New teams to tackle jobs, infrastructure
Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe are to personally oversee infrastructure development and job creation respectively.
This follows the mid-year cabinet lekgotla convened by Zuma in Pretoria this week. The meeting focused on two priorities - service delivery and job creation, cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said on Friday.
"Given the centrality of infrastructure development and job creation in dealing with poverty and inequality, Cabinet resolved to elevate the management of the two priorities to the Presidency by establishing an Infrastructure Commission to be chaired by the President and a Job Creation Commission to be chaired by the Deputy President," he said.
The cabinet adopted a 12-point implementation plan on job creation within the ambit of the new growth path.
These included short-term employment schemes, such as expanding the community works programme to up to a million positions by 2013/14, and the jobs fund management proactively identifying programmes that would ensure commitment of its R2bn resources by the end of the financial year.
The infrastructure commission would ensure systematic selection, planning, and monitoring of large projects to systematically improve the capacity of state agencies to deliver infrastructure and help connect the work of all spheres of government, he said.
A small high-level team reporting to the co-ordinating ministers for the employment cluster would focus on proposed changes and regulations to unblock private-sector projects with a substantial impact on employment investment.
"Measures will include tougher action to address the concentration of ownership and monopoly practices that limit the entry of new enterprises."
Among other things, small business incubation programmes would be scaled up, and small business funding improved and micro-finance expanded.
Existing rural programmes aimed at expanding agricultural production by small scale farmers would be scaled up, core infrastructure extended to rural areas, and towns revitalised.
Targets for delivery
Targets would be set for investment in rural infrastructure such as water, roads, fencing, and energy.
The Ministers of Trade and Industry, Mineral Resources, and Economic Development would recommend concrete steps to reduce steel prices by the end of September, Manyi said.
"In addition there must be a report on the work of the state-owned mining company, setting out its role and the business plan for realising greater beneficiation."
It was proposed that all government departments spend at least one percent of payroll to develop skills with regular reports on progress through the higher education and training department.
Inter-departmental consultations would identify an initial list of products that could be designated for local procurement by the end of September.
To combat corruption in tender processes, a high-level team would be put in place to consider complaints about tender delays or abuses that negatively impacted on jobs, cost-effectiveness, or economic development.
The lekgotla committed to give greater focus to co-ordinating and integrating service delivery in common priority areas where backlogs were the highest and on transforming apartheid spatial development patterns.
An informal settlement upgrading plan in 45 large metro areas, large towns, and cities was agreed upon.
Projects would cover security of tenure, water, sanitation, public transport, area lighting, electrification and waste management.
"President Zuma welcomed the commitment of the executive to ensure that the projects identified are implemented without delay, within the agreed time frames.
"He emphasised the need for all to move away from perpetual planning to visible action that will respond to the needs of the people," Manyi said.