Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on The Presidency Budget Vote 2019/2020, National Assembly on 17 July 2019
Speaker of the National Assembly, Mme Thandi Modise,
Deputy President David Mabuza
Fellow South Africans,
It is my privilege to address you this afternoon to present the budget and priorities of the Presidency.
In the month that we celebrate the life of our nation’s founding father, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, I am humbled by the knowledge that we all stand on his gigantic shoulders as we take forward the work he started of building a South Africa that is democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous.
Indeed we also stand on the broad and strong shoulders of the many other great leaders of the liberation struggle who have left us and those who are still with us.
These are the MPs of the first democratic Parliament and the succession of patriots who have graced this chamber over the past 25 years.
We are grateful for the men and women from across the political divide who laid the foundations for our democratic order.
Their ability to work together showed what heights can be attained when South Africans of different political persuasions, beliefs and ideas come together in pursuit of a common goal.
Nelson Mandela firmly believed that our country’s fortunes depend on the actions of the collective.
“None of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.”
This new administration is committed to maintaining the momentum for a harmonious collective existence and building a social compact amongst various role players in our country to take our country forward.
And so in this Mandela Month, I invite everyone to take a moment to commit themselves to keeping Madiba’s legacy alive in both word and deed. A legacy of humanism, of fellowship, of decency, of partnership and of tolerance.
It is these universal and timeless values that will guide us along the path towards the South Africa we all want.
In the national and provincial elections two months ago the people of South Africa made their voices heard.
From Alexandra to Mdantsane, from Mitchell’s Plain to Tzaneen, from Uitenhage to Nongoma – they were united as never before in articulating what they want.
They simply want a government that works for them and delivers services to them in an efficient and effective manner.
A government that creates opportunities and stimulates employment.
A government that is honest, ethical, free from corruption and that upholds the values of the Constitution.
Above all, they want a government that is acting with haste to improve their condition, and to ensure equal and shared prosperity.
They have told us the time for talking is over, and that we must move apace towards realisation of a better life for all. They said it is time to khawuleza, to hurry up.
The Presidency is the centre of coordination, oversight and supervision across all spheres of government, and supports Deputy President Mabuza and myself in our primary duty to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution of the Republic.
In my State of the Nation I outlined this government’s priorities for the term ahead, as espoused in the governing party’s elections manifesto and in the National Development Plan (NDP).
We are going to promote economic transformation and job creation; improve education, skills and health; provide reliable and quality basic services; improve spatial integration, human settlements and local government; advance social cohesion and have safer communities, and play our part in the realization of a better Africa and a better world.
To ensure that we realise these aspirations, we need a focused and active Presidency.
The Presidency is required by the Constitution to implement national legislation and coordinate the functions of state departments and administrations.
The Presidency is also required to develop and implement national policy in a coherent and cohesive manner to remove policy uncertainty.
In the past, this envisioned coordination has weakened.
Frequent reshuffles of Ministers and a high turnover of senior managers at both national and provincial government has led to instability, misalignment and confusion.
Public policy must be evidence-based and effectively coordinated. It is for this reason that as the centre of government, we are reconstituting the Policy Unit in the Presidency as the nerve centre of policy coordination.
The new unit will be leading evidence-based policymaking, liaising and operating with think tanks and research institutions and have line of sight on strategic policy interventions.
The Policy Unit has already hit the ground running by working through the Cluster System and intergovernmental structures to ensure alignment of national and provincial priorities.
In this regard, by the end of August we will have provincial Growth and Development Strategies that are fully aligned with the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF).
The passing of the NHI Bill by Cabinet last week is the clearest example of what a focused Presidency can achieve. Minister Mkhize has outlined the plans to table the NHI Bill before Parliament in the coming days.
The establishment of the NHI War Room in the Presidency has enabled us to get more traction and moving the NHI forward including getting the bill processed.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We come from a past where the horizons and prospects of the young people of this country were pre-determined on the basis of the colour of their skin.
The children of a privileged minority had access to education, opportunity and finances, but the children of the majority were only deemed worthy of Bantu Education – and deliberately kept from what was called the green pastures of European education.
Despite us having made great strides in the past 25 years to uplift the prospects of our youth, we still grapple with this legacy today.
Young people comprise more than 63% of the ranks of the unemployed, a devastating indictment for any country.
A number of them have succumbed to drugs, crime and other social ills as a result of frustration arising out of poverty and structural unemployment.
It is difficult to imagine the despondency that comes with looking for a job daily without success, to such an extent that you become so discouraged that you give up searching.
It is even more difficult to imagine the condition of a young graduate who sends out their CV daily, but receives one rejection letter after another, the reason given that they lack formal experience. You lose morale, and you become discouraged.
Many more struggle to enter the world of self-employment by running their own enterprises because business development and small business support programmes have limited reach.
Our youth need a hand-up in order to help them realise economic freedom in their lifetime.
Even in a weakened economy, we have to address and remedy the condition of youth who are not in education, employment or training – we simply cannot afford to not do so.
In promoting youth employment in a focused manner, we will be bringing the weight of the Presidency behind the efforts of national and provincial departments, local government as well as business. We will be doing so in a manner that is both focused and practical.
We have a coordinated plan that will be rolled out across government with private sector partnerships.
It is holistic because it incorporates the provision of workplace opportunities, the SETA’s, as well as the Jobs Fund.
It is inclusive because it involves working with our institutions of higher learning such as our TVETS, universities and colleges – and this by necessity includes a prioritisation of critical skills training.
In doing so we are creating pathways not just for young people to obtain gainful employment in the formal economy, but to enable them to be self-employed as well.
We want to see young people trained as language interpreters so that when a million Chinese tourists land on our shores, they can have guides who speech their language.
As the middle class buy consumer goods online, it must be our young people driving those delivery fans and motorbikes to make deliveries.
We must keep young people at school, and to succeed in their studies.
The Presidency’s efforts will complement the work of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
It has provided start-up financing to more than 6 000 youth-led businesses, and helped create more than 18 000 new jobs. Close to 400 000 young people have received training in various spheres. This is sterling work and the NYDA deserves our congratulations.
The agency is also working with partners in the private sector to link young entrepreneurs with markets through supplier development programmes, and revitalising the National Youth Service Programme which will now be taken on a major scale by government.
The NYDA can and should do more. Hence we will, in the coming years, bring them closer to government and increase their budget allocations.
As a country that must take full advantage of our substantial youth dividend, we need all social partners on board to support and complement government’s efforts.
The Youth Employment Service (YES) has been hugely successful in bridging the divide between education and entry into the formal workplace. Other initiatives such as the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, and the Gauteng Provincial Government’s Tsepo 1 Million Programme.
It is these kind of initiatives we want to build upon, and to replicate.
The private sector has a critical role to play in facilitating this process, and most importantly, by following government’s lead and doing away with the onerous barrier of work experience.
More advantage should also be taken of the Employee Tax Incentive that is a win-win situation for both employers and young applicants.
For the effective implementation of our seven priorities, the structures of government will need to function with maximum coordination and cooperation as it is envisaged in our Constitution.
The truth is that lack of coordination between national and provincial governments, between departments and particularly at local government level, has not served us.
We have slid into a pattern of operating in silos.
This has led to lack of coherence in planning and implementation, and has made monitoring and oversight of government’s programme difficult.
It has become a significant deterrent to investment as businesspeople have had to move from pillar to post in search of support and services in what are essentially the same sectors.
One example of what can go wrong when departments work in silos was the implementation of visa regulations that had unintended consequences on tourism.
It also had the unintended consequence of stunting our ability to attract highly skilled individuals and investors whilst the boarders remained porous which lowly skilled and poor people came into the country in numbers.
We have had outstanding government coordination successes as we did through projects like the 2010 FIFA World Cup – where we saw positive results due to joint planning and proper coordination across departments.
The One Environment System for Mining and the InvestSA One Stop Shop concepts are other examples of the way in which greater alignment has resulted when we move away from a silo mentality.
As a country that is on a mission to attract greater investment, and to improve our global ranking as a country of ease of doing business, we are systematically transforming the landscape.
We will also be enhancing greater coordination through the cluster system in government where our Ministers and Deputy Ministers will be active participants. Meetings of Ministers and their provincial counterparts will now be more regular and meaningful.
When we plan to bring a million tourists to experience our brilliant hospitality and heritage, the Minister and her provincial counterparts will be able to tell the nation how and where – up to city and small town detail – these tourists will be accommodated.
They will be working with the Police Minister and his provincial counterparts to detail plans to provide security to all these tourists.
We must work for more such integration in other departments, and in this regard the Presidential Coordinating Council will play a key role.
The PCC brings together the President, Premiers, Ministers and representatives of local government (SALGA and Metro Mayors) to plan, coordinate and report on matters concerning service delivery and economic development in our provinces and municipalities.
It enables the President to interface with the leadership of provincial and local government, and it is here that we are able to get a clear picture on issues of implementation, but also of the state of municipal finances and expenditure.
