measure electricity usage, were monitored regularly. The electricity usage analysis has shown that since the implementation of the comprehensive strategy in 2013, The Presidency has saved approximately R2.5 million every year.

Key interventions were made by The Presidency to address findings made in external reviews conducted by the Auditor-General and the Management of Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) process, and responding to the recommendations to improve internal controls and compliance, as well as to enhance management processes and practices.

While The Presidency previously received an aggregate score of 2.75, the score improved to 3.04 in the current year. In the main, this reflects the improvements undertaken in relation to business processes and management practices in the organisation.

The Presidency spent 98.1% of its appropriated budget in the year under review.

The Presidency is pleased to have received an unqualified audit report from the Auditor-General. More work will be done in the new financial year to further improve corporate governance, especially in the areas of supply chain management and also in the management and reporting of performance information. Systems are being put in place to achieve these goals.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa.