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BREAKING GENDER BARRIERS

With Ms T.J Aryetey, Principal of Elangeni TVET College

WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP Dr. Glenda Gray talks Covid-19 updates and vaccine rollout

SONA UNPACKED Key points for SA’s road to recovery

GLOBAL MATTERS

A look at new developments taking place internationally

IN OTHER NEWS Curbing the rate of TB infections in South Africa


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Contents

MARCH 2021 | ISSUE 2

Editorial 10 | Addressing the nation

32 | Trailblazer

the role of women leaders

Commissioner of the Public

President Cyril Ramaphosa on

Meet Dr Somadoda Fikeni, Service Commission

20 | SONA unpacked

Key points for SA’s road to recovery

34 | Women in leadership

16 | Budget Speech 2021

updates and vaccine roll out

Dr. Glenda Gray talks Covid-19

How SA needs to get its affairs in order for a prosperous future 24 | The importance of the

TVET sector in South Africa

Interview with Juliet, Aryetery Principal/ Rector, Elangeni TVET College

Features 28 | Upcoming events What to look out for this month - milestones and pressing issues

52 | In other news Curbing the rate of TB

38 | Focus on water Water Sustainability - The science &

56 | POPI Act update POPI Act: CEOs registration as

technology dividend

Information Officers is on the way

42 | Government & infrastructure Zooming in on Operation Phakisa

58 | Tech and Covid collide Streamlining the vaccination process through technology

48 | Reaching new markets - and how Government can help Why the export market holds huge potential for South African companies

infections in South Africa

60 | A regional focus Western Cape: Implementing an agile response

4 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

64 | Reviewing the PPP framework National Treasury looks at revitalising the economy and meeting the National Development Plan (NDP) goals 68 | Global matters A look at new developments taking place internationally 72 | Financial fitness Take a look at how to boost your credit score


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TOPCO STUDIO Production Director Van Fletcher van.fletcher@topco.co.za Group Editor Fiona Wakelin fiona.wakelin@topco.co.za Assistant Editor Charndré Emma Kippie Contributors National Treasury Jessie Taylor

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Brand Coordinator Sidney Phiri sidney.phiri@topco.co.za Printers CTP Printers Cover Photography Mr. Bishan Soni of Media King Photography & Video Tel: 078 262 1111 | info@mediaking.co.za Anashia Ramdeov of Made Up By Anashia Tel: 073 425 3815

Images iStock/Unsplash Head Office Top Media & Communications (Pty) Ltd T/A Topco Media Elkay House, 186 Loop St Cape Town Tel: +27 86 000 9590 Fax: +27 21 423 7576 Email: info@topco.co.za Website: www.topco.co.za DISCLAIMER All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written consent of Top Media & Communications (Pty) Ltd T/A Topco Media. Reg. No. 2011/105655/07. While every care has been taken when compiling this publication, the publishers, editor and contributors accept no responsibility for any consequences arising from any errors or emissions.


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EDITOR’S LETTER

MARCH 2021

Letter from the Editor Welcome to the March edition of Public Sector Leaders (PSL).

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his month is dedicated to Human Rights and TB Awareness

– and we also celebrate World Water Day on 22 March. It is a busy

time for public sector leaders with our President having participated

in an informal UN75 leaders meeting with UN Secretary-General António

Guterres and Parliament debating the 2021 SONA. On a more sombre note, President Ramaphosa declared a special official funeral for King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the March edition of Public Sector Leader (PSL).

Whilst I hesitate to make any broad generalisations, we, as South Africans, are not prone to blowing our own trumpets, and tend

to rather envelope ourselves in the plethora of bad news which abounds, both locally and internationally. Swimming against

this tide, Topco Media has been at the forefront of celebrating

business success, helping businesses do more business, for the

last 25 years. And to quote Madiba, “Sekunjalo” – now is the time for Topco to do the same for the public sector: foregrounding the best there is, bold initiatives and dedicated individuals at the forefront of civil service.

In this edition we look at who is investing in South Africa, how to do business with Government, and women in leadership (Dr Glenda Gray); the National Treasury spells out the

public-private partnership framework and we provide you with an in-depth summary of SONA 2021 and the Budget

Speech; the POPI Act requirements are unpacked and this

month our trailblazer is Dr Somadoda Fikeni, newly appointed

Commissioner of the Public Service Commission. Whether

you are in the public sector, the private sector, supply chain

or simply an individual interested in current affairs, PSL has

something for you.

We hope you enjoy the read!


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INZALO UTILITY SYSTEMS uses data driven technology to help municipalities and water service providers better manage water supply, while optimising their revenue collection. Their world renowned Water Management Device (WMD), at the core of their smart water management solution, was recognised by the Global Water Awards in 2019, as playing a pivotal role in rescuing the City of Cape Town from reaching Day Zero – a testament to its mission of encouraging the smart management of the world’s most valuable resource... water.

INZALO EMS advocates for the public sector. Its technologies aim to streamline business processes, improve productivity, and elevate people. It has developed a standardised ERP system that assists municipalities attain mSCOA compliance. Their bespoke system has been built from the ground up. They took no shortcuts and added no third-party plugins. The system is purpose-built to preserve data integrity in strict accordance with National Treasury’s requirements.

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ADRESSING THTE NATION

MARCH 2021

Celebrating Women Leaders in SA P resident Ramaphosa wrote his weekly letter to the nation on March 8, International Women’s Day, and opened by reminding us that the day has been celebrated for more than a hundred years as part of the drive for gender equity and women’s rights. Key to the women’s rights movement is the 1994 Women’s Charter, which notes that at the heart of women’s marginalisation in South Africa are the attitudes

and practices that “confine women to the domestic arena, and reserve for men the arena where political power and authority reside”

making structures. Fittingly, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is women’s leadership and achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”

Commenting on this statement, the President writes:

Referring to the pandemic which beset South Africa a year ago, we are reminded of the pivotal role played by the courageous frontline workers such as doctors, nurses, police, soldiers and emergency personnel. And whilst the schools were closed, the dedication of teachers, principals

“There can be no meaningful progress for women if our society continues to relegate women to ‘traditional’ professions, occupations or roles, while it is mainly men who sit on decision-

10 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021


and lecturers ensured that students and learners continued to receive an education despite the disruption caused by the pandemic. In saluting theses courageous women, President Ramaphosa made special mention of Petronella Benjamin from Eerste River, Western Cape, who lost her life to COVID-19 just days before she was due to retire after working for 25 years as a nurse - and the thousands of fieldworkers like Azalet Dube from Doctors without Borders, who went into communities to raise awareness, who worked in health facilities as contract tracers, and who provided psycho-social support to families and individuals in distress.

How far we have come as a society thanks to the role of women leaders

“This includes women like Fazila Gany, a longstanding member of the National Shelter Movement who also sadly passed away from COVID-19. The Movement has been critical in ensuring women and children at risk received support and access to services during the pandemic.” The President thanked the women leading civil society organisations who worked and continue to work with the Ministerial Advisory Committee in driving a holistic approach to managing the pandemic.

“Women doctors, researchers and scientists have played and continue to play an important role in our epidemiological response. One of the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials conducted last year, the Ensemble trial, was led by two female scientists, Prof Glenda Gray of the South African Medical Research Council and Prof LindaGail Bekker of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre.” The most vulnerable members of our community who suffered increased violence during lockdown were assisted by numerous NGOs staffed and led by women. Women like Nandi Msezane, who helped raise funds for food support in affected communities, and helped to provide access to mental health support for the LGBTQI+ community during the lockdown. Key to an informed relief response was the research carried out by academics on economic vulnerability and poverty trends in South Africa. In the forefront of this research into rural poverty was Dr Vuyo Mahlati, whom we lost in 2020. At the time she was studying the impact of the pandemic on food security in vulnerable communities, especially small scale farmers.

chaired by one of South Africa’s most prominent businesswomen, Gloria Serobe. Women CEOs, board members and fund managers continue to play a leading role in pushing for their companies to support government’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.” In his letter, President Ramaphosa acknowledges the often unrecognised role of the women in public administration who lead the many government departments at the forefront of the national relief response. And whilst he highlighted the long journey still ahead, he took the opportunity to celebrate “how far we have come as a society thanks to the role of women leaders, particularly in helping the nation through this pandemic. As we have struggled against this disease, women have been present and prominent in almost every arena of life. This has set a standard for the kind of society we continue to build. It has inspired and encouraged us to build an equal future.” n

“In the private sector, women business leaders have been visible in mobilising financial resources to support government’s efforts. The Solidarity Fund, which has played such a key role in this regard, is

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 11


ABOUT US: ELANGENI TVET COLLEGE

ADVERTORIAL

T

About us: ELANGENI TVET COLLEGE

he development of skills and education may be the catalyst for many to attend college, but it can go well beyond years spent studying. If you are interested in completing your NCV or Nated qualification in a technical and vocational environment, be assured that Elangeni TVET College under the leadership of Rector, Ms. TJ Aryetey is dedicated to offering quality teaching and learning services at the College and creating employable opportunities upon exiting. Elangeni TVET College has a vested interest in ensuring that the COVID-19 pandemic is managed appropriately by making certain that duediligence around COVID-19 is enforced and the College is

abreast with updates by means of information from institutions such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), Higher Health, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and other legislative frameworks from Government. Continuous awareness is ensured through signage and we make sure there is no stigma attached to people who test positive for COVID-19. Take a Step in The Right Direction Elangeni TVET College offers a National Certificate in Vocational (NCV) studies ranging from Information Technology and Hospitality to Primary Agriculture amongst others. Post matric courses are also offered by the College in Business Studies and Engineering. Furthermore, for

12 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

those students who rely on bursaries to study, the College is affiliated with NSFAS to support students’ academic career through Financial Aid.

One of the key strategies at ETVET is to change how women are seen in the corporate environment Due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and the risks involved, the registration and enrolment process for the academic year was fully electronic via the College’s website with 30 000 applications received. In addition to the programmes offered, the College also offers students


learnership opportunities through its international partnerships with China, UK, Netherlands and the USA. ETVET has also won international Awards for being the Best African Partner in the British Council “Skills for Employability Project”.

Location is Everything Going to college doesn’t have to entail relocation. Studying within your home town will provide you, your family and friends the beauty of a new beginning especially since the College is situated in KZN and surrounding areas of Durban. Elangeni TVET College (previously known as Sivananda FET College) came about after the merger of three public technical colleges in 2002: Pinetown, Sivananda (KwaMashu) and Ntuzuma Technical College. The College has grown with the addition of new campuses at Qadi (Bothas’s Hill), Ndwedwe, KwaDabeka, Inanda and Mpumalanga. Learning through industrial-standard environments

such as demo kitchens and workshops, resources and sporting facilities can be found on our eight campuses. Unlock Your Potential Elangeni TVET College does not just concentrate on the subject matter, but provides practical opportunities to shine in what is right for you and plans for the next steps along the chosen course of your career.

There are also opportunities both within and outside your studies to discover new interests and to build innovative entrepreneurial activities. Nobuhle Dimba is one such student who considered a farming opportunity when she noticed a vacant piece of land in her community. This opportunity presented itself again when Dimba chose to study Primary Agriculture at Elangeni TVET College. Dimba is currently a Level 4 NCV student at Mpumalanga Campus and also runs a thriving poultry and fresh produce business in her spare time. The

twenty-one-year-old encourages youth not to wait to get employed, especially due to COVID-19, and the shortage of job opportunities in SA. “Start a business where you are and with what you have”, she says. 4IR The approach of teaching and learning has changed due to COVID-19. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, the College was able to adapt effectively to remote learning, the new normal. This is an indication of discipline displayed by College staff and it is through these efforts that Elangeni TVET College remains one of the leading Higher Education Institutions. External shareholders were able to share in the prestigious occasion of the College’s Annual Graduation via live streaming on the College’s official YouTube channel, this as a result of the College’s commitment to embracing the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). The College’s vision for the 4IR is to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to add value to their communities as well as the global markets. Gender Empowerment and Development One of the key strategies at ETVET is to change how women are seen in the corporate environment and to empower them in leadership roles within the Institution. One of the ambitions that Rector Ms. T.J Aryetey strives for is the development of all College employees.

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 13


“A lesson to be learnt from 2020, is that we need to be skilled and experienced in handling all situations that may arise during our daily working commitments. Use any opportunity to develop your own skills with the aim of enhancing not only your own ability but that of the College as a whole” she says. The College opposes all forms of Gender Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) and urges all staff and students to report any form of abuse especially within the Institution. The College also encourages men and women to speak up on GBVF issues by hosting its Annual GBV Campaign. As a result of COVID-19 and adhering to social distance protocols, a silent protest with representation by staff and students was held against GBVF at all sites. In the 16 Days of Activism against Women and Child Abuse, ETVET created a digital campaign shared to all multimedia platforms to raise awareness.

Clean Administration Elangeni TVET College continues to display good governance, work ethics and transparency. The College was awarded a Clean Audit outcome in 2020. It was the second year for ETVET and the College hopes to retain that status again in 2021. This serves as a testimony of good governance where the College is not only celebrating the clean audit but a sustained Clean Audit Outcome. According to College Rector, Ms. TJ Aryetey, “It takes a lot of hard work, focused determination and dedication to achieve a clean audit. You need a dynamic team which is competent that shares the same vision and works towards the same goals” she says. Aryetey has reinforced her passion to lead a clean administration, to maximise the mandate of the College and ensure that ETVET delivers efficient services to its students ETVET Quality, Health and Safety Standards It is worth noting that the College is beginning its new academic year with a series of achievements under its belt. History was made when the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) informed the College that it was successful in its Health and Safety Management Audit and as a result has achieved an ISO 45001 certification. This makes Elangeni TVET College the first TVET College in the province to achieve this accolade. In keeping with being progressive, the College has embarked on changing from the old OHSAS

14 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

18001 to the new Health and Safety Management Standard, ISO 45001. The reason for the change places emphasis on employees and their participation, enhancement on managing contractors, purchasing decision-making process, leadership participation, change management and performance management. This change-over in keeping with compliance to the new International Standard for Health and Safety elevates the safety importance of all persons on the College premises. Business Unit The College is on a mission to establish growth business opportunities in the form of partnerships both domestically and internationally however the expected tough economic conditions of 2020 have impacted on these growth opportunities. One of the key objectives of the College’s Business Unit is to organise and promote the creation of skills training programmes as the College strives to attract more committed partners and SETAs to fund and expand its student workforce in the skills sector. The College has established international partnerships with the NUFFIC program, the British Council, and the Community College Initiative (CCI) Program, all of which are responsible for exchange programmes in which students and staff of ETVET have travelled to the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, USA and China for academic, leadership and management intentions. Moving forward, ETVET plans to continue


focusing on regular meetings with industry and local communities with the aim of improving joint working relationships. ETVET College plays a key role in the economic empowerment of people by providing relevant education and training with eight campuses throughout Durban. Choosing a TVET vocational programme will equip you for a

successful career in an industry with a profound need for practical skills, experience and knowledge.

now and get your future on track with the institution of choice – Elangeni TVET College!

Completing your qualification means ensuring your progress after years of hard work and finishing a chapter which has allowed you to acquire new experiences and meet new people. Make the right choice

The College encourages students as well as interested stakeholders to visit its website and social media pages to learn more about its academic programmes, enrolment procedures and student support services. n

CONTACT DETAILS: Physical Address: 15 Portsmouth Road, Pinetown 3610 Postal Address: Private Bag x9032, Pinetown 3600 Telephone: 031 716 6700 / 031 492 4363

Fax: 031 716 6777 Website: www.elangeni.edu.za General Enquiries: marketing@elangeni.edu.za Facebook: Elangeni TVET College Instagram: @Elangeni TVET College

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 15


BUDGET SPEECH 2021

BY CHARNDRÉ EMMA KIPPIE

National

Budget Speech 2021 A prosperous future is possible, but these are unprecedented times and we need to get our affairs in order...

O

n the 24 Feb 2021, Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, presented the National Budget Speech for 2021, addressing the Speaker, President, Deputy President Cabinet colleagues, the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Members of Parliament, and Members of the Executive Committees for Finance. “Last year we outlined a strategy to become a winning country. Since then, we have mourned the passing of nearly 50 000 of our fellow

South Africans as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic”, he said. “The damage caused by Covid-19 runs deep and we share in the collective pain of many South Africans who have lost their jobs.” Minister Mboweni praised the collective efforts of our citizens in keeping the country afloat. Special mention was given to our heroic healthcare workers who have made brave and selfless acts of service: “These acts of human solidarity and sacrifice reflect a patriotic spirit that runs in our veins and

16 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

inspires us. Often, we speak about how we must leave this earth better than we found it for future generations. Today I want to leave you hopeful and outline how we will leave this economy in better shape for those who come after us.” The fiscal framework Government has come up with a fiscal framework in hopes of extending support to the economy and public health services, in the shortterm, whilst also ensuring the sustainability of public finances in the medium term.


The fiscal framework includes: Main budget revenue - projected to be R1.35-trillion, or 25.3 percent as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the 2021/22 period. This rises to R1.52-trillion in the outer year (2023/24) of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). Non-Interest Spending will remain steady at approximately R1.56-trillion over the next three years, but will decline as a share of GDP from 29.2 percent in 2021/22 to 26.2 percent of GDP in 2023/24.

At present, the country’s borrowing requirement will remain above R500-billion

“Honourable members, getting our fiscal house in order is the biggest contribution we can make to support our Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. Continuing on the path of fiscal consolidation during the economic fallout was a difficult decision. However, on this, we are resolute. We remain adamant that fiscal prudence is the best way forward. We cannot allow our economy to have feet of clay”,Minister Mboweni explained. Debt management Based on the assessment of last year’s Supplementary Budget, in June 2020, it is clear that our public finances are still “dangerously overstretched”.

At present, the country’s borrowing requirement will remain above R500-billion in each year of the medium term - despite the modest improvements made in our fiscal position. As a consequence of this, it was reported that gross loan debt will rise from R3.95trillion in the current fiscal year to R5.2-trillion in the 2023/24 financial period.

Adjustments to regular social assistance grants:

“We owe a lot of people a lot of money. These include foreign investors, pension funds, local and foreign banks, unit trusts, financial corporations, insurance companies, the Public Investment Corporation and ordinary South African bondholders”, said the Minister. “We must shore up our fiscal position in order to pay back the massive obligations we have incurred over the years.”

Tax policy changes Minister Tito Mboweni advised that R1.21-trillion in taxes was collected during the 2020/21 period. This amounted to about R213-billion less than government’s 2020 budget expectations, and is the largest tax shortfall on record.

Social development plans The Minister indicated that all South African provinces are scheduled to receive R3.5-billion from the Department of Social Development. These funds are meant to assist in improving access to early childhood development services.

• • •

A R30 increase for the old age, disability and care dependency grants to R1890. A R30 increase in the war veterans grant to R1910. A R10 increase in the child support grant to R460. A R10 increase for the foster care grant to R1050.

For the 2021/22 period, government expects to collect R1.37-trillion, provided the underlying assumptions on the performance of the economy and tax base hold firmly. Minister Mboweni went on to thank those South Africans who diligently continue to pay their taxes.

“R6.3-billion is allocated to extend the special Covid-19 social relief of distress grant until the end of April 2021. In addition, R678.3-million is earmarked for provincial departments of social development and basic education to continue rolling out free sanitary products for learners from low-income households”, said Mboweni.

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 17


In this year’s Budget, the following tax policy proposals were made: The corporate income tax rate will be lowered to 27 percent for companies with years of assessment commencing on or after 1 April 2022. This will be done alongside a broadening of the corporate income tax base by limiting interest deductions and assessed losses.

The personal income tax brackets will be increased by 5 percent, which is more than inflation. This will provide R2.2-billion in tax relief. Most of that relief will reduce the tax burden on the lower and middle income households.

Fuel levies will go up by 27 cents per litre, comprising 15 cents per litre for the general fuel levy, 11 cents per litre for the Road Accident Fund levy, and 1 cent per litre for the carbon fuel levy.

Excise duties on alcohol and tobacco products will receive an 8% increase.

Tito Mboweni South African Minister of Finance In concluding his speech, Minister Mboweni made the following remarks: “To the millions of South Africans who faced, and continue to race, enormous difficulties and challenges, we ask you to take

courage, persevere and walk with us. Above all, let us heed the counsel of Archbishop Tutu: See that there is light despite all of the darkness.

18 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

“A prosperous future is possible for our beautiful country. Gloria est consequenda – Glory must be sought after!” n


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Audit • MarchArms 2021 | 19


SONA UNPACKED

BY CHARNDRÉ EMMA KIPPIE

SONA 2021:

SA’s road to recovery Unpacking key points from President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation address

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resident Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the SONA to a hybrid joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament – the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces – in Cape Town on Thursday, 11 February 2021. Deeming our country as ‘resilient’ and ‘hardy’, much like our indigenious Fynbos, the President was both firm and hopeful, in setting out the main objectives for the year ahead - in the midst of a devastating pandemic.