Manje isikhathi sokuthi sisebenze ngenye indlela. We must do things differently.
This administration will be refocusing the agenda of the PCC in order to sharpen and strengthen cooperative governance and to implement a well-coordinated and coherent national programme of action.
We will be increasing focus into more cross-cutting matters like local economic development so that various spheres and departments of state can account for how they are jointly creating jobs and addressing service delivery for our people at local level.
From time to time, we will involve all District Mayors on the PCC, and not just Metro Mayors.
I am immensely encouraged that in their State of the Province Addresses, many of our Premiers indicated that they are strengthening their own coordinating mechanisms, with districts and local municipalities now occupying the centre.
Even more encouraging are plans by national and provincial clusters to plan jointly and coordinate their programmes.
That is what our people deserve, a well-oiled machinery of government where the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.
Training and leadership development will be at the core of this new way of doing business. Our civil servants must be like pilots who are required to return to the simulator every year in order to master the art of flying in changing weather circumstances.
Policy development and implementation is getting complex every day as technology and the people’s needs change. Government must be dynamic and in fact be ahead of the curve in terms of innovating solutions to the challenges of policy implementation.
In this regard, and as part of strengthening the state’s capacity, the ongoing National Macro Organisation of Government (NMOG) project will go a long way towards streamlining the functioning of government. We have reduced government departments with a view to making them more efficient and effective.
The top down approach is outdated and wholly out of step with the realities we face: namely undoing a legacy of skewed development that is not decades but centuries old.
A modern state is not just a conveyor belt of service delivery, it has to project into the future in terms of how it rolls out development.
In the past we have parachuted development into communities.
An example is that we build a clinic in a village, without consideration given to other attendant needs such as transportation, accommodation for healthcare workers, or even economic opportunities for entrepreneurs or small businesses around that same clinic.
At the heart of most service delivery protests is fragmented planning on our part as well as poor communication.
If we are to deliver on our electoral mandate, we have to take development to the people: to where they study, where they work, and where they live.
If we are to create economic opportunity and bring development to the people, we have to tailor our efforts to the conditions and circumstances of Mbombela, of Mafikeng of Umthatha and Atlantis.
We are going to move away from the distant state and return to participatory democracy at all levels.
As the sixth administration, we are going to do away with this fragmented approach to development.
Considering the successes we have already achieved in doing so on a smaller scale, we will be rolling out a new integrated district based approach to addressing our service delivery challenges.
This means targeted development – development that localises procurement and job creation, that promotes and supports local businesses, and that involves communities instead of foisting it on them.
National departments that have district-level delivery capacity together with the provinces will be required to provide implementation plans in line with priorities identified in the State of the Nation address.
These plans must be spatially referenced to indicate what projects will be implemented in which districts, why, how and by when.
We would also want to know, based on the needs of the community, in which district ordinary high schools need to be converted into technical high schools, as part of giving opportunities to young people.
Resource capacity and constraints will be addressed, and implementation teams will be identified.
In time to come, special Khawuleza Provincial Coordination Forums will be set up for the purposes of oversight and implementation monitoring. Through the programme of izimbizo the President and Deputy President will participate in these forums.
The Deputy President will coordinate the institutionalisation and replication of this integrated implementation model.
This centred planning and execution model must fully involve all social partners.
We cannot plan a factory in a district without involving Eskom that must provide electricity, or financing organisations, or vocational training colleges that train workers to be competent to operate that same factory.
That is why we will be emphasising the need to build and strengthen alliances with social partners like churches, traditional leaders and civic organisations in pursuit of a common objective.
By focusing on implementation at a district level, we will also have a clearer line of sight to what we need to do to remedy failures at a local government level.
This approach will underpin the work that Minister Dlamini Zuma will be doing in her portfolio as Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
Local government is the engine room of service delivery and the incubator of investment, and plays a critical role in determining land use for development.
When an automotive manufacturer or a soft drinks company sets up shop here, they don’t do so on the lawns of the Union Building – they go to our provinces and municipalities.
When our municipalities are dysfunctional it doesn’t just negatively impact our citizens, it deters investment.
Because implementation will be tracked more closely under this new integrated district-based system, we will be able to pinpoint with precision our level of intervention to make local government more effective.
Decentralised and people-centred development fulfils two critical imperatives.
Firstly, it gives effect to the constitutional imperative of cooperative governance. Minister Dlamini Zuma has elaborated on this in her Budget Vote speech. She has told us that had we worked closer, together, the challenges we have seen in provinces like the North West could have been avoided.
