Govt proposes delivery unit

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cape Town - Government wants to create a delivery unit that would respond directly to specific service delivery challenges.

Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane tabled the Green Paper on Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in Parliament on Tuesday which proposes the creation of such a unit. The paper outlines the mandate of the Ministry and how it will carry out its function.

Minister Chabane told Members of Parliament (MPs) that the unit was envisaged to partner with appropriate delivery institutions in working towards a turn-around strategy.

He said the delivery unit would consist of a small team of experienced officials who can facilitate change at national, provincial or local level.

"More importantly, its interventions would create models for improving delivery that can be followed by others," he said.

It will analyse failures in delivery and lessons from successes. In partnership with all relevant role players, the unit will identify areas where it will partner with the political head and officials to drive change that can see improved delivery.

"We would like to emphasise that our approach is not to police anyone but to work together to find solutions and identify problems on time without waiting for Auditor General reports.

"We will collectively introduce an agreed upon set of interventions to assist in areas which have been collectively identified," Minister Chabane said.

He emphasised that such a unit will not guarantee responsibility of what needs to be done but rather to facilitate delivery.

"We recognise that this approach will require principled and firm leadership, making tough choices and holding people accountable for delivery," he said.

He added that government remained firm in its commitment to improve the quality of life of all the people, especially the poor.

Minister Chabane told MPs that in the next few months they will be presented with a set of outcomes that would have been approved by Cabinet for the whole of government.

"These outcomes will also include clear strategies on how we will achieve the goals we set for ourselves. I will ask Parliament to apply its mind in assisting the Executive to make sure that we spend the public funds entrusted to us in ways that promote clear and directed outcomes we need to develop this country," he said.

The public is invited to make submissions on the two green papers, one by Minister Chabane and the other tabled by Minister for National Panning Trevor Manuel.

Minister Manuel explained that his ministry's Green Paper on National Strategic Planning, sets out the rationale for planning and the institutional structures, processes and outputs of the national planning process.

"The Green Paper is not a plan for the country. It must be seen as the nuts and bolts - the how part of developing a plan or plans," he said.

Minister Manuel said it was critical to understand that the outputs of the planning function were not just a single document in the form of a national plan, but a variety of products ranging from annual programmes of action and a medium-term strategic framework.

"We should also emphasise at the outset that the planning function is not conceptualised as a bookish and pedantic process - with bespectacled men and women poring over tomes and computer screens in their offices - to emerge, abracadabra, with eureka moments about solutions to problems our country faces," he quipped.

The development of a long-term national plan and better strategic planning would help align government's efforts towards achieving the type of society that all desire for the future.

"This Green Paper is an attempt to open up the discussion on the institutional arrangements - that how and what - of national strategic planning.

"We urge all South Africans to become part of the process of debate and engagement on this important initiative. We look forward to Parliament's leadership role in structuring such an engagement," Minister Manuel said.