Hon Deputy Chairperson, Minister and Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration, hon members of the NCOP, premiers of the respective provinces, distinguished guests, I stand here on behalf of the Premier of the Eastern Cape. I would also like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the opportunity to stand here and table the views shared by the premier of the province.
I must say up front, hon Deputy Chairperson, with regard to the earlier discussion honouring the passing of the gallant fighter Mama Albertina Sisulu, who made an immense contribution to the history of this country regarding its liberation, that we definitely as a country owe her and her family, and we must extend our condolences to the family.
The Eastern Cape province remains on course to achieve the goals as set out in the election manifesto of the ruling party, which has been translated into 12 national outcomes. National outcome number 12 talks about an efficient, effective and development-oriented Public Service and empowered citizenship. As a province, we have developed eight provincial priorities, and priority number seven is aligned with national outcome number 12: building a developmental state, improving the Public Service and strengthening democratic institutions.
As we are all aware, as a developmental state we strive to address challenges such as low economic growth, our decaying infrastructure, poverty and unequal development. Obviously, as a province, we are not immune to the challenges that are experienced by other provinces - those of poor service delivery.
The single most obvious challenge confronting the Eastern Cape provincial government is the absence of a uniform Public Service culture, characterised by a focused, committed, capable and strong workforce with a strong service ethos that is in line with the code of conduct and Batho Pele principles. That is why we are looking forward to the single Public Service Bill consultation, which will be taking place this year and next year. We think that it will be helpful to the whole country and, in particular, to the province because the Bill's main objective is the fostering of a common culture across all spheres of government.
The other area of interest for the province will be strategic human resource management and development, which continues to be one of the major challenges for the province. We welcome the guidance and support that the Department of Public Service and Administration provides to provinces in a variety of ways.
The human resource effectiveness assessment tool, whilst not perfect, has alerted the Eastern Cape provincial government to the extent of the challenge we face in this area, and we are positioning ourselves, through focused interventions, to turn the situation around.
As government, in welcoming the anticorruption unit, we have conceded that, amongst other things, our accumulated weaknesses include an inability to deal effectively with new tendencies, such as social distance, patronage, careerism, corruption and abuse of power. We are witnessing how corruption has permeated all sectors of our society. This selfishness derails the government's quest to deliver much-needed services to our people and betrays the vision of our founding forebears of delivering a better life to all through social, economic and political emancipation.
As a province, we have resolved to review our procurement policies in order to promote co-operatives and small, medium and micro enterprises as part of supply-chain management. We had to incur additional costs to put in place mechanisms to deal with corruption in the procurement processes, particularly with respect to conflicts of interest by officials. With the implementation of the mentioned minimum interventions, we are confident as government that these will go a long way in improving the quality of service delivery to South Africans in general and to the people of the Eastern Cape in particular.
In order to strengthen our ability to monitor and direct service delivery effectively, the province is in the process of finalising an integrated monitoring and reporting framework, which will be implemented across the province under the focused eye of the executive council.
We would also like to highlight the challenge of integrated planning, not only within the Eastern Cape, but also in relation to the various players at the national level. In this regard, we would like to work with the Department of Public Service and Administration to strengthen our own relationship and the relationship with the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in order to ensure alignment between the integrated development plans, the 12 outcomes and the provincial programme of action. The issue here is getting the platforms of convergence working.
Lastly, on the issue of wage negotiations, we think that it would serve the country well if all of us who are involved in the negotiations took the time to reflect on our approaches and conduct during this process, in relation to our strategic interests and those of the country. We simply cannot afford strikes year in and year out.
We must also highlight that an area of particular interest in the province is that the Minister, in his Budget Vote speech delivered on 26 May to the National Assembly, indicated that they are not making an allocation to the State Information Technology Agency, Sita, because it is self-sustainable. But we think that it will be important for the Minister and the department to take a closer look at the relations between Sita and the provinces. The sustainability of Sita and how it sustains itself might mean that it is efficient and working effectively, but, on the other hand, there is the possibility that things might not be going right with, in particular, the tariffs that Sita is setting for provinces.
I know for a fact that some of the departments have a problem with how Sita outlines its tariffs in as far as the services that it offers are concerned. We also acknowledge that there will be obligatory ones, mandatory ones and those that are nonmandatory. There is a growing sense of various departments wanting to pull out of relations with Sita. I think that it would be wise for the Minister and the department to take a closer look at this area. Thank you very much. [Applause.]