Secondly, using the district as a unit of development will go a long way toward transforming the apartheid spatial economy.
It represents a new area of inter-governmental relations – and regardless of how far apart we stand in the political divide, it is in our collective interest that we support this vision.
As I have stated above, we have seen at a national level what the benefits are of a more integrated and joined up government.
The New Dawn requires that we implement more of such interventions in order to improve our performance as government. Where there is best practice in other spheres, we will benefit from them, identify and replicate them.
We must be a learning government, a machinery that learns from it mistakes and take decisive steps to correct the situation.
We are a government led by a progressive movement that has over the past 25 years dedicated itself to deepening democracy, to uplifting the condition of our people, and to being of service to them.
It was the guiding mission of this country’s founding fathers, and it is ours too.
The Executive of the Sixth Administration will speak with one voice. It will not pursue pet projects that are disjointed and misaligned with national priorities.
It will epitomise a caring state that is prudent with public finances and that derives its respect from masses through hard work and not outward shows of excess like bling and blue lights.
This administration will be accountable to the people of South Africa. Ministers will have to answer questions in Parliament, and participate in portfolio committees.
Our Deputy President in his capacity as leader of government business will continue to report regularly to Cabinet on these matters.
As I have said in the State of the Nation Address, I will be signing performance agreements with Ministers and Deputy Ministers – who will be delegated clear and meaningful programmes to lead.
We expect to finalise these performance agreements by the first week of September when the MTSF, with clear deliverables for each department, is approved by Cabinet.
Fellow South Africans,
In the State of the Nation I said that concern for the state of the economy was one that rose above all others and that impacts us all.
The Ministers in the economic cluster have already elaborated on urgent steps to be taken to refuel the engine room of the economy, from growing small businesses, to attracting higher tourism numbers, to the potential of recent offshore oil and gas discoveries, to the reimagined industrial strategy.
Minister Patel in his Budget Vote elaborated on Reimagining our Industrial Strategy. We have a framework in place and expect Master Plans for each of the identified sectors before we host the second Investment Conference in November.
The Presidency will continue to lead the national investment drive, and to meet our goal of raising R1.3 trillion in the next five years. By focusing on specific sectors, this money should be directed to programmes that are viable and that can create jobs.
In preparation for the upcoming second investment conference, our provinces are busy devising provincial investment books to inform the national consolidated pipeline.
In the State of the Nation Address I have already stated our immediate policy milestones aimed at boosting investment. These include:
• An action plan on an effective visa regime for tourism and high skill immigration,
• A policy directive on the release of spectrum,
• An integrated and comprehensive youth employment strategy,
• A national action plan to tackle extortion and violence at economic sites, especially in the construction sector,
• Finalising the Integrated Resource Plan,
• Launching the Township Entrepreneurship Fund.
• Stabilising Eskom and detailing a roadmap for the entity’s future,
• Presenting progress on the Public-Private Growth Initiative and the country’s investment pipeline,
• Releasing our approach to land reform informed by the Advisory Panel’s report,
• Developing Re-imagined Industrial Strategy Master Plans in validated priority sectors, and
• Engaging with organised business on the Ease of Doing Business Roadmap.
In the coming weeks we will also give a progress report on the implementation of the stimulus package that we announced last year as we move towards its first anniversary.
Our roadmap to achieve Top 50 status in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index is already being presented to key stakeholders as it seeks to remove the barriers to success for business, including small business.
Infrastructure development remains at the centre of our economic growth efforts, and we will continue with the process of budget reprioritisation in order to revitalise our infrastructure build programme, which is led by Minister De Lille.
I have said before that we are speeding up our agrarian reform programme, including rapid land release for development. The Deputy President is overseeing this work.
In addition our SMME support programme is fully operational and notable progress is being registered.
Fellow South Africans,
Cabinet is concerned at reports of a go-slow a some of our ports, particularly in the Eastern Cape where operations have nearly ground to a halt.
I have directed Ministers Gordhan and Patel to intervene and get our goods to their export destinations urgently. We cannot aim to grow an economy on the basis of exporting value-added products and then fail to meet our obligations to get goods to international markets safely and on time.
We are also concerned about growing reports of planned retrenchments by some of our big firms and we are engaging stakeholders and will be considering all available options to help our firms to retain as many jobs as possible without compromising their viability.
In the international arena, South Africa continues to play its role in advancing a better Africa and a better world.
A week ago, with the signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) the nations of Africa took a decisive step that will deepen the integration of our continent.
