Category: 2020 Articles

AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE REFUTES DA STATEMENT MISREPRESENTING COMMITTEE DELIBERATIONS

11 August 2020

Embargo: For Immediate Release

Attention: News/Assignment Editors, Political Reporters, Reporters

From: KZN Legislature Communications Unit

RE: AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE REFUTES DA STATEMENT MISREPRESENTING COMMITTEE DELIBERATIONS

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development Honourable Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha has learnt with shock and dismay about the sensational statement issued by the Democratic Alliance’s committee member Honourable Chris Pappas.

Committee members were shocked that Hon Pappas had released a statement even before the committee could take resolutions on the matter.

Earlier today Agriculture and Rural Development Portfolio Committee held a joint meeting with Community Safety Portfolio Committee to receive a report from the South African Police Services’ Rural Safety Strategy.

Department of Community Safety was led by MEC Bheki Ntuli accompanied by SAPS’ General Jula and Brigadier Kheswa. Both the department and SAPS explained in detail challenges facing rural communities including farm labour tenants and both black and white farmers.

The meeting was convened by Honourable Sibhidla-Saphetha in her capacity as the Chairperson of Agriculture and Rural Development and Honourable Mthethwa who is the Chairperson of Community Safety Portfolio Committee. Mthethwa was unable to attend because of other commitments but Members of the Community Safety Portfolio Committee were in attendance.

The Committee has resolved to institute an investigation into the conduct of Honourable Pappas for violating the Legislature’s standing Rules.

Rule 153 clearly states that only the Chairperson of a committee may make media statement and broadcast or internet and other electronic publications on behalf of a committee.

The Rule further adds that Media Statements, broadcasts, internet or other electronic publications, whether made by the Chairperson pursuant to sub-rule(1) or by individual Members may not:

i) Misrepresent any proceedings or reports of a committee or any documents, evidence, submissions or information before a committee or the views of other Members; or

ii) Purport to represent the views or a report of a committee where it does not.

Committee Members were shocked at Pappas’ misrepresentations of the committee deliberations including his assertion that “the DA is pleased to have the support of the SAPS in its campaign to declare farm murders a hate crime”.

The committee has resolved to investigate the contents of Pappas’ statement and take appropriate action. Once the committee has taken resolutions on this matter it will make these available to the public.

Ends

Issued by the Chairperson of the KZN Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development Hon NN Sibhidla-Saphetha Cell No: 0833013622 or Mr Wonder Hlongwa at 0829083532.

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STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

MEDIA STATEMENT

07 JULY 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE IN THE KWAZULU-NATAL LEGISLATURE– HONORABLE NJABULO RICARDO MTHEMBU

The KwaZulu-Natal Legislature mourns the passing of the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Portfolio Committee Chairperson; Honorable Njabulo Ricardo Mthembu. Honorable Mthembu joined the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature after the 2019 National and Provincial Government Elections. The news of Honorable Mthembu’s passing has been received with great sadness by the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature.

Paying tribute, Speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, Nontembeko Boyce said we were still expecting a lot from him having served in the local government for 8 years.

“I would like to express our great sadness on behalf of the Legislature. Our sincere and deepest condolences go out to his family, his party the African National Congress, the KZN Legislature Family and the people of KwaZulu-Natal”. Added Boyce

Honorable Mthembu was appointed as Chairperson of the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in 2019 following the National and Provincial elections, He worked tirelessly to ensure accountability of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

“Honorable Mthembu understood the importance of the oversight responsibility on the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Portfolio Committee as a legislator and carried out its responsibilities with dignity”. Said Boyce

He also contributed greatly not only to ensuring that the department fulfils its mandate, but to the efforts to ensure improved delivery of services to communities.

His contribution will be dearly missed by all of us. May his soul rest in internal peace.

ISSUED BY THE KWAZULU-NATAL LEGISLATURE OFFICE OF THE SPEAKER

For more information contact:
Nomusa Phungula
Office of the Speaker Media Liaison
071 851 0085/ 072 294 7237

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HEALTH INSTITUTIONS FUNCTIONALITY MONITORING PROGRAMME


Health Institutions Functionality Monitoring Programme

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SPEAKER’S OPENING REMARKS ON THE 2020 VIRTUAL YOUTH PARLIAMENT PROGRAMME


Speaker’s Opening Remarks On The 2020 Youth Parliament Programme

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YOUTH PARLIAMENT PROGRAMME


Youth Parliament Programme

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KZN LEGISLATURE MPLs ASSESS REOPENING OF SCHOOLS AMIDST THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

KZN LEGISLATURE MPLs ASSESS REOPENING OF SCHOOLS AMIDST THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Members of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature this morning are visiting schools throughout the province to assess their state of readiness after more than two months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The visits, which begins today and end on the 11th of June 2020, are part of the legislature’s oversight responsibility.

These visits are taking place for the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the outbreak of the pandemic, teams will be much smaller than in the previous years for the purposes of observing the COVID-19 Regulations which include maintaining social distance during the meetings.

Honourable Members are checking various issues including schools’ readiness and the provision of essentials such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), sanitizers and the new sitting arrangements in the classrooms in line with the Department of Basic Education directive issued before the reopening of the schools.

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KZN LEGISLATURE BUDGET SPEECH – 2020


KZN Legislature Budget Speech – 2020

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OFFICE OF THE PREMIER SPEECH: OTP BUDGET VOTE

BUDGET VOTE 1 BY THE OFFICE OF THE PREMIER DELIVERED BY THE HONOURABLE PREMIER MR SIHLE ZIKALALA, PREMIER OF THE PROVINCE OF KWAZULU-NATAL, 02 MAY 2020

Speaker;
Deputy Speaker;
Members of the Executive Council;
Members of the Provincial Legislature;
Mayors and Councillors;
Amakhosi and Religious Leaders;
Our Director – General and Heads of Departments;
Excellencies Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Distinguished Guests;
Fellow Compatriots;

Sanibonani!! Dumelang! Good Day!

THE BUDGET AND THE OTP PROGRAMMES IN BRIEF

Honourable Speaker,

The programme structure of the Office of the Premier comprises of (i) Administration (ii) Institutional Development and (iii) Policy and Governance.

With your indulgence please allow me to start by reflecting on the context of this budget vote address and particularly its implication for our province at the rather unique time in history.

COVID-19 AND THE RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF KZN

Honourable Speaker,

A three months ago, we delivered the State of the Province Address (SOPA) under the theme, “Together, Creating Our Common Future.”

Only a day later, during the SOPA debate, South Africa reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 of a patient from here in KwaZulu-Natal.

Since this announcement on the 5th of March 2020, our lives have never been the same. And for the first time since 1994, we are delivering the Budget Vote Speech isolated from the warm presence and interaction of Honourable Members of the Legislature and the people of KZN.

On 15 March 2020, His Excellency President Cryil Ramaphosa declared a state of national disaster, in a move that was unprecedented in the history of our country, but that was necessitated by the advent of Covid 19, a virus that was and it is still spreading like wildfire around the world.

On 09 April 2020, two weeks into the national state of disaster, the President announced the extension of the national lockdown till the end of April, and said:

During the course of these last two weeks, your lives have been severely disrupted, you have suffered great hardship and endured much uncertainty. We have closed our borders to the world, our children are not in school, businesses have closed their operations, many have lost their income, and our economy has ground to a halt”.

The President said further that:
After careful consideration of the available evidence, the National Coronavirus Command Council has decided to extend the nation-wide lockdown by a further two weeks beyond the initial 21 days. This means that most of the existing lockdown measures will remain in force until the end of April”.

It is common cause that the lockdown was subsequently extended as part of the national effort to flatten the curve and consequent to that a national adjusted risk strategy was adopted by the National Corona Virus Command Council and is currently being implemented. As the Province of KwaZulu-Natal we established the KZN Provincial Command Council which serves as a war room against the spread of COVID-19 in the Province.

Honourable Chairperson,

During these trying and uncertain times the people of our province and our country have been called upon to make major sacrifices and to transform their behavior in order to combat this new, deadly and invisible threat with no visible end in sight. Through their patriotic actions they have given meaning to the President’s clarion call of working together, making the necessary adjustments to our new normal lifestyles and serving as the first line of defence against the threat of Covid-19.

As we present this budget, we wish to salute in particular the poor and vulnerable of our land, who have answered the call to become combatants in the war against COVID-19. It is them who remain our stars.

We also wish to pay special tribute to all our healthcare workers who risk their lives daily to save their fellow citizens from this pandemic. We salute our entrepreneurs in the first economy and second economy who have taken the blows, shutting shop and losing valuable income all in an effort to avert many deaths and untold destruction.

We pay tribute to all essential service workers who continue to serve our people in healthcare facilities, pharmacies, tuck shops, supermarkets, petrol stations and on our roads. The security forces such as the police, the SANDF and traffic officers have worked hard to ensure peace and stability in our province during this unusual time in our country.

Indeed, the Covid-19 crises has posed questions of all sectors of our society and we are pleased to say that South Africa has proven once more that it is alive with possibility. We have seen individuals, small enterprises, big business, and civil society pulling together and contributing to the well-being of our people and our economy.

We have seen political parties put aside their differences in the interest of the health and safety of our nation.
We have witnessed the incredible commitment of the South African media who have risked their own lives to keep our people informed on the virus.

Overwhelmingly, our men and women in uniform have done a stellar job in enforcing the state of disaster regulations and keeping our public safe. We also thank many of our public service employees who have been working hard and remotely in their homes supporting government’s efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

Every citizen has given up one of their most cherished rights in our law, namely the freedom of movement, staying in their homes in order to isolate the deadly enemy called Covid-19.

After so many have given so much, we are in no position to disappoint the people of this province.

This is the time to work even harder to achieve a South Africa that is truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, equal and prosperous.

We must all stand together and prevent past divisions and the economic fault lines to be the hallmark of our nation.

We have a task to heal the wounds and trauma that has been visited upon our people. We must urgently begin to address the setbacks that ordinary people have come to suffer because of this pandemic.

It cannot be business as usual. This is a historic moment that calls on all patriots to be seized with the question of reconstruction and development post COVID-19.

The world of work has been disrupted and will no longer be the crisis unleashed by this unprecedented heath pandemic, the silver lining is that it has forced us to push our boundary of innovation and excellence. In a short period of time it has catapulted many countries to fast-track the rollout of the internet, to advance e-government, expand digitization and e-learning. No one in KZN must be left behind, and it is our responsibility to ensure that there is a just transition to this new digital world. We are therefore adamant that the post-covid 19 world emerges with a new economic architecture for our province where we will no longer be reliant on foreign supplies. We have to enhance our manufacturing capacity and improve local economy.

It is imperative that every rand we budget must answer the simple question of what impact it will make in reconstruction and development – in creating jobs, in supporting enterprise development, in improving health outcomes, in improving service delivery, and in building social cohesion.

In such an environment, we must all speak with one voice and act decisively against wastage, fraud, corruption, and malfeasance.

We must also root out crime in society and act against those who destroy public assets like schools, clinics, libraries, and universities.

Government programmes must tell us clearly how we are going to make an immediate and lasting impact on reducing poverty, unemployment and inequality.

In this regard, government must be efficient, prudent, and more innovative to achieve more for our people with diminishing resources and to attain the majority of our objectives.

When we delivered the State of the Province Address on the 4th of March 2020, we were already faced with a struggling economy which was shedding jobs and growing at a decreasing rage. But we were still encouraged as a province that some of our fundamentals and job creation efforts were bearing fruit.

We know from Stats SA that in 2019, KZN saw a net injection of 39 000 jobs into the provincial economy. This was supported by the Wholesale and Trade Sector which created 46 000 jobs, followed by the Agricultural Sector which created 22 000 jobs. The Transport sector created 15 000 jobs.

And with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no doubt that all these sectors have been severely undermined.

With an ailing global economy, our economy faces even more difficulties. Our critical tourism and hospitality sector has been hardest hit, and it may take a while before it fully recovers. The downgrading of South Africa to sub-investment status by all the rating agencies means that our country will be paying more for its borrowing. This will make our economic recovery even more challenging.

Others are even estimating that no less than a million jobs will be lost directly because of COVID-19, exacerbating the crisis of unemployment and raising the threat of social instability.

With all these setbacks, there are increasing calls from some sectors that government should reduce the public sector wage bill and freeze salary increments. The COVID-19 disaster has seen the President, Cabinet, Members of Executive Councils and DGs take pay cuts in order to join a growing list of members of our community that contribute to the Solidarity Fund.

There are no easy answers and short cuts to our challenges, but in all that we do, we must be motivated by the interests of the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society.

In the SOPA, we announced SUKUMA 100 000 as one programme to be implemented to address the crisis of youth unemployment. With many businesses closing down in the formal and informal economy, it means more people have joined the sea of the unemployed. This demands that every person public service employee must be preoccupied with how through our programmes we can accelerate economic recovery and job-creation.

