Back to top

Opening Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the meeting of the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC), Union Buildings

Deputy President David Mabuza, 
Ministers and Deputy Ministers, 

Representatives of SALGA, 
Directors-General and other officials, 
Good morning, 

Welcome to the first meeting of the President’s Coordinating Council in the Sixth Administration of our democratic government, which was popularly elected in the May 2019 National and Provincial Elections, when this government was given a clear mandate to continue along the path of growth and renewal. 

We are meeting at an important time. It is a time when our economy is facing enormous challenges. 

We will soon finalise the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2019-2024. 

It is nearly one year since the announcement of the Economic Stimulus and Recovery Plan, meaning it is time for us to assess and track its progress. 

It is also three months before we hold the second South Africa Investment Conference, through which we will showcase investment opportunities towards our goal of securing R1.3 trillion over 5 years. 

Finally, this is the first PCC meeting since I announced in the State of the Nation that we are going to radically overhaul our implementation and service delivery model. 

As Ministers, as Premiers, as MECs and as Mayors, it is up to us to give effect to what is already clearly laid out in our Constitution: the need for cooperative, collaborative and coordinated governance. 

There has been extensive diagnosis of why we still have not managed to make a significant dent in poverty, inequality and underdevelopment. 

Monitoring and evaluation has been inconsistent and at times vague, resulting in us having no clear line of sight of what is needed, where it is needed, how it will be done and how much it is costing. 

Programmes and initiatives have in the past been rolled out that are not in sync with government’s overarching strategy, but done on a piecemeal and silo basis. 

We are all aware of the shortcomings of the previous models. 

This is why we have had to change tack – and adopt an approach to development that is more practical, achievable, implementable and measurable. 

An approach that makes monitoring and evaluation easier. 

An approach that is focused and aligned to government’s key priorities. 

The district-driven model is meant to turn plans into action, and ensure proper project management and tracking. 

As senior leaders in government the task before us is to ensure that 
our respective budget priorities for the next five years are aligned with the seven key priorities identified in the State of the Nation Address. 

National departments that have district-level delivery capacity will, together with provinces, have to provide implementation plans that specify exactly where programmes will be located and exactly when they will be implemented. 

The plans each district will develop should focus on the following areas: 

-  managing urbanisation, growth and development, 
-  supporting local economic drivers, 
-  accelerating land release and land development, 
-  investing in infrastructure for integrated human settlements, economic activity and the provision of basic services, 
-  addressing service delivery problems in municipalities. 

We must move with speed to finalise these budgets and programmes, get the necessary district coordination structures in place and attend to the stabilisation of our municipalities. 

We need to build alliances with business, labour and civil society at district and local level so that we can leverage the resources of all social partners to meet developmental needs. 

The Deputy President and I will soon be conducting district visits to get a first-hand sense of existing projects and their potential for being fast-tracked. 

We must in the short term look at how to accelerate initiatives that have already been budgeted for and get down to implementation. 

We will also soon be convening the Khawuleza Forums in districts, which will be the building-blocks and coordination mechanisms for the new model. 

The new District Coordination Model is not something we want to see in the distant future. 

It is an imperative of the here and now, because we are racing against time to improve the lives of our people. 

We have, as I have said, to ‘Khawuleza’. 

But the state is not just a conveyor belt of service delivery; it must play an active role in driving development and opening up the economy. This we can do by focusing on the 7 priorities we have identified as a country. 

We don’t just want our cities to be Mecca’s of economic opportunity, but our towns, villages and townships as well. 

It is in these areas where the unemployed youth of our country live. 

We need to treat youth unemployment as the crisis that it is, and we have therefore developed a multi-pronged approach to bring young people into the world of work in far greater numbers. 

This work, which cuts across all departments and spheres of government and which involves business and development organisations, will be coordinated from the Presidency. 

We are finalising the establishment of a Project Management Office in the Presidency, which will establish a War Room that will coordinate the different interventions. 

We will require all government departments and state institutions, including at the provincial and local levels, to support the mapping of existing youth work-seeker support services, infrastructure and facilities. 

This will be coupled with the development of a forecasting model for jobs and opportunities across different growth sectors, Jobs Summit commitments and government programmes. 

As Premiers have emphasised in their State of the Province Addresses, we must end graft, stimulate industries, develop township economies  and support small businesses. 

We have told the nation that this administration is determined to do things differently. This must not only be at national level but across all spheres of government. 

We have told the nation that gone are the days of communities waiting decades for a clinic or a school, only for it to be built without any consideration of other needs like transportation or safety or water and sanitation in the community where they are located. 

We have declared that this administration will plan differently and will properly. 

The PCC will be indispensable in driving the vision of a more joined up government which gives full meaning to cooperative governance as set out in our constitution. 

It must be more than just a meeting four times a year for the delivery of progress reports. 

It must be vibrant, proactive and forward looking. 

We should not come to the PCC when the problem has already become unmanageable.  

We need to detect problems early and find swift solutions. 

It must be less of a diagnostic forum than a problem-solver and a policy driver. 

It is in the spirit of joined-up government that today’s PCC meeting will also receive briefings on the draft Provincial Growth and Development Strategies to enable us to assess alignment with the National Development Plan, which continues to be our lodestar for development towards a national democratic society. 

When we speak to both local and international investors they cite policy uncertainty as a major obstacle. 

But often the policy exists; it is just not being put into operation. 

We know too well what the opportunity cost has been of delays with policy implementation. 

One need look no further than the Economic Stimulus and Recovery Plan. 

The release of the latest unemployment figures are a sobering reminder of the urgency with which this Plan must be implemented by all government departments. 

Yet there are key aspects of the Plan that have moved very slowly. 

We must operationalise the National Infrastructure Fund housed at the Development Bank of Southern Africa. 

We must revise the visa regulations for highly skilled foreign nationals. 

We must accelerate the work being done to improve the ease of doing business by improving efficiency and reducing the administrative burden on companies. 

We must finalise and publish the Integrated Resource Plan that is so critical to energy security and to attracting greater investment into the sector. 

We must expedite the process of reviewing electricity, port and rail tariffs. 

We must acknowledge the progress that has been made. 

Last week the Department of Home Affairs announced more countries that will receive visa waivers. 

We have issued the policy directive that will guide the licensing of broadband spectrum. 

Trade measures to safeguard key agricultural and other sectors and protect local jobs have been introduced. 

Our plan to revitalise industrial parks is in progress with three new parks launched in the 2019 financial year. 

We have already exceeded the target of filling over 2,000 critical medical posts to address challenges in the health care system. 

I wish to commend those Departments that have made progress, and urge others to do so with the necessary haste. 

The South African public expects us to report back on what we have done, not just to deliberate behind closed doors. 

If, over the next five years, we can drive this district-based approach, if we implement programmes that are responsive to the needs of our communities, we will be all the more closer to meeting the aspirations of the National Development Plan for 2030. 

There is a Chinese proverb: one generation plants the trees, and another gets the shade. 

Let us remember that what we do over the next five years must not be motivated by the need to meet Annual Performance Plan and Performance Agreement targets, but for the sake of this country’s sustainability and for its future. 

Let us assist and support each other, share information and coordinate our efforts in pursuit of economic growth, for service delivery, and to make good on our promises to our people. 

I thank you.