It was a legacy State of the Nation address. Clearly, President Thabo Mbeki wants to put the state into fifth gear as he heads into the sunset.
The government is to become a service delivery agency where Cabinet ministers’ performance is measured by numerical outputs to their clients — South Africa’s citizens. The Presidency has become the engine room of the government, where Mbeki keeps a watchful eye on his legacy.
Last year only 50% of the goals he set himself were achieved. With the launch of the Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (Asgisa), the 6% growth plan for the South African economy, in addition to the government’s Programme of Action, he will need to crack the whip.
What follows is a presidential guide that can be cut out and used to keep Mbeki on his toes.
- Asgisa: By 2014, reduce unemployment from its current level (26%) to 15%.
— Between 2006 and 2009 increase economic growth to 4,5% and between 2009 and 2014 increase this to 6% of gross domestic product (GDP).
— Review competition law and industrial policies to dilute the concentration of South Africa’s upstream production sectors such as iron and steel, paper and chemicals.
— Increase public sector investment to 8% with a R372-billion boost over the medium term (40% of this will be spent by Eskom and Transnet).
— Grow the capital budget of government to an unprecedented level of between 15% and 20% annually.
— Grow the tourism sector from 8% to 12% of GDP.
— Develop a procedure by which 10 products will be set aside for procurement through smaller black-owned businesses.
— Create 100 000 jobs in the business, processing and outsourcing industry.
— Review the functioning of the development finance institutions including the Industrial Development Corporations, the Land Bank and the National Development Agency.
- May: A project managed by the Development Bank of Southern Africa will deploy 90 out of 150 expert staff to local government.
- July: National Industrial Policy Framework submitted to Cabinet.
- Medium term: Boost the Expanded Public Works Programme by R4,5-billion.
- Establish five business process outsourcing industries in rural areas.
- Develop sector strategies for: community and social services, wood and paper, appliances, retail and construction.
- Review the regulatory environment and the burden on small, micro and medium enterprises in terms of tax cuts, municipal regulation and the administration of labour law.
- Address the challenges of import parity pricing with regard to steel chemicals.
- Operationalise the second national telecommunications operator.
- Implement a Regulatory Impact Assessment of the country’s policies on economic activity.
- All regional electricity distributors to be operational.
- Trade negotiations with China to reduce surge of clothing imports into South Africa.
- Finalise black economic empowerment charters in wine; transport; construction; agriculture; auto and aerospace; property; pharmaceutical and health sectors.
Governance and administration:
At the heart of implementing the Asgisa is to realign the state into an agency for delivery.
- February 10: The Department of Home Affairs will gazette the professional categories and occupational classes in terms of which quota work permits may be issued.
- April: Review Public Service Act and Public Finance Management Act.
- July: Proposals submitted to the Cabinet lekgotla on the harmonisation of salaries of legally qualified personnel in the public service.
- July: The reflection of national economic policies in the provincial Growth and Development Strategies and Integrated Development Plans will be reviewed.
- July: The governance and administration cluster and the economic cluster will review the capacity of government to implement the Asgisa.
- July: Adoption of a comprehensive e-government across the public sector.
- Mid-year: Establish proposals for the founding of a public sector college to ensure a better quality of entrant into the public service.
- August: Complete a policy on the remuneration, grading, career pathing and salary progression of professionals in the public service.
- November: Draft legislation to create an enabling environment for a single public service.
- A government-wide monitoring and evaluation system.
- Integrate front office (points of service delivery) and back office (information systems) across the public service.
- Integrate the Intergovernmental Relations Bill in all provinces.
- National Security Strategy to be finalised.
- Complete the implementation of the Home Affairs National Identification System.
- The government will establish the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition to respond to skills crisis.
- March: Deploy 3 000 community development workers.
- Eliminate fees for the poorest quintile of the population.
- Launch the National Social Security Agency to take over the social assistance function from provinces.
- Finalise an agreement with the private sector to use the R42-billion set aside for housing.
- Establish alignment between sector education and training authorities, further education and training colleges and higher education institutions.
- Enrol 10 000 people in the National Youth Service Programme.
- Enrol 5 000 volunteers to act as mentors to vulnerable children.
- 2006/07: Eradicate the bucket system.
- 2010: All households will have clean running water.
- 2012: Every household will have electricity.
- Review the willing-buyer, willing-seller policy.
- Regulate conditions under which foreigners buy land.
- Reduce the number of illegal firearms and ensure better processing of firearm licence applications.
- Reduce drug trafficking.
- Build four additional correctional facilities.
- Implement the recommendations of the Jali commission.
- Focus on peace and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo, CÃ´te d’Ivoire and Sudan.