All the signs are there that our tax revenue will be reduced and this will have a dire impact on our social programmes, service delivery, and job-creation. It is for this reason that we cannot afford to spend on programmes that are not helping our government to facilitate economic growth, creating jobs, poverty alleviation, the delivery of basic services and social cohesion.

COVID 19 – IMPACT ON THE PROVINCIAL BUDGET

As will be detailed by the MEC for Finance, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on budgets of departments. We have had to embark on unprecedented and unforeseen interventions. COVID -19 has disrupted budget structures and this will have a huge impact on our strategic plans and Annual Performance Plans that this venerable House may have to take decisions about their review.

To sketch a brief picture. The estimation of GDP contraction in KZN as a direct result of COVID 19 is R26billion. The national government announced a R500 billion relief package. An amount of R130billion of this will be funded from within existing government financial resources. The national departments will contribute R100 billion whilst all nine Provinces will contribute R30 billion. This means that from the existing baselines KZN has had to reprioritise its budget to fund the required programmes to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilising the Provincial Equitable Share Formula, KwaZulu-Natal’s contribution to the R30 billion is R6 210 347 000.00 (R6.210 billion) for the 2020/21 financial year. As a Province of KwaZulu-Natal we must identify these funds and return them to National towards the response package as announced by the President. This therefore means that the provincial budget that was tabled in this house in March by the MEC for Finance must be reprioritised and funds be redirected towards funding the COVID-19 response.

In undertaking this e reprioritization process due care has been taken to exclude the departments of Health and Education and to a limited extent the department of Social Development. These three lead our government response to COVID-19.

As we indicated earlier, we are therefore expecting that the Annual Performance Plans that were prepared in-line with the tabled budgets will be revised to align to the reprioritised budget. A special adjustments budget will be tabled by the Minister of Finance in due course and we will also follow suit as the Province of KwaZulu-Natal.

We have put all control measures in place to ensure that as we respond to the COVID-19 crisis. We guard against any acts of abuse. We have already acted timeolsly and are investigating in areas where allegations of wrong doing have been reported. We will report on these once investigations are concluded.

We clear that government cannot ask the people of KZN to tighten their belts if it does not set the example of reducing wasteful expenditure. All of us must direct the limited resources of the people towards programmes that offer the greatest promise to take us quicker onto the path of inclusive economic recovery and redistributive growth.

We must continue to mobilise and support all the people of KZN to become champions of self-development.

We are learning from this pandemic and will ensure that it does not become a missed opportunity for the fundamental transformation of our economy. We must use this global pandemic to disinfect our body politic of deadly divisive toxins and work to bring the best out of every citizen and stakeholder in KZN.

Honourable Speaker,
The total budget for the Office of the Premier for the 2020/21 financial year is R 800,198 million. In the course of this Budget Vote speech, we will provide an overview of the programme structure and the amounts budgeted to each programme.

PROGRAMME 1: ADMINISTRATION (R 136,131 million)

Honourable Speaker;

The Programme: Administration has been allocated R136, 131 million for 2020/2021. There are five Sub-Programmes under Administration. These are Premier Support, Executive Council Support, Director-General Support, Financial Management and Inter-Governmental Relations.
The Premier Support Sub-Programme has been allocated a budget of R 30,809 million in order to provide technical services and administrative and advisory support to the Premier.
 The Executive Council Support Sub-Programme has been allocated a budget of R 9,154 million to render secretariat support services to the Executive Council, Cabinet Izindaba, Clusters and key provincial committees.

 The Director–General Support Sub-Programme has been allocated a budget of R 15,851 million to provide administrative support to the Director-General to effectively execute her mandate of managing the Province.

 An amount of R 55,155 million is allocated to the Financial Management Sub-Programme to provide financial management support and advisory services for the entire department.

 The Inter-Governmental Relations Sub-Programme has been allocated a budget of R 25,162 million.

The Intergovernmental Relations Unit within the Office of the Premier will ensure that structural arrangements are in place to support the effective implementation of the new District Development Model. The Premier’s Coordinating Forum (PCF) meetings will continue to be held at least quarterly.

The Office of the Premier, working with the Department of Cooperative Governance, has finalised the alignment of Operation Sukuma Sakhe with the District Development Model. The KwaZulu-Natal province has entered into agreements with other provinces in different countries and work is underway to review and update these agreements.

The Office of the Premier working with Provincial Treasury, will monitor the Official Development Assistance (ODA) to promote economic development and welfare of the province.

PROGRAMME2: INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT (R437, 532 million)

Honourable Members,

Our programme of Institutional Development focuses on improving service delivery through institutional capacity building and transformation management in the Province. It is allocated R 437,532 million.

The Sub-Programmes of Institutional Development are: Strategic Human Resources, Legal Services, Information Communications Technology, Communication Services, and Special Programmes.

Sub-Programme: Strategic Human Resources (R 97,629 million)

A key component of the National Development Plan 2030 and the KZN Provincial Growth and Development Plan 2030 is Human Resource Development which is anchored on three pillars:

• Strategic Human Resources – this includes Human Resource Development under the Provincial Public Service Training Academy
• Information Technology
• Communication Services

The Provincial Safety, Health, Environment, Risk and Quality (SHERQ) Implementation Plan has been reviewed through a workshop comprising of Wellness Practitioners and Heads of Departments in an effort to focus on suitable and safe working environments for employees and to ensure that government facilities comply with the SHERQ Management policy framework.

Using internal experts, the labour relations unit has developed and rolled out an Employer Representative and Chairpersons Training Programme to build capacity to deal with and fast track disciplinary cases.

The Persal Management Unit will continue to provide support to all Provincial Departments in terms of training of users, providing an audit and reporting function and the rendering of an online help desk to all users in the Province.

The Office of the Premier continues to support National Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration in reducing the emolument attachment orders (known as the garnishee orders) against government employees.

The advent of the 6th Administration has implications on the structuring of Departments. The Office of the Premier is a lead department in the realignment, and I have already signed off a document which enables the Provincial Micro-Organisation of Government to be implemented.

The Strategic Human Resource Unit has through its Integrated Human Resource Management Forum and sub forums such as the Provincial Labour Relations Forum, Provincial PERSAL Forum, Provincial SHERQ Committee and Provincial Organisational Development Committee will continue to enhance its role as a Strategic Partner providing ongoing advice, technical support and strategic direction to departments and the Committee of Heads of Department.

Government has developed the HR turnaround strategy which has now been submitted to the Executive Council for approval. The Employee Health and Wellness Strategy will address the physical and recreational activities while fighting lifestyle diseases associated with inactivity and a poor diet.

The branch will engage in a process to modernise HR by embracing the ICT opportunities offered by 4th Industrial Revolution and the KZN Digital Transformation Strategy. This includes electronic systems such as leave management and e-recruitment.

DEVELOPING THE HUMAN RESOURCE OF THE KZN – THE KZN PROVINCIAL PUBLIC SERVICE TRAINING ACADEMY

The KZN Provincial Public Service Training Academy is central to Human Resource Development in the province. During 2019/2020, the Academy:
 Trained 1906 public servants in generic, transversal, leadership and management programmes.
 Conducted 4 AET capacity building workshops
 Hosted 3 Provincial skills development forums
 Hosted 4 Provincial HRD forums
 Trained 200 artisans and capacitated 850 beneficiaries in short skills.
 Concluded a cooperation agreement with Durban University of Technology.
To ensure that it continues to deliver on its mandate in 2020/2021, the Training Academy will:
 Deliver 160 training sessions on generic, transversal; and leadership and management programmes.
 Conduct ICT training sessions and roll out 10 short skills programmes.
 Review 4 training courses, develop 3 new courses, update QMS and facilitate the accreditation of the Training Academy.
 Manage roll out of the MERSET project, participate in the Provincial Artisan development forum and manage placement of WIL learners and interns.
 The unit will facilitate the reconstitution of the HRD Council in accordance with its Terms of Reference
 There is a need to implement a knowledge management system within the Training Academy.
 Functionality tools such as SABINET and LIBWIN will be maintained.
 Focus on the targeted development of Chief Directors and Deputy Directors-General.
 Continue to implement partnerships with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and expand the partnerships to HEIs outside of the Province
 The conceptual framework for the Provincial Audit, process and tools have been developed. The next step is to action the Provincial Skills Audit once the framework and approach is approved
 Develop and implement e-learning linked to the KZN Digitisation and e-Government Strategy
 Will continue to forge and strengthen partnerships with Higher Education Institutions, private colleges and the National School of Government (NSG).

Sub-Programme: Information Communication Technology (ICT) (R 93,593 million)

The Provincial Lekgotla resolution 4.18 of June 2019 resolved that a Provincial ICT Strategy must be developed to leverage Cloud Computing, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), Internet of Things (IOT’s) and artificial intelligence that will elevate e-Government services capability.

The Office of the Premier together with Moses Kotane Institute (MKI) have embarked on the development of the Provincial Digital Transformation Strategy.

MKI has offered to roll out digital training for public servants at the computer lab at the Academy. This will be operationalized during 2020/2021.

Work is ongoing to capacitate the Department to strengthen its ability to have staff working remotely to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

The ICT sub-programme coordinates the Provincial Government Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Province and renders internal ICT support and auxiliary services to the Office of the Premier. It is responsible for the implementation of e-governance, digitization and for ensuring that ICT becomes a bigger contributor to the Province’s GDP.

About R 93,593 million is allocated to this sub-programme for 2020/2021.

Key Projects to be undertaken during the 2020/21 Financial Year
• Implementation of the Provincial DT Strategy;
• Developing a Provincial Cloud Policy;
• Development of a Cyber Security Strategy;
• Migration to Cloud computing platforms;
• Installation of Digital screens in boardrooms for Teams Collaboration

Sub-Programme: Legal Services (R13,462 million)

Our Government is serious about service delivery, efficient and effective administration and the accountability of Government to the citizens. This commitment must, during this term, be reflected and given practical expression in our provincial legislation.

We have progressed well thus far in the improvement of the quality of our Provincial legislation and the rationalisation of our Statute Book. Yet more remains to be done.

The Chief Directorate: State Law Advisory Service (SLAS) plays a meaningful role in establishing the legislative framework for public service delivery, good governance and administration in KZN.

The KwaZulu-Natal Public Sector Lawyers’ Forum (KZN PSLF) functions as an intra-governmental structure within the administration of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government. It serves to co-ordinate the provision of legal services across provincial departments given the decentralised system of legal services currently obtaining in the Provincial administration.

We are pleased to report that KwaZulu-Natal has taken a lead in the country in the Rationalisation of Laws and the Audit of, and Compliance with, Laws.

Laws need to be continuously reviewed and amended to give effect to changing circumstances and to correctly reflect shifts in, or the fine-tuning of, policy. It is imperative for purposes of clarity and good governance that the law reflects current policy. An ongoing process of review and rationalisation of laws within each provincial Department is thus not only necessary, but critical.

By the same token, we are concerned that it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit and retain suitably qualified and experienced legal personnel in the public sector. We hope that this may, to some extent, be ameliorated by the Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) for Legal Personnel introduced by the DPSA.

Sub-Programme: Communications Services (R67, 507 million)

Government Communication remains a vital link between the implementation of government programmes and the empowerment of citizens.

The Communication Services sub-programme provides an integrated and coordinated government communication service within the Provincial Government and the Office of the Premier. It is responsible for the creation of a vibrant dialogue not only between the Office of the Premier and communities but the Provincial Government in its entirety. This is done through enhancing synergy with other Government Departments in service delivery, ensuring that citizens access information that expands access to the opportunities they can use to develop themselves under our democratic dispensation.

Outlook for the 2020/2021 Financial Year

In line with the mandate of the 6th administration to ‘Grow South Africa Together’, we have embarked on a process to re-engineer the Provincial Government Communication so that it can with urgency meet the information needs of our society. A new Head of Provincial Government Communication was appointed and a new communication strategy has been developed and approved by Cabinet Lekgotla in line with the priorities of this administration.

In 2020/21, the Provincial Government Communication will undertake programmes and projects that breathe life to the government’s theme to “Grow KwaZulu-Natal Together”.

This has already started with the mass education and awareness campaign we have had to undertake as the Province that reported the first COVID-19 case in South Africa.

Other programmes that will be undertaken in support government’s growth agenda in line with the eight provincial priorities will include:

• Continued COVID-19 mass education and awareness
• Support for the upcoming local government elections to support democracy and mobilise citizens to play their role
• Strategic partnerships to promote economic opportunities created by government in programmes such as Operation Vula, Raset and many others through various below the line and above the line multi-media interventions.
• Developing communication platforms, to ensure an empowered citizenry of KwaZulu-Natal
• Improving Cluster Communication and ensuring that there is a uniform government brand and identity.
• Capacity Building programme for government communicators at provincial and district level; and political principals will also constitute a key pillar of the performance of this unit.
• It is important that we ensure that messengers of the government message are empowered including with relevant skills and tools to disseminate government messages in a fast digitising world.

Sub-Programme: Special Programmes (R 165,341 million)

INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT

The Integrity Management Unit plays an important role in promoting professionalism, ethical conduct, and accountability in the public service. In the year ahead, the unit has been allocated R 165,341 million.

As part of its drive to promote integrity in the province, the Integrity Management Unit will intensify the roll out of the “I Do RightCampaign. As part of this campaign, the Integrity Management Unit will host the 3rd Integrity Leadership Summit.

The summit will be used by the Provincial Government as a vehicle to engage with various stakeholders with a drive to come up with programmes and initiatives to combat fraud and corruption in the Provincial Administration and local government. The Provincial Government will engage with municipal officials and councilors through district anti-corruption and ethics awareness campaigns aimed at taking ethics to Local Government and to source support of the community in fighting against fraud and corruption in Government.

Progress report on key priorities

The unit has conducted Ethics and Anti-Corruption Awareness Workshops in the Provincial Departments and Municipalities. Public servants have been made aware of consequences of corruption and know where to report corruption should they come across any.

The unit attends to complaints that are lodged through the Presidential Hotline, walk-ins, telephone calls, e-mails and letters.

Hotline Call Centre

During the 2019 SOPA we announced the launch of a Hotline to report fraud and corruption. The Integrity Management Unit has partnered with SITA for the establishment of the Hotline Call Centre System.

A Project Team led by ICT working with the Nerve Centre and the SITA is working on an integrated system to include Hotline, Complaints Management System and the Nerve Centre. A draft Concept document is being finalized.

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

The Provincial Government continues to offer a hand-up to the youth of KZN by prioritising their development.

Programmes aimed at youth empowerment cut across departments and bring in stakeholders outside government.

Through the Youth Chief Directorate in the Office of the Premier, there has been a series of interventions that are meant to improve the lives of young people. This includes Sukuma 100 000 and the Youth Empowerment Fund.

A Concept Document is being finalised to outline details of Sukuma 100 000. This programme, which will be coordinated in the Office of the Premier, will cut-across all departments, spheres of government, private sector, tertiary institutions, parastatals and other quasi-government organizations, aiming at creating 100 000 new job opportunities a year. This programme targets the youth, women and people with disabilities across the Province.

The Youth Empowerment Fund is one of the flagship programs for the province of KwaZulu-Natal which is aimed at heralding a new era of entrepreneurial activity and curbing youth unemployment.

In its first phase last year, about R70 million was disbursed to 53 youth-owned businesses, creating over 408 sustainable jobs.

The Youth Directorate has also assisted youth from KZN to access funding by the Department of Small Business, and a number of applications have been provisionally approved.

There is a need to strengthen the Provincial Youth Development Coordinating Forum in order to achieve synergy, greater impact, and maximum cooperation between Youth Managers across departments. There is also a need for more advocacy targeting women entrepreneurs in order to increase the participation of women-owned enterprises in the KZN Youth Development Fund.

SECURITY SERVICES

The Office of the Premier is entrusted with ensuring effective coordination of the protection of government resources. We are aware of current security threats to both physical and information (tactical) security in the Office of the Premier.

We acknowledge that for some time, security services have been under-resourced and under-capacitated, leading to non-compliance with national security standards. The filling of critical vacancies is being prioritized to strengthen the leadership of the unit and to ensure that it delivers without fail on its critical mandate.

We must lead by example in enforcing Minimum Information Security Standards (MISS) and Minimum Physical Security Standards (MPSS). Moving forward, this unit will provide leadership on how the province can mitigate against the security risks facing the work of government such as those posed by an invisible threats like COVID-19, cyber security and digital terrorism.

This year, efforts will be made to strengthen the Provincial Forums comprising of SSA, SAPS and Provincial Government Security Structures.

PROGRAMME 3: POLICY AND GOVERNANCE (R 226,535 million)

The Policy and Governance Unit in the Office of the Premier is responsible for the province-wide, coordinated approach towards sustainable provincial growth and development through policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation.

The programme consists of three Sub-Programmes which are pillars of Policy and Governance. These are Provincial Policy Management, Premier’s Priority Programmes and the Royal Household.

Sub-Programme: Provincial Policy Management (R 57,575 million)

The Provincial Policy Management is allocated R57, 575 million for 2020/21 for it to drive policy co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation in the Province.

This unit will continue to provide secretariat support to the Provincial Planning Commission which recently appointed new Commissioners for this term of office.

PROVINCIAL PLANNING, RESEARCH AND POLICY COORDINATION

The unit: “Provincial Planning, Research and Policy Coordination” has coordinated the province to produce the One Provincial MTSF Plan with one Monitoring Plan for 2020/21.

This branch has facilitated the alignment of public policies, research and strategic plans and instruments to the National Development Plan. This has been done through the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2020-2025; the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy and Medium Terms Strategic Framework Implementation Plan 2020/21.

The new integrated monitoring and evaluation approach will ensure citizen oversight at ward level. Monitoring and Evaluation of the implementation of the Provincial MTSF Plan and programmes will be undertaken through Action Work Groups and Clusters to the Provincial Executive Council.

There will be a special focus on:
(i) Monitoring Departmental performance; and
(ii) Coalface service delivery monitoring through Operation Siyahlola.
The Province is steaming ahead with the implementation of the District Development Model (DDM) – having integrated it with Operation Sukuma Sakhe. The District Profiles are in place, coordinated by COGTA and the OSS Champions are rolling out engagements in all districts and finalising the plans and budgets of districts. The DDM model is underpinned by the idea of “One Plan, One Budget” for each district.

All stakeholders are being integrated into one forum per district to ensure the streamlining and effective implementation of all programmes of government. In 2020/2021, we will ensure that stakeholders are fully engaged and empowered to implement the Provincial Stakeholder Co-ordination Strategy.

As already indicated, the finalised Provincial MTSF Implementation Plan is in place and it will be monitored through the Executive Council on a regular basis. This plan is implementation driven, aimed at facilitating tangible results, whilst the higher level plans continue to be reviewed in partnership with our Provincial Planning Commission.

We reiterate that ad hoc, fragmented interventions cannot continue, and planning can no longer be purely compliance driven.

We are determined to ensure that our policies are responding to the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and that we collectively implement and monitor Radical Economic Transformation and reverse the plight of the people of this Province.

The Premier’s Service Excellence Awards has been aligned to the Monitoring and Evaluation of the services and programmes that we provide. Reports of achievements will be linked to service delivery improvement and Operation Siyahlola. We will continue to work with our Stakeholder Coordination Team, Human Resource Development Council and the Training Academy, to develop critical skills for improved planning, policy, and research capacity.

Sub-Programme: Premier’s Priority Programmes (R 97,616 million)

An amount of R96, 616 million has been budgeted for the Premier’s Priority Programmes in 2020/2021.

The Premier’s Priority Programmes include Operation Sukuma Sakhe as an approach to integrated service delivery, Inkululeko Development Project, the Multi-sectoral Provincial Response to HIV and AIDS, TB and STIs, Implementation of the Poverty Eradication Master Plan, the Stakeholder Management.

The branch also supports His Majesty the King and the Royal House.

During the 2019/2020 financial year, the province made tremendous progress – a total of 1,443,350 (One million, four hundred and forty three thousand, and three hundred and fifty) clients were on lifesaving antiretroviral therapy. As of December 2019, four districts – Harry Gwala, uMgungundlovu, uMzinyathi and uMkhanyakude, achieved the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets. The medical male circumcision has reached over 1.2 million and the mother to child transmission remains below 1% in most districts. The Provincial Council on AIDS continues to drive the response led by the Premier, MEC’s and Mayors.

The Stakeholder Coordination Branch will continue with key projects implemented in the previous financial year. In the financial year 2020/20221 the Priority Programmes unit will continue to play a meaningful role of leading and mobilising a multi-sectoral response to HIV, AIDS, STIs and TB.

More efforts will be placed on achieving tangible outputs as opposed to processes. The HIV and AIDS Chief Directorate will continue to work with social partners such as the Global Fund, PEPFAR and UNAIDS. This will be to supplement efforts through seconded technical staff and budgets supported by SANAC in particular targeting Adolescent Girls and Young Women and supporting the Provincial Boys and Young Men Programme. The functionality of OSS structures at war room level to intensify the fight is key in this regard.

The Office of the Premier will continue to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the three-year Global Fund grant for the period 1 April 2019 – 31 March 2022. The project is implemented in 5-districts, namely EThekwini, uMgungundlovu, Ugu, King Cetshwayo and Zululand. These resources are channeled through NGOs and CBOs in the province, focusing on Adolescent Girls and Young Women, Men who have Sex with Men, People who Inject Drugs, Sex Workers, Human Rights and strengthening community response systems including building capacity of AIDS Councils.

The PCA Secretariat conducted an AIDS Council functionality assessment in all districts. The assessment indicated functionality at 76% for PCA and an average of 57% of DACs and 47% of LAC. The recommendations from the assessment will be implemented in the financial year 2020/21.

The challenge of gender-based violence continues, and is a driver for the HIV epidemic. Therefore, the Provincial Plan against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide will be aggressively implemented to reduce the scourge of GBV and to reduce the spread of HIV.

Among the key priorities for this financial year will the following:

• Intensified Service Delivery Intervention programmes including dealing with Farm Workers and Farm Dwellers;
• Integration of the Traditional Leadership (including. Amakhosi, Izinduna and Amabutho) as a key Sector into the Moral Regeneration and Social Cohesion Programme;
• Established and implemented Traditional Leadership Sector Sijula Ngengxoxo Programme which is largely about the recognition of the role of Amabutho and Izinduna under the leadership of Amakhosi as the Traditional Sector in their respective communities.

Poverty Eradication Programme
It is established that more than 60% of the people of KwaZulu-Natal live below the poverty line in KwaZulu-Natal. This poverty disproportionately overburdens women, youth, and people living with disabilities in the rural areas.

The Provincial Executive Council has approved the extension of the re-focussed the implementation of the Poverty Eradication Master Plan (PEMP) for a further five years. The Poverty Eradication Master Plan is now being linked to all the Provincial Programmes that address poverty as articulated with RASET and Operation Vula being the anchor programmes.

The Implementation of the Poverty Eradication Master Plan will focus on linking 28 393 (twenty eight thousand, three hundred, and ninety three) service delivery gap cases with interventions. The Programme will also extend its scope of activities to land reform support in terms of profiling identified farm workers and farm dwellers and link them with relevant interventions and the coordination of the resuscitation of production in the land reform farms.

The Office of the Premier will continue to coordinate all departments and stakeholders in the private sector, labour, and communities to wage a relentless war against poverty which will no doubt be exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Financial Year 2020/2021 will see the implementation of the Provincial Stakeholder Coordinating Strategy in the Province. The intended purpose includes:

• Enhancing and strengthening District Multi-Sectorial Stakeholder Dialogues and Engagements (NGO’s and CBOs, Business Labour and Academia, Traditional Leadership Sector);
• Implementing Operation Sukuma Sakhe Programme and Inkululeko Development Projects;
• Coordinating and Conducting Public Service Week; and
• Coordinating and Implementing Human Rights Programmes, Projects and Activities including Persons with Disabilities, Children and Youth Parliaments, Senior Citizens and Veterans.

Sub-Programme: King Support and Royal Household (R71, 344 million)

The role of the Zulu monarchy as a key institution in a democratic dispensation is well recognized by Provincial government. In the 6th administration the monarch still plays a crucial role in supporting government programs and preserving culture.

In 2020/2021, the King Support and Royal House Branch has been allocated R71, 344 million.

The King and Royal House support comes in the form of coordination and management of His Majesty’s traditional and cultural events, providing logistical services and the maintenance of Royal Palaces. The support also includes support to the King’s agricultural activities, looking after the well-being of the Royal House through the KZN Zulu Royal House Trust.

The King Support and Royal House unit will continue to partake in various important national ceremonies and traditional functions of the province. These include the opening of the Provincial Legislature, opening of the Traditional House, hosting various cultural events such as the Reed Dance, First Fruits ceremony (Umkhosi Woselwa), Amaganu ceremonies, Umkhosi woMama, etc. His Majesty, the King will also continue to install Amakhosi statutorily and in terms of traditional customs.

The Zulu Royal House Trust (ZRHT) will continue to render its services to the Royal House, including a much sharper focus on revenue generating activities. A revenue generating plan has been developed. The Trust will perform upgrades, repairs and maintenance to all eight Royal palace (i.e. KwaDlamahlahla, KwaKhethomthandayo, KwaKhangela, KwaLinduzulu, eNyokeni, Osuthu, Ondini and eMachobeni /Ingwavuma).

CONCLUSION

May we take this opportunity to thank the Director-General of our province, Dr N.O. Mkhize for her stern leadership of the Office of the Premier.

We also wish to pay tribute to the staff of the Office of the Premier for their commitment and dedication. I also wish to thank my family and my political party the ANC for their unwavering support and guidance.

As we spend every rand, let us return to the question of how the scarce resources of the people will be best utilised in the reconstruction and development of our province post-COVID-19.

As Martin Luther King warns, we must thrive together as brothers and sisters, and not perish together as fools who fail to learn from history.

We must sustain and promote the value of unity, collaboration, compassion, and solidarity. We must learn from our mistakes and be determined to sustain the new patriotism that we have recently witnessed. Never again must we quarrel about the urgent need of eradicating gross inequalities among our people, the need for universal healthcare, and the need for all our people to access clean water, decent sanitation, shelter and a regular meal.

Someone remarked that “his is the time to sanitise not only our hands, but also our hearts”. We must use this global pandemic to disinfect our body politic of deadly divisive toxins and work to bring the best out of every citizen and stakeholder in KZN. We are a people of remarkable strength and extraordinary resilience. From this catastrophe, we must be determined to rise from the ashes of destruction and regenerate ourselves for a healthy, united, and prosperous KwaZulu-Natal.

Let us roll up our sleeves and get to work. History has chosen all of us to be the combatants and merchants of hope. Through hard work and unity, we can restore the dignity of our people, rekindle hope, and rebuild our lives.

We dare not linger. We must rise to fulfil the promise of the rainbow and the break of a new dawn.

Together, let us create our common future. And Let us grow KwaZulu-Natal .

Honourable Members, we hereby formally table Vote 1 with a budget of R 800,198 million before the Legislature.

I thank you.

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2020 WORKERS PARLIAMENT REACHES OUT THE NEEDY AND VULNERABLE WORKERS

Amid Covid-19 the annual workers Parliament was moved beyond virtual debate to the most affected rural workers who are most hit by the impact of the pandemic. These workers received the most needed tangible support in the form of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), Hand Sanitizers, Masks in the early hours of the morning of the 27 May 2020. It was the view of the Federations, namely, COSATU, NCTU and FEDUSA that the unity of the working class during this difficult time in the labor market can better be demonstrated by the workers lending a hand in the communities where life- saving protective equipment is running low, as there is an increased demand of these.

These are the workers that face the most challenges as they live in poor communities and work in industries that are mostly volatile in the time of the pandemic. The workers of Mandini Industrial Areas and Farm workers of Ixopo woke up to receive these protective equipments on their way to work. The Members of the Provincial Legislature and the leaders of the three Federations, hit the ground on the cold morning to give support to these workers.

“This was the continuation of our 2020 Workers Parliament which we held on the 12 May 2020. Our hearts go to the workers like these, and in our struggle for better working conditions and better wages, include the fight against the COVID-19 for every worker”, said COSATU’s Provincial Secretary Edwin Mkhize.

Whilst the Speaker of the Legislature Hon Nontembeko Boyce commended the good course by the Federations and reiterated her commitment to ensure that the resolutions taken by the Federations in their 202 parliament will “indeed be followed up in pursuit of the constitutional responsibility of the legislature namely, to involve members of our society (and in this time around, the workers) in the legislative processes of the legislature”.

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STATEMENT BY THE SPEAKER OF KWAZULU-NATAL LEGISLATURE, MS NONTEMBEKO BOYCE ON THE STATE OF READINESS FOR THE FIRST EVER VIRTUAL WORKERS’ PARLIAMENT

9 MAY 2020

The outbreak of Coronavirus dictates that the efforts and work of all of us including the Executive is directed towards curbing the spread of the virus. We, at the Legislature understand that this mammoth task of containing the spread of the pandemic requires our collective efforts working with the Executive, to ensure that all the COVID-19 regulations and protocols that have been promulgated and all other executive decisions and actions taken are implemented fully, efficiently and effectively within available recourses. 

Even during this time of COVID-19, the Legislature remains compelled to consider the most appropriate mechanisms and modalities for ensuring that as a separate arm of the state, the Legislature exercises its constitutional responsibility of oversight, law-making and public involvement. 

Workers’ Parliament

Over the past three weeks, the leadership of the legislature has been seized with critical consultations with the federations regarding the annual Workers’ Parliament. We would like to announce that it is all systems go for the 2020 Workers’ Parliament. The Legislature, through sector parliaments, involves various sectors of society in matters of governance in the province. Workers’ Parliament is one of the sector parliaments initiated by the Legislature to give workers a platform to discuss and debate issues that affect them. We are excited about the fact that all our stakeholders are now fully on board and we are ready to officially host the 2020 Workers’ Parliament

This is an annual event, and traditionally over the years, has been a two-day programme that commences with the commissions discussing various topics and culminates in the Premier’s address. Due to the current situation wherein, the country is in a state of disaster and all sections of society are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, calls for radical alteration and adjustment to the normal way of functioning. The programme has been crafted to allow the sitting to be no longer than 3 hours.

Theme

With the month of May being the Workers’ Month, the KZN Legislature will host its annual Workers Parliament on the 12th of May 2020 on a Virtual Platform where workers from the three major federations in the province will participate in discussions, discussing matters that affect workers. Delegates from Cosatu, Fedusa and Nactu will deliberate on this year’s theme “Economic Shocks of COVID-19, Its Far-Reaching Impact on the Labour Market: Workers Feeling the Pinch”

The thinking behind this theme:

COVID-19 came as a health crisis which gradually developed into an economic and labour market crisis. We seek to hear from the presenters the list of economic shocks presented by the pandemic, what impact on the labour market. Planning team also spoke about challenges facing the UIF, and undoubtedly such challenges impact negatively on the workers, that’s why we are putting forward the statement “Workers feeling the pinch”, job losses retrenchments, and grave risk of absence of social security caused by devastating health and economic crisis, these combined make workers feel the pinch.    

Platform and how many people will participate

The proceedings will run virtually through a tool called Microsoft Teams which will allow all 20 presenters and delegates to be added as participants. 

Presenters and topics

Background and Purpose of the Workers’ Parliament, and the role of the Legislature in holding government accountable on promises made regarding COVID-19 -Hon. NN Boyce Speaker: KZN Legislature

A presentation on Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF): How it is done and how many companies have applied for COVID-19 relief benefits on behalf of their workers for this relief fund will be done by Ms Gugu Khomo from Department of Labour

Job losses and retrenchments because of the current economic climate: what is government’s plan for job creation, this presentation will be done by Sihle Mkhize from Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs

There after we will have the Premier’s Address on Responses to 2018 Resolutions, implementation thereof, and on government mechanisms to deal with the pandemic and address job losses

Participants and Observers

The sitting will have 20 participants which include 10 delegates from all 3 federations; Cosatu 5 delegates, Fedusa with 3 delegates, NACTU with 2 delegates. A number of observers have also been invited, these include the MPLs, MECs, Speakers and Deputy Speakers of the other 8 Legislatures, Workers in KZN apart from the federation delegation and the Media.

