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South Africa: Government releases its Mid Term Review


7th Space

Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System
Jun 1, 2012

Pretoria – Government has officially released its Mid Term Review Report, which provides progress on the implementation of the commitments it has made.

November 2011 marked the mid-point of the 2009-2014 electoral term of the current administration and in line with that, the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation carried out a Mid Term Review of government.

The report was released by Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, in Pretoria, on Friday.

The review focuses on government’s progress against the delivery agreements for the 12 outcomes. The outcomes are focused on national priorities such as education, health, crime and corruption, jobs and rural development.

The Department for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation has been monitoring progress on the implementation of the delivery agreements for the outcomes and reporting quarterly to Cabinet and the President.

Speaking about government’s priority of creating jobs, Chabane said although sufficient jobs were not created to meet the demand, government has made significant advances in the coordination of growth strategies, the New Growth Path and Stakeholder agreements.

“We have made progress with labour absorbing industrial development strategies in manufacturing, mineral products, procurement reform and the Jobs Fund. We have also made progress with improving competitiveness and reducing costs in minerals beneficiation, automotives and clothing.”

According to the report, significant procurement reforms to promote employment were achieved in 2011 with South Africa recording possibly up to 350 000 jobs in the course of the year.
However, the report notes, employment levels were still below those of 2008, before the recession with the current employment ration still well below the modest target of 45% by 2014.

The report notes that the Jobs Fund, announced by President Jacob Zuma last year, had committed only R425 million of its R2 billion budget for 2011/12.

The task of coordinating job creation initiatives across departments has proven to be challenging, resulting in slow implementation of decisions, especially where complex coordination is involved.

The report cites the problem of youth unemployment as among serious challenges facing the country.

“Government is taking a multi-pronged approach to youth employment. In addition to plans to stimulate higher growth that supports more entry-level employment opportunities, the strategy includes improved and affordable education, especially for young people from poor households; expansion in further and higher education and training; improved health care, with targeted programmes on teen pregnancy; early childhood development; and HIV and AIDS and career guidance and counselling,” reads the report.

It said a youth employment incentive, which is currently under discussion at the National Economic Development and Labour Council, had been proposed.

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) was in the process of finalising the National Youth Development Plan and the Integrated Youth Development Strategy for Cabinet, which focus on employment creation and economic participation by the youth. NYDA is said to have helped create 18 048 jobs in 2010/11.

During his State of the Nation Address earlier this year, President Zuma announced that the Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC) had by February this year approved R1.5 billion for 60 companies to promote job creation. This was part of the R10 billion set aside by the IDC for job creation.

With regard to increasing competitiveness, the report points to definite progress in the implementation of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP), and jobs drivers in some sectors, including minerals beneficiation, autos and clothing.

It highlights key developments in green growth through the implementation of a solar water heater programme and through commitments on renewable energy in the independent power producer (IPP) process.

Over 8 500 solar geysers were installed across South Africa during the two-week UN climate summit held in Durban with government targeting one million homes by 2014.

Reported by: South African Government News Service.

Texas oilman is at it again — now with Zuma


Mail&Guardian Online

By STEFAANS BRÜMMER

February 17, 2012

A Nigerian-American oilman, who has become a major backer of President Jacob Zuma, paid R50-million to a wanted Congolese warlord in an illegal gold deal, according to the United Nations.

A UN expert group monitoring compliance with arms sanctions in the Democratic Republic of Congo has identified Kase Lawal, who heads the second-largest black-owned business in the United States, as the financier of the deal. Lawal persisted with the deal even after being told the warlord was the seller, the panel has claimed.

But the transaction imploded last February when security agents in the eastern DRC arrested Lawal’s half-brother and some associates, confiscating the gold they had just bought. Lawal and Camac, the oil and gas group he heads, tried to distance themselves from the events at the time, suggesting it was really one of the associates’ deals.

It was just seven months later, in September last year, that Lawal took pride of place next to Zuma in Houston when Lawal’s alma mater, the Texas Southern University, awarded Zuma an honorary doctorate. Lawal appears to hold some sway at the university — he became its largest alumnus donor in 2009 by pledging $1-million, after which he, too, received an honorary doctorate.

At Zuma’s award ceremony a partnership was announced between Camac and Zuma’s charitable foundation, the Jacob G Zuma RDP Education Trust, in terms of which the company would sponsor beneficiaries of the trust to study at Texas Southern and another Houston university. That, the trust confirmed to the Mail & Guardian, came on top of a five-year, R1-million-a-year Camac endowment to the trust, effective from 2010.

Zuma founded the trust in the 1990s when he was a KwaZulu-Natal MEC. The trust’s website says it is supporting 1 200 young people to get an education…Read more.

Patel outlines new ‘integrity pact’ to screen firms for big-project deals


AScommercialPopNews

February 16, 2012

As the state ramps up its infrastructure spend, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel has insisted on ‘value for money.’

Emboldened by a broadly positive response to infrastructure plans outlined by President Jacob Zuma last week, the government appears to be trying to use the contracts likely to be involved to further bend business and the unions to its “developmental” agenda and its view of how business and labour under a state-led mixed economy should behave.

Yesterday Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said companies wishing to win contracts from the government’s infrastructure development programme would need to sign an “integrity pact” committing them to ethical behaviour, including noncollusion with competitors and competitive pricing.

President Jacob Zuma last week announced an expansion of Transnet’s infrastructure programme to R300bn over seven years. Added to existing plans — which in last year’s budget reached R809bn over three years — and new ones likely to be announced in next week’s budget, the government’s infrastructure spend is set to top R1-trillion.

But, having been burned by cost escalations in previous infrastructure programmes — particularly in the construction of Soccer World Cup stadiums in 2010 — Mr Patel says the government wanted to make sure this time it got “value for money”.

Investigations by the Competition Commission have uncovered “clear and compelling evidence of high levels of collusion ( with public-sector tenders) in construction, which has driven up costs”, Mr Patel told the Cape Town Press Club yesterday.

Speaking in the state of the nation debate in Parliament on Tuesday, Mr Patel said the government would guard against price collusion, corruption and unnecessary industrial action on infrastructure projects.

Our experience in the past showed high levels of collusion between contractors that drove up prices. We faced avoidable industrial action on some of the projects,” he said.

Mr Patel said the government was in discussion with business and organised labour “to address the need for competitive pricing, firm action against public and private sector corruption and co-operative industrial relations”.

In his remarks at the Press Club yesterday, he said he was under no illusion that such a pact would be sufficient to deter anticompetitive behaviour. The Competition Commission would “focus very strongly on the infrastructure programme”, and build on the “very substantial work” done in investigating collusion among construction firms.

The commission is investigating 65 bid-rigging cases in the construction sector with an estimated value of R29 bn.

Mr Patel said since the commission had altered its corporate leniency policy in 2007, awarding parties that are first to come clean, “the risks for private companies in colluding had got much higher”.

He said “clear consequences” would have to apply where contractors failed to deliver. In the inquiry, leniency was granted to Group Five and applications for leniency were made by Murray & Roberts and Grinaker-LTA.

In his state of the nation speech last week Mr Zuma said government procurement processes were being cleaned up by a multi-agency working group led by the Treasury.

This included a review of “the entire system” and “the vetting of supply chain personnel in all … departments”.

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