Making progress With the current Johnson & Johnson vaccine rollout, more than 100 000 healthcare workers have now been vaccinated as part of Phase 1, as the country expects Phase 2 to commence in April. In addition, the Special Unemployment Insurance Fund Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) has played a major role in providing wage support to over 4,5 million workers thus far.

the country with recovering post Covid-19.

“As we have overcome before, we will overcome again and rise. But it is not just this disease that we must defeat. We must overcome poverty and hunger, joblessness and inequality. We must overcome a legacy of exclusion and dispossession that continues to impoverish our people, and which this pandemic has severely worsened”, said Ramaphosa.

“The health and safety of our people remains our paramount concern. All medication imported into the country is monitored, evaluated, investigated, inspected and registered by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority”, Ramaphosa reassured. Furthermore, President Cyril Ramaphosa also highlighted key areas of focus, for assisting

20 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan Since the commencement of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP), the South African government has been zooming in on four priority interventions: •

A massive roll-out of infrastructure throughout the country A massive increase in local production An employment stimulus to create jobs and support livelihoods. The rapid expansion of energy generation capacity

“We announced that we would be embarking on a massive roll-out of infrastructure throughout the


country. We knew that to achieve this objective we would need to steadily rebuild technical skills within government to prepare and manage large infrastructure projects”, President Cyril Ramaphosa commented. Infrastructure investment project Government has developed an infrastructure investment project pipeline worth R340 billion in network industries such as energy, water, transport and telecommunications. Construction has started and progress is being made on a number of projects.

Corruption is one of the greatest impediments to the country’s growth and development Since the announcement of the ERRP, government has launched two major human settlements projects that will provide homes to almost 68 000 households in Gauteng. Similar human settlements projects are planned in other provinces. Also, a newly instated R100-billion Infrastructure Fund is now in full operation. This fund will blend resources from the fiscus with financing from the private sector and development institutions. Its approved project pipeline for 2021 is varied and includes the Student Housing Infrastructure Programme, which aims to provide 300 000 student beds.

The Black Industrialist Fund “We have worked closely with the auto sector to help it weather the pandemic. By the end of the year [2020], the sector had recovered around 70% of its normal annual production, in difficult circumstances”, Ramaphosa explained.

Fighting corruption Corruption is one of the greatest impediments to the country’s growth and development. The revelations from the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture (Zondo Commission) lay bare the extent of state capture and related corruption.

During 2021, government will be focusing on lifting the auto industry back to full production status, by implementing the Black Industrialist Fund, and creating a new platform for expanded auto trade with the rest of the continent. This fund will become part of government’s efforts to support the manufacturing sector.

Government has started implementing the National AntiCorruption Strategy, which lays the basis for a comprehensive and integrated society-wide response to corruption, and will be appointing members of the National AntiCorruption Advisory Council, which is a multi-sectoral body that will oversee the implementation of the strategy and the establishment of an independent statutory anticorruption body that reports to Parliament.

Africa Free Trade Agreement In 2021, government will begin to harness the opportunities presented by the Africa Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which came into operation on 1 January 2021, following the adoption of the Johannesburg Declaration by the AU. The AfCFTA provides a platform for the South African businesses to expand into markets across the continent, and for South Africa to position itself as a gateway to the continent. “Our forebears, our founders wanted Africa to work together, to be integrated and it has taken us some time to arrive at that. An integration means much more when it affects the economic lives of the countries of the continent”, said the President.

Important anti-corruption initiatives: Fusion Centre - brings together key law-enforcement agencies to share information and Resources,

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 21


and has brought many cases to trial and preserved or recovered millions of rands in public funds.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) - authorised to investigate allegations of unlawful conduct with respect to COVID-19 procurement by all state bodies during the National State of Disaster. The SIU has finalised investigations into 164 contracts with a total value of R3,5 billion. The Political Party Funding Act, 2018 (Act 6 of 2018) operations commence on 1 April this year, and will regulate public and private funding of political parties, requiring the disclosure of all donations to parties, and establishing two funds that will enable represented political parties to undertake their programmes.

Priorities of 2021: President Ramaphosa said the key priorities of 2021 are to: • Defeat the COVID-19 pandemic • Accelerate economic recovery

• Implement economic reforms to create sustainable jobs • Drive inclusive growth

• Fight corruption and strengthen the State.

