service delivery a priority for jz

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has set the tone to improve service delivery and change the way the public service works with an announcement that ministers will now sign performance-related contracts.

"We are building a performance-oriented state by improving planning as well as performance monitoring and evaluation.

"The work of departments will be measured by outcomes developed through our performance monitoring and evaluation system.

"The ministers who are responsible for a particular outcome will sign a detailed delivery agreement with the president.

"It will outline what is to be done, how, by whom, within what time period and using what measurements and resources."

The performance monitoring and evaluation process will be headed by the Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane.

Delivering the 2010 State of the Nation Address, Zuma declared 2010 the year of action.

"This year, 2010, shall be a year of action.

"The defining feature of this administration will be that it knows where the people live, understands their needs and responds faster. Government must work faster, harder and smarter."

The president said the monitoring of performance would extend to the municipal service and lead a change in how South Africa's public service works.

He said his administration was committed to fighting corruption in government, adding that government has terminated 32687 fraudulent social grant payments.

"We continue our efforts to eradicate corruption and fraud in procurement and tender processes, and in applications of driver's licences, social grants and identity documents among others.

"We are pleased with the progress government is making in some areas.

"This week, we terminated 32687 fraudulent social grants payments, valued at R180 million."

The state's key priorities:

l Education

Government will provide easy-to-use workbooks in all 11 languages.

All Grade 3, 6 and 9 pupils will write literacy and numeracy tests that are independently moderated.

Government plans to increase the current pass rate in these test from between 35percent and 40percent to 60percent.

l Crime

The Zuma government will increase the number of police by 10percent over the next three years. Hijacking, business and house robberies, contact crimes like murder, rape and assault are top priorities.

l Health

Government has formed a new partnership with the Development Bank of Southern Africa to improve the state of public hospitals. It is also concerned about the drop in life expectancy from 60 years in 1994 to below 50 years today.