We now come to the second part of our engagement, which is an integral part of our engagement today.
Shortly, we will together sign with the Members of the Provincial Executive Council, what we call Service Delivery Agreements. The service delivery agreements fulfil one of the key commitments arising from the Manifesto of the ruling party the ANC, which has since been translated into a programme of action. This is an undertaking to “strengthen state capacity and enhance accountability to the citizens”.
These Service Delivery Agreements by the Executive Authorities of departments (MECs), are a statement of commitment to a performance-driven state that meets its service delivery targets and be accountable to the people. The performance of the state is one of the key priorities of this administration. We believe that in many instances, it is not the bigger issues of budgetary constraints or the politics of the economy that is a source of service delivery discontent among the citizens, but it is in many instances the culture, values and ethos of service and performance.
Since 1994, we have seen the extension of universal access to basic services such as water, electricity, education, housing and social security. In the final analysis, an ever-increasing majority of our people has been able to raise their children in conditions that are infinitely better, healthier, more secure and having better economic opportunities than ever before.
A country is said to be experiencing progress when generations build on the victories of the predecessors, and from these, are able to build new legacies for the future of the country.
Yet, Ladies and Gentlemen, despite this dramatic expansion, access to quality services remains uneven. These disparities arise from the intractable apartheid spatial and governance systems and are compounded by our own institutional weaknesses at provincial and municipal level.
The analysis by the National Development Plan (NDP) is clear, and points to unevenness in capacity as a key factor, leading to uneven performance in the public service. The NDP says that “uneven performance is a result of a range of factors which may include tensions in the political administrative interface, instability in administrative leadership, skills deficits and insufficient skills production inside the state, weaknesses in organisational design and improper management of staff.”
Other important factors include the “lack of a culture of continuous improvement, insufficient attention to operational management, and a lack of accountability and consequence management”. In the end, these are just some of the many factors that work against the successful development of a capable and developmental state, which is necessary to drive development and transformation in our province