Government goes for Big, Fast Results

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

By Communications Minister Faith Muthambi

What is South Africa’s approach to bridge the gap between policy and implementation?  The answer to this question became clearer over the past two weeks when the government demonstrated its commitment to move our country forward.

The launch of Operation Phakisa Big Fast Results Implementation Methodology will allow the government to implement policies and programmes better, faster and more effectively. Operation Phakisa, which is modelled on the Malaysian "Big Fast Results" methodology, will fast-track the delivery of priorities outlined in the National Development Plan. The Malaysian Government used it to successfully address its national key priority areas such as poverty, crime and unemployment. This entailed meeting with stakeholders for detailed and practical planning, setting clear targets, tracking of progress and making the results public.

In South Africa Operation Phakisa will initially be implemented in two sectors, namely the ocean economy and health. Speaking at the launch of the Operation Phakisa in Durban on 19 July 2014, President Jacob Zuma stated: “The people of South Africa deserve much better from all of us. Through Operation Phakisa and all our other key strategic interventions to achieve the goals of the National Development Plan, we must work tirelessly to move our country forward and build a better life for all especially the poor and the working class.”

The first phase will focus in unlocking the economic potential of the country’s oceans and will be led by the Department of Environmental Affairs. The ocean has the potential to contribute R177bn to the Gross Domestic Product and create between 800 000 and 1 million jobs in the areas of marine transport and manufacturing, offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture and marine protection services, and governance.

President Zuma emphasised that the ocean economy was chosen because of its untapped potential. “We chose the ocean economy with good reason. South Africa is uniquely bordered by the ocean on three sides - east, south and west. With the inclusion of Prince Edward and Marion Islands in the southern ocean, the coastline is approximately 3 924 km long. This vast ocean space is relatively unexplored in terms of its economic potential. In 2010, the ocean contributed approximately 54 billion rand to South Africa's gross domestic product and accounted for approximately 316 thousand jobs,” said the President.

Work has already begun and teams of experts are busy preparing the ocean plan. “Our teams began working here in Durban on 8 July and will continue working until 15 August 2014, preparing the action plan for unlocking the potential of the country's oceans. We are pleased that over 180 delegates from national government departments, provincial departments, civil society, the private sector, labour and academia are participating in the oceans component of Operation Phakisa,” said President Zuma.

The bold decision by the government to fully implement its plan to make use of its oceans’ potential follows the gazetting of the White Paper on the National Environmental Management of the Ocean (NEMO). The White Paper governs activities and marine stakeholders to ensure optimal and sustainable use of the marine environment. This is in line with the National Development Plan that singles out the ocean economy as one of the key drivers to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030.

The second phase of Operation Phakisa will be launched at a later stage and will be used to improve the quality of service in the public health sector. Key to this approach is the Department of Health’s Ideal Clinic Initiative which is aimed at overhauling the primary healthcare system. This will be achieved through developing a prototype for effectively addressing weaknesses and ensuring sustained improvements in the quality of services.

To achieve this, the government will put a team in place consisting of district and clinic managers throughout the country that will develop a detailed implementation strategy based on Operation Phakisa methodology. This will lead to an improvement in the quality of service at all public sector clinics.

The private sector, civil society, academia and statutory councils are encouraged to play their part and work with the government to ensure the success of every phase of Operation Phakisa.  We are confident that the Operation Phakisa will build on the gains we have made as a country since 1994 and enable us to achieve the targets as set out in the National Development Plan.



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