 

 

Communication Channels

As you are aware that public participation is critical in the business of the Legislature, we have created a number of platforms to ensure that the sitting reaches a wide audience even under such challenging times. Workers and the public at large will be able to access the proceedings through the following channels.

WhatsApp Number: 060 503 2194

Email Address: 2020WorkersParliament@kznleg.gov.za

Website: www.kznlegislature.gov.za

Twitter: @KznLegislature  #KZNWorkersParliament2020Live

Facebook: KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, KZN Legislature Speaker and KZN Legislature Deputy Speaker

Instagram: kzn.legislature

YouTube: KwaZulu-Natal Legislature

These can be used to view the proceedings and also get updates on the proceedings.

What is the Legislature doing for the workers during this difficult time?                 

The Legislature, as part of the Speaker’s social responsibility programme is engaging federations on interventions to be made for workers during this time where some have had to endure Salary cuts, Job losses and the lack of Personal Protective Equipment. More details will be shared in the coming weeks as the programme gets finalised.

The work of the Legislature during Lockdown

In these circumstances, it becomes even more critical for the Legislature to exercise oversight and hold relevant departments accountable for actions taken to stop the spread of the virus. To this end, the Legislature is informed formally by the Executive of actions to be taken at various stages, and its Committees oversee those actions.

The work of the Legislature continues even under these challenging times, management provided guidelines on the critical roles that staff must perform during the lockdown period to ensure that the Legislature is able to perform its oversight, law making and public involvement responsibilities.

Just to take you through briefly on what has been happening in the Legislature during Lockdown, the following meetings took place on the week of the 13 April 2020 to give direction to the business of the Legislature

a) Meeting with Leaders of political parties

This meeting was held on the 15th April 2020 for the Premier to present a report to the Speakership and Party Leaders in the Legislature on the Executive Council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and for the Speaker to share the Legislature’s plan to perform its oversight function, law-making and public involvement responsibility in the context of the lockdown. 

b) Programme Committee

The Programme Committee met on 16th April 2020 to consider and adopt the revised calendar. The adopted calendar is hereby attached as Annexure C and covers activities until June 2020.

The calendar reflecting the period between July to December will be developed in consultation with the Presiding Officers having due regard to the fluidity of the Covid-19 environment.

c) Chairpersons Committee

The Legislature drafted guidelines on how its Committees should perform their oversight function in the context of Covid-19 pandemic. These were adopted by the Chairperson’s Committee on the 16th April 2020.

These guidelines are aimed at assisting the Legislature to undertake oversight specifically on the Government Programmes to contain the spread of the virus.  They are aimed at ensuring that the Legislature is able to undertake its Constitutional Mandate with members playing an active role albeit in a safe environment that will not expose them to risks of contracting the virus.

d) Whips Forum

A Whips Forum meeting took place on the 17th April 2020. This session was to sensitize the Committee on the changes in respect of the Calendar and how the Legislature is responding to Covid-19 pandemic.  The Whips Forum will then consider the Sitting programme in the light of the calendar that was passed by Programming Committee.

e) Rules Committee

The Rules Committee met on the 17th April 2020 to consider a new chapter in the Rules to cater for virtual meetings of the Legislature Committees and House Sittings.   This was pre-empted by the Speaker sharing her proposed Ruling in terms of Rule 2 that caters for eventualities that the Rules do not provide for.

 

Having considered all the above, the Legislature adopted an approach underpinned by the following:

a) Deployment of Information Communication Technology (ICT) solutions,

b) Training of Members and Staff on the use of Microsoft Teams;

c) Review of the annual calendar of the institution to respond to Covid-19 pandemic;

d) Reactivation of all Committees to conduct their business through virtual means;

e) Options for Sittings that include Virtual Sittings, cluster approach for physical Budget Sittings or normal budget and other Sittings with increased distancing. The relevant option will be chosen depending on the circumstances that prevail at the time;

f) Development of Oversight guidelines on Covid-19 for all Committees;

g) Development of a Covid-19 Communication Strategy;

h) Review of the Standing Rules of the Legislature to accommodate virtual sittings and meetings;

i) Review of data allocation for members and staff for virtual meetings; and

j) Provision of safe environment for the Legislative work as and when Members, staff and stakeholders attend at the Legislature Buildings.

The above interventions have enabled the Legislature to conduct all political management committee meetings by virtual means, including the budget hearings, save for Portfolio Committee on Conservation and Environmental Affairs which will meet on Tuesday 28th April 2020.  The knowledge gathered thus far does indicate that the Legislature is able to conduct most of its activities through virtual means and this augurs well for the delivery of e-legislature, this being a strategic objective for the sixth political term.

On 23rd April 2020, the President unveiled a Risk Adjusted Strategy in respect of Covid-19 and informed of the level 4 stage which would commence on the 1st May 2020. 

It is therefore important to stress that during the initial lockdown period, and at level 4 of the risk-adjusted strategy which commenced on the 1st May 2020, Legislatures and Parliament are regarded as essential services.  Staff were informed that they remain available for business remotely and physically as and when called on.  A policy on Covid-19 was passed to ensure that Staff and Members subscribe to the testing of temperatures and sanitization requirement of the legislature.  Management was responsible for drawing workplans and ensuring staff that were working remotely were reporting and providing proof of service, where applicable.

The Legislature has considered business units that could continue to operate remotely with no negative impact on the work of the Legislature. Equally, the Legislature has also considered the option of allowing 1/3 of the legislature employees to physically return to work, however this option will only be utilized as a last recourse where working remotely is not possible or feasible.

 Lastly, there are business units whose core function have been negatively affected by the restriction and are thus unable to perform their normal functions either remotely or within the office environment.   The legislature has identified some business units whose functions cannot be executed at all under a restrictive period of risk adjusted strategy. Going forward, the legislature will review its business process to arrive at a permanent solution in this regard. This may include re-training and placement in other business units.  In addition, the HR division is investigating support platforms to assist Members and Staff in adapting and coping with the new work environment, time management and soft skills that contribute to productivity.

Upcoming sittings

We will continue sharing the weekly schedule of the legislature with you.

 

Thank you.

 

ISSUED BY THE KWAZULU-NATAL LEGISLATURE OFFICE OF THE SPEAKER

Enquiries

Nomusa Phungula – 071 851 0085/ 072 294 7237

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