Zuma: Bureaucracy slows delivery

Poor people without homes have been involved in several service delivery protests across South Africa. (David Harrison, M&G)

Poor people without homes have been involved in several service delivery protests across South Africa. (David Harrison, M&G)

Zuma has reached the halfway mark in his five-year term and has outlined in the report - which expected to be released on May 30 - the progress made on the government’s five key priorities: education, health, job creation, rural development and the fight against crime.

The Mail & Guardian has seen parts of the report.

Zuma told a TNA Media business breakfast meeting in the Free State on Thursday: “What I hate in government is how slowly its wheels turn. Bureaucracy delays delivery,”

He added: “We are proud of the fact that we have done well in just a few years.

“Our government’s progressive pro-poor policies continue to assist in achieving significant reductions in the levels of severe poverty and in the improvement of the quality of life of millions of fellow South Africans.


“Though we may be satisfied with the progress made in a short space of time, we will not be complacent. The unfinished business of economic transformation, accelerating economic growth, creation of decent work and a caring society as well as sustained prosperity for all our people is ongoing work,” he said.

“We developed the new growth path framework to help us tackle some of these challenges. Some aspects of the new growth path such as infrastructure development are a key focus area this year.”

Zuma said that the slow delivery of services infrastructure was of personal concern to him and that he was holding monthly meetings with department heads to keep track of delivery.
 
Soon after he was elected president, Zuma entered into performance agreements with his ministers to fulfil the promises he made during his inaugural speech.

He also created a new ministry of performance monitoring and evaluation under Collins Chabane to check that ministers were meeting the targets set in the state of the nation speeches and the performance agreements they signed in April 2010.
Progress on the five key priorities is outlined below:

Rural development
Zuma committed his administration to addressing land reform through restitution, redistribution and tenure reform when he took office in 2009. But employment in rural areas remains lower than in 2009, with continued job losses in domestic work and agriculture, sectors dominated by the poorest rural households. The midterm review report acknowledges that farmworkers remain among the least secure workers and the worst paid.

The government, however, believes that the introduction of a minimum wage in 2003, which is at present set at R1376 a month, has brought about some improvement in salaries for the underprivileged.  

On agrarian reform the report says 3.9-million hectares of land were redistributed through the land acquisition and redistribution programmes between 1994 and 2011. This is 15.6% of the target of 24.5-million hectares that was envisaged to be in black hands by 2014.

From 2009 to December 2011, 823300 hectares of land were acquired and allocated to 20290 beneficiaries. This is an improvement on previous years and indicates that government systems are improving, although the government acknowledges that there is still a need to accelerate the land acquisition and redistribution programme.

Job creation
The 2009-2014 job strategy focused on decent employment through inclusive growth. The government committed itself to job creation and, in particular, to address the problem of unemployment among young people.

Youth unemployment took centre stage this week after the Democratic Alliance and the ANC’s alliance partner Cosatu clashed over the proposed youth wage subsidy.
 
Zuma said on Thursday he believed in a multipronged strategy for youth employment that would include the youth wage subsidy, which is currently under discussion at the National Economic Development and Labour Council.

According to the mid-term review, the NYDA helped to create 180048 jobs in 2011, but Zuma acknow-ledged that this was not enough and said broader strategies were needed.
 
Education
The government has made enormous policy strides since 1994 but problems remain in local and regional implementation, according to the mid-term review report.

Zuma has recognised that poverty is the biggest predictor of pupil performance in schools. However, according to the report, factors such as weak school management, low teacher knowledge, low levels of accountability and limited availability of resources also affected the way schools performed.

Progress has been made towards the establishment of two universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape. The report states that the university in Mpumalanga will accommodate about 15000 students within the next 10 years and the university in the Northern Cape will accommodate 5 000 students.

Economic infrastructure
In 2009 Zuma identified five major geographically focused programmes: health, basic education, information and communication technologies and regional integration.

Some of the infrastructure projects include roads, railways and ports.

The mid-term review report says, “Available funding will be prioritised towards these integrated projects, and initiatives to unlock more funding will be pursued by addressing inefficiencies in state expenditure, sector regulation and pricing, as well as facilitating private sector participation and investment in state-dominated sectors.

“Greater central government scrutiny, involvement and assistance will have to be rendered to ensure that subnational government facilitates and delivers on integrated projects.”

Health
When Zuma took over in 2009 problems in the health sector included high rates of maternal and child mortality, HIV and Aids, and tuberculosis, as well as high levels of noncommunicable diseases such as heart problems and diabetes. Injury and violence were also problems.

There was a shortage of 80000 health professionals and a lack of co-ordination and integration between the public and private health sectors.
 
Since the appointment of Aaron Motsoaledi as health minister in 2009 there has been a downward trend in the rate of new HIV infections, a reduction in the mother-to-child transmission rate from 3.5% in 2010 to less than 2%, and an increase in the number of patients on antiretroviral therapy from 1.1-million in 2009 to 2.5-million. There has also been an improvement in the TB cure rate to 85%.

Crime
Zuma congratulated the police in the fight against crime but said he continued to be worried about crimes against children.

“The improvement in the detection rates and arrest rates for crimes acts as a powerful deterrent and helps us to reduce the crime levels in our country,” he told the breakfast meeting on Thursday.

“We are also impressed with the progress made by the courts. An average of 1687 courts function daily in South Africa. The case finalisation rate is constantly being improved.  There has been an increase in conviction rates at the high courts, regional courts and district courts.”

Charles Molele

Charles Molele

Charles Molele is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian. Charles joined the paper in 2011. He has covered general news, court and politics for the past 19 years, and also worked as a senior reporter for the Saturday Star, Sunday World, ThisDay, Sunday Times and is former politics editor of the New Age. Charles's other career highlights include covering Kenya's violent general elections (2007/08), Zimbabwe’s sham general elections (2008), Mozambique's food riots (2010) and the historic re-election of US President Barack Obama (2012). Read more from Charles Molele

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