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President’s Coordinating Council endorses action in Education, Health and Infrastructure

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Government at the national and provincial level has prioritised a set of interventions to improve education, health and the provision of social infrastructure, supported by measures to enhance human resource and financial management.
This was agreed at a special meeting in Pretoria today of the President’s Coordinating Council which was co-chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza and brought together members of the National Executive, Premiers and provincial Members of Executive Councils (MECs) for Health and Education, MECs for Local Government and the leadership of the South African Local Government Association.
Welcoming delegates to the meeting, President Ramaphosa affirmed the Council as the engine for cooperation, collaboration, integration and coordination among the three spheres of government within the framework of a unitary state.
The meeting received reports on the state of health and education in the nine provinces by Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi and Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga respectively. Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Zweli Mkhize briefed the Council on challenges and progress in the provision of social infrastructure.
The Council also received a presentation by Acting Minister of Environmental Affairs Derek Hanekom on the #Thuma Mina Green Deeds programme to clean up and beautify the country.
On health, the Council agreed on an immediate injection of staff that will alleviate pressure on overworked staff and the risks of medico-legal litigation while ensuring the purchase of linen, beds, emergency trolleys and other equipment will improve the quality of care.
The Council further resolved to prioritise the repair and maintenance of key equipment, and the delegation of decision-making and payments to appropriate levels in areas such as human resource management, finance and supply chain management.
Long-term interventions in improving the performance and quality of health services will include the recalibration of health budgets.
On education, the Council noted challenges including budget limitations, staffing levels, teacher development, infrastructure development, the provision of psychosocial services to learners, backlogs in the provision of furniture, and the incidence of crime in schools.
The Council agreed that in an area such as the provision of furniture – where 800 000 pieces of furniture are currently required at nearly 24 000 public schools countrywide – immediate steps will be taken to ensure that learners’ rights are given the necessary facilities. The Council noted that in the medium term, the manufacturing of school furniture could generate jobs for unemployed young people and stimulate economic activity in communities.
The Council also undertook to engage further on how the Department of Basic Education and the South African Police Service can collaborate in securing schools where learners and teachers are threatened by violence and other crimes.
In the area of social infrastructure, the Council noted that significant progress had been made in combating poverty and expanding the social wage in the form of education, health, social grants, public transport and basic services. However, these gains have been affected by persistently high levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality, and economic growth that averaged 1,6% between 2009 and 2016.
The Council noted shortcomings in cooperative governance among the spheres of government; failure to prioritise, remain focused and stay the course in implementation, as well as inertia and ineffectiveness in implementing interventions in areas that have the potential for high impact. These areas include broadband rollout, port tariffs, reducing the cost of data, regulating Transnet, Eskom and other administered prices, dealing with corruption, and improving the capacity of local government.
The Council endorsed the #Thuma Mina Green Deeds programme – accompanied by a national communications campaign - which is to be led by the Department of Environmental Affairs and will form part of the Operation Phakisa: Chemicals and Waste Economy. The aim is to create a South Africa that is clean of litter and illegal dumping.
While #Thuma Mina Green Deeds will generate new economic activity and create jobs, the programme will rely fundamentally on changes in the behaviour of communities and business that will enable a cleaner environment and ecologically sustainable ways of living and doing business.
The Council also received a progress report from the Independent Electoral Commission on the assignment and harvesting of addresses to update the voters’ roll for the 2019 general election.
The Commission reported a decrease from 32% to 6% in the number of people on the voters’ roll who were previously unable to provide a house, number street address and suburb name.
Media enquiries: Khusela Diko, Spokesperson on 072 854 5707
Issued by: The Presidency