Government means business on performance

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cape Town - The Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation has unveiled 12 performance outcomes and measurable targets a day after President Jacob Zuma announced in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) that government departments' performance will be monitored.

"The work of departments will be measured by outcomes developed through our performance and evaluation system.

"The ministers who are responsible for a particular outcome, will sign a detailed Delivery Agreement with the President," Zuma said in his SONA on Thursday.

Minister Collins Chabane said these performance measures will focus on education, rural development, health and local government among others.

Chabane said the expected outcomes were approved at the recent Cabinet Lekgotla and that all ministers were expected to implement them in order for government to achieve its delivery needs.

Ministers will have to produce bi-monthly progress reports to President Jacob Zuma on how they were achieving their goals.

Chabane said all schools will have to agree on measurable and non-negotiable outputs and activities that will have to be achieved each financial year.

These include: focus on high quality teaching and learning and improved literacy and numeracy at schools. To achieve this, the minister said more resources would need to be channeled towards teacher training.

Government will conduct curriculum coverage assessment at least once a year. "We would like to ensure higher quality teaching, demonstrated by tests of content knowledge, curriculum coverage and enhance pedagogy," said Chabane.

Zuma in his SONA spoke of the plans for independently moderated numeracy tests for Grade 3, 6 and 9 as an attempt to track progress of all learners in the schooling system.

Asked if the new measures would be supported by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's budget presentation next week, Chabane said: "There is definitely going to be a shift in the budget to support the work we are doing."

On economy, Chabane said the goal would be to increase income and employment on an individual level and to promote equality and economic growth. "This can be brought about through a focus on improving income levels, labour absorption, improving quality and GDP (gross domestic product) growth.

He said while the monitoring and evaluation system will not be based on punitive measures, it was expected that those entrusted with providing services do deliver on their mandates.

The recent developments, he said, that led to a wave of service delivery protests necessitated a comprehensive plan to turn around local government. "We want to build a responsive, accountable effective and efficient local government system".

A different approach to municipalities was needed and urgent steps must be taken to address basic infrastructure and services backlog, low levels of governance and accountability.

Chabane said work was underway to developing intergovernmental agreements on the scope of services to develop and implement a different approach to municipal financing and support.

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