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Address By Minister In The Presidency For Performance Monitoring And Evaluation, Collins Chabane At The Public Sector Excellence Awards Ceremony, Radisson Blu Hotel, Sandton

Collins Chabane, Public Sector Excellence Awards 2010, 18 November 2010

Master of Ceremonies
Ministers and Deputy Ministers present
Director of the Institute for Social Marketing, University of Sterling
Members of the Advisory Board
Special Guest Mama Albertina Sisulu
Distinguished guests

President Jacob Zuma when assuming office on 9 May last year said; (...and I quote) “To achieve all our goals, we must hold ourselves to the highest standards of service, probity and integrity. Together we must build a society that prizes excellence and rewards effort, which shuns laziness and incompetence.”

He further said; “We must build a society that draws on the capabilities, energy and promise of all its people. From this common purpose we must forge a partnership for reconstruction, development and progress.”

It is for this reason that we did not hesitate nor doubted our commitment and participation in the Public Sector Excellence Awards.

Allow me to congratulate Brand Leadership Academy and its partners for this initiative and let me also out rightly pledge our partnership as the Department for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation as from today.

We are encouraged by this initiative and intend to have discussions with the academy to see what type of partnership we can build.

Master of Ceremonies, we are in the process of building a performance orientated state which should practically turn our promises into action. Our actions should begin to impact directly on what our people are experiencing on daily basis when they come into contact with government.

We are mindful that our people see us as one government which must provide services to them and not as three tiers independent from each other. Their experience at the offices of Home Affairs, SARS, traffic department, hospitals, clinics and where their children go to school for example should be pleasantly memorable. Currently in some of these centers of delivery, these experiences can best be described as draining or stressful.

Our objective is to ensure accountability and efficiency in the services we provide to our people. Each citizen should, at the end of the day, be able to approach any office of government with confidence.

The 10 and 15 year reviews conducted by the Presidency, revealed that massive increases in expenditure on key delivery areas has not translated into outcomes our people want.

Neither has it translated into what we have expected out of our work. There is a lot that needs to be done to turn around the corner, we have begun in earnest and let me assure you that there are some positive signs emerging.

The reviews identified several weaknesses and key among them was poor and disintegrated planning across government and lack of proper monitoring and evaluation systems.

Programmes were allowed to continue without corrective measures and accountability. In response to the review we introduced the Planning and Monitoring and Evaluation functions in The Presidency.

The Planning Commission is in the process of developing a long term plan for the country, which will chart the way forward on what all of us as society must achieve to make the impact our people expect.

As the Department for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, we have introduced a policy and system for performance monitoring and evaluation. The system is designed to give government strategic focus on what is important that needs to be achieved to make the right impact on the lives of all our people.

The system is also designed to ensure accountability at all levels of government and encourage citizen activism in improving their lives. Citizens have a right to demand proper care and service from government they have voted into office. The 11,6 million South Africans who voted for the ANC, based on the programme put before them, demand change. The dreams and hopes of all the people of our country must be fulfilled.

The work of government is now measured according to twelve outcomes with measurable outputs and targets. The outcomes, derived from the five priorities identified in the manifesto of the ruling party and the Medium Term Strategic Framework have since occupied the government agenda. This is to ensure that government is efficient and effective in the delivery of services to our people.

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been a long and a tough journey. The system we have introduced has no precedence anywhere in the world. Many countries and multilateral institutions like the World Bank, have said they are waiting to see how we are going to implement so they could learn from us.

The President has led from the front by introducing a system of accountability among his ministers. He introduced performance agreements which he signed in April, to give Ministers a blueprint of what is expected of them and results he would want to see. I can assure you that these agreements are results orientated and have put pressure on us to deliver than leave that to the public service.

To ensure alignment with the public service, the contents of these agreements will also be reflected in the performance agreements of Director Generals. This is to ensure that all of us remain accountable to what we have committed to deliver on and what the President expects from us.

We have just concluded a very exciting programme of delivery agreements for each of the outcomes, which have been put together in consultation with several stakeholders in and outside government putting into action the partnership we have been talking about. This partnership will also force us to work together in the implementation of our priorities.

These delivery agreements are now public documents which can be found on the Presidency and government websites. These should encourage citizen activism to monitor progress and hold government accountable to its promises.

We will conduct monitoring and evaluation of these commitments and produce reports which will be made public. These reports will also enable the President in his quarterly interaction with ministers to monitor progress and unlock any bottlenecks which may exist.

As with any performance management system the system must be able to effectively monitor, take corrective actions where required and provide rewards for excellence. The Brand Leadership Academy initiative is the beginning of a process of identifying weaknesses and rewarding excellence but of utmost importance, the research begins to help us to understand what citizens expect and where are the pressure points.

This independent assessment of how South Africans evaluate the performance of the public sector measures awareness, association, communication, leadership, effectiveness and citizen engagement among others and will positively contribute to our initiative.

We are working with National Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration to develop a performance assessment tool to enable objective performance assessments of individual departments and municipalities. This initiative has just been approved by Cabinet for implementation as a pilot in The Presidency, Health Department, National Treasury and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

The performance assessment tool will include an assessment of the departments performance against their strategic plans as well as an assessment of the quality of the department’s operational management practices. It also includes governance processes, supply chain management, financial management, human resource management and development, organisational design, programme and project management, communication and stakeholder management, and risk management.

The process will begin immediately and will require intelligence from initiatives like the one we are witnessing today. We believe that with initiatives such as these, we will be able to focus on what matters most which is impact of our work in the lives of all South Africans.

We note that there are excellent departments which have excelled over the years and have managed to live by the principles of Batho Pele and citizen care. There is no reason why their best practices cannot be replicated in other departments particularly those that render services directly to citizens.

All these initiatives we believe will begin to build confidence of citizens in the system of governance and the state. As the President has consistently said, we are building a performance orientated state which must prioritise citizens.

We are of the firm view that we are on the right track.

Master of Ceremonies, I am told that the for the first time this year the academy has resolved to introduce the Public Sector Excellence Lifetime Achievement for Distinguished Public Service Award. This award honours the lifetime accomplishments and contributions of leading citizens dedicated to improving the lives of South Africans and creating a better country. I am also humbled that I will be the first person to present this inaugural prestigious award to one of our distinguished citizens; Mama Albertina Sisulu.

I want to applaud the advisory committee which has in its wisdom decided to present this award to this remarkable hero of our people and in the struggle against apartheid and inequalities in our country. A member of the African National Congress, a mother, mentor and a woman of substance we have leant to appreciate over the years. Mama congratulations on your achievement and your 92nd birthday last month. I hope that young people of today will walk your footsteps and help build a better country for generations to come as you did.

I wish to congratulate all of the winners and may you move from being good to being the best in what you do. The citizens of this country deserve the best of services, their voices are very loud and it is upon all of us to respond positively. To those who did not win, let this be an encouragement for you to improve and be the winner next year.

I also want to thank the sponsors who have made this possible and probably encourage you to invest more in initiatives that help make our country better.

I thank you.

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