22 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

“In counting the great cost to our society over the past year, we may be tempted to lose faith”, said President Cyril Ramaphosa. “But we can get through this. Because we are a nation of heroes. I am referring not to the glorious lineage of Struggle icons, but to the everyday heroes that walk among us, who work hard every day to put food on the table, to keep the company running, and to give support, help and care to our people. “It is your resilience that will help this country recover. People of South Africa, it is your country that calls on you to rise. Let us march forward together to equality, to dignity and to recovery. May God bless South Africa and protect her sons and Daughters”, he concluded. n


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INTERVIEW WITH THANGITHINI JULIET ARYETEY

BY FIONA WAKELIN

Interview with

THANGITHINI JULIET ARYETEY

Principal / Rector, Elangeni TVET College

S

upported by the South African Department of Higher Education and Learning, approved by the South African Bureau of Standards and situated in and around Durban, KwaZulu Natal, Elangeni TVET College is a Technical and Vocational Education and Training institute which provides higher education learning. The TVET College offers full-time, part-time and long distance learning with a range of programmes from eight campuses and provides bursary programmes, including the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), the DHET Financial Aid Scheme and other financial support services.

Q. With eight campuses in and around Durban, please outline the focus areas of Elangeni TVET and the courses you offer. A. In Durban and outer lying regions, Elangeni TVET College provides students with Technical and Vocational Education and Training. Support is given to lifelong learning at Elangeni TVET College and students are taught by professional

24 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

assessors and moderators to ensure quality delivery in a range of subject areas. The programmes offered are tailored to the needs of learners and industry and are adaptive. A TVET vocational programme at ETVET equips students for a competitive industry career that requires practical skills, experience and expertise to be implemented.


Q. TVET colleges are seen as key to the recovery of the South African economy. Please comment on this statement. A. TVET Colleges by nature are strategically positioned within townships and semi-rural areas to provide South Africans with better access to communities and prepare them for skill related work post schooling education. In townships there are always a number of things which need fixing, and as a result, students who are trained and skilled at TVET Colleges are able to assist in restoration and repairing work found within the community, thereby building up the economy from a grassroots level. That is why Government should look at TVET colleges as agents of development, particularly in times of economic recession.

Never give up believing in yourself. A person’s belief is one of life’s main pillars. What we think shapes who we are. Q. As Principal/Rector of Elangeni TVET College, what have been some of your major successes thus far? A. Since my inception at the College I have always advocated the need for change, as that promotes growth. By introducing the College Staff Awards, my aim is to provide recognition to staff in their areas of excellence. I also introduced College Sports Day

to integrate wellness and sporting development of staff at ETVET. One of my recent successes thus far was the achievement of a Clean Audit Outcome for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019 at the College. It took a lot of hard work, focused determination and dedication to achieve a clean audit but I was lucky enough to have a dynamic competent team that reinforced my passion to lead a clean administration. As Rector of ETVET, I have developed and welcomed a number of corresponding partners such as the NUFFIC Programme and the Community College Initiative (CCI Programme responsible for exchange programmes where our students and staff have travelled to the Netherlands, USA, UK and China for educational purposes. I have also established and developed the Business Unit as a second wing funding mode for the College and to date it has received a number of programmes from different SETAs. Q. How did you conquer your biggest hurdles? A. As the Institution’s leader, I face obstacles every day. My convictions, morals and values are the trick to overcome hurdles. First, I remain positive in dealing with matters, small or big, and that helps me in achieving greatness at the end. Those that know me, know me as an achiever. In order to make progress, I prefer to divide

the targets into smaller achievable steps. Every day, whether professional or individual, I work to achieve objectives. I remain focused on the end goal in order to conquer hurdles. I do not permit anything negative to clutter my mind or space. It makes it easy to communicate with people from every area of life, as I am levelheaded, calm and humble. I am able to navigate difficult waters through this quality and still keep my head above water, with a smile of course!

Q. COVID-19 presented the world with unforeseen and unexpected challenges. How did you manage the response of the College to the pandemic, and has there been a significant increase in the number of on-line applications? A.The Higher Education sector will never be the same again. To successfully move forward during COVID-19, as the Rector of the College I was tasked with implementing the College’s main ideas of crisis management and innovation to realise our aim of sustainable teaching and learning. Allow me to say that Elangeni TVET College protected its staff and students through compliance. As an Institution, we complied with all health and safety regulations to minimise the infection rate of COVID-19.

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