Once implemented, Africa will become the world’s largest free trade area; merging 55 countries of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of USD 2, 5 trillion.
This has significant implications for our local industries and businesses to export goods and services into the continent.
As the incoming chair of the African Union, South Africa is proud to have been present at this defining moment in the history of our continent, as we continue to do our part to address and resolve the most critical issues that face humanity today.
We will be championing the agenda of peace and development on the continent both at an AU and SADC level.
We continue to support the people of Lesotho as they move forward with the reforms to which they have committed themselves.
We also support the people of the DRC and of South Sudan as they seek to find solutions to their domestic political challenges.
We are active participants in numerous international forums such as the G20, BRICS and the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
Our membership of the G20 in particular has provided the opportunity for us to place Africa’s development back onto the agenda of the world’s leading global economies.
We continue to advance progressive internationalism on the world stage, cementing partnerships with our partners in the Global North and the Global South.
At the United Nations, where we are currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, we are advocating for greater multilateralism, for a more equitable global order; for a reform of the UN Security Council and we are actively opposing acts of aggression against smaller nations as well as regime change.
As we are doing in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), our modern democratic army stands ready and will continue to participate in peacekeeping efforts where we are called upon to do so, and within our means.
Support for the struggles of nations that still suffer under the yoke of oppression is an integral part of our foreign policy.
We reaffirm our support for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, and for the struggle of the people of the Western Sahara.
In the words of our legendary musician, Jonas Gwangwa: Freedom for some is Freedom for none. It was none other than Nelson Mandela who declared: our freedom will be incomplete until the people of Palestine are free.
On behalf of this government and the people of this government we wish Jonas Gwangwa and our liberation hero Andrew Mlangeni well as they recover from illness.
Over the weekend we received the sad news of the departure of General Ike Maphotho, and offer our condolences to his family. The country also mourns the passing of Mama Nomhle Nkonyeni, an actor of excellence, and an unwavering patriot.
It is our collective sadness as a country to also have learnt of the passing away of Johnny Clegg.
Known to many of us as Juluka, Johnny was one of the early persons in this country to demonstrate the reality of not only social cohesion but cultural integration.
We also join the sporting fraternity in mourning the passing of soccer legend Marc Batchelor and former Springbok James Small.
Ladies and Gentlemen of this House,
We are the heirs of the legacy of Oliver Tambo, Albertina Sisulu and Beyers Naudé.
Though we may differ on political strategy, we share a common goal, to realise the South Africa we want and the South Africa that we deserve to live in.
We are here to work for our people. The endless focus on petty squabbles, on intra-party politics and on political brinkmanship does not serve our people well.
In the spirit of Madiba, I call upon each member of this House to commit themselves to collaboration across the political divide.
Let us recall the African proverb that “when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”
The task before this administration is to restore hope to our people, and to regain their trust.
If we continue with a targeted and district based approach, we will achieve goals this administration has set for itself, we will deliver them on time, and we will achieve them within budget.
We want, indeed we need, a joined-up government, one that works for the people.
As I conclude let me reiterate that the dream of the South Africa we want is shared by all, including our dedicated and ethical public servants.
It is shared by our dedicated police men and women, by our hard-working nurses, doctors and paramedics.
It is shared by our brilliant teachers who produce excellent results in rural and township schools.
To these patriots we say thank you.
You are inheritors of the mantle of people Professor Stan Sangweni who epitomised the values of serving with distinction.
In this Sixth Administration you have the Presidency that cares, that regards you as partners, and that will continue to consult and work with you.
To those who use the public service and our SOE’s to line their pockets, we say goodbye to you; our law-enforcement authorities will accompany you to the dock.
This is a Presidency that is not afraid to act.
This is also a Presidency that is not afraid of ideas; a Presidency that is re-engaging with the intellectual community to harvest ideas that will take our country forward.
Our people’s hopes are high, and their expectations of us even higher.
Let us harness our people’s optimism for the New Dawn and proceed now with its realisation.
We dare not fail our people. We will not fail them.
By saying we must grow this country together, we mean the democratic dividend must be shared by all. This is the South Africa we want; the South Africa spoken of by the legendary Ladysmith Black Mambazo as they narrate the story of one of our best performing state-owned enterprises: “Our story began a long time ago… We have seen the country change… Every day there is something new, something world class… The future is bright here, in South Africa.”
We would now like to commend this Budget Vote of the Presidency to the National Assembly and look forward to a balanced debate with inputs that are worth considering for taking our country forward.
I thank you.