Government has adopted a number of interventions to improve education, healthcare and the provision of social infrastructure.
The interventions were discussed and adopted at the President’s Coordinating Council meeting which met in Pretoria on Tuesday.
The meeting was co-chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza.
It brought together members of the National Executive, Premiers and provincial Members of Executive Councils (MECs) and the leadership of the South African Local Government Association.
Welcoming delegates to the meeting, President Ramaphosa affirmed the council as the engine for cooperation, collaboration, integration and coordination among the three spheres of government within the framework of a unitary state.
The meeting received reports on the state of health and education in the nine provinces by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, respectively.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize briefed the council on challenges and progress in the provision of social infrastructure.
The council also received a presentation by Acting Minister of Environmental Affairs Derek Hanekom on the #Thuma Mina Green Deeds programme to clean up the country.
Council agrees to hire more staff
On health, the council agreed on an immediate injection of staff to alleviate pressure on overworked staff.
“The council further resolved to prioritise the repair and maintenance of key equipment, and the delegation of decision-making and payments to appropriate levels in areas such as human resource management, finance and supply chain management,” said the Presidency in a statement.
In terms of long-term interventions, the council resolved to improve the performance and quality of health services by revising the health budgets.
School infrastructure prioritised
On education, the council agreed that immediate steps will be taken to ensure that learners are given the necessary facilities.
At nearly 24 000 public schools countrywide, 800 000 pieces of furniture are currently required.
“The council noted that in the medium term, the manufacturing of school furniture could generate jobs for unemployed young people and stimulate economic activity in communities,” said the Presidency.
In light of the spate of violence at schools, the council also undertook to engage further on how the Department of Basic Education and the South African Police Service can collaborate in securing schools.
In the area of social infrastructure, the council noted that significant progress had been made in combating poverty and expanding the social wage in the form of education, health, social grants, public transport and basic services.
However, the council said these gains have been affected by persistently high levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality, and economic growth that averaged 1.6% between 2009 and 2016.
Shortcomings in cooperative governance among the spheres of government were also noted by the council.
Among the shortcomings highlighted were: the failure to prioritise, remain focused and stay the course in implementation, as well as ineffectiveness in implementing interventions in areas that have the potential for high impact.
These areas include broadband rollout, port tariffs, reducing the cost of data, regulating Transnet, Eskom and other administered prices, dealing with corruption, and improving the capacity of local government.
Update of voters’ roll
The council also received a progress report from the Independent Electoral Commission on the harvesting of addresses to update the voters’ roll for the 2019 General Election.
The Commission reported a decrease from 32% to 6% in the number of people on the voters’ roll who were previously unable to provide a street address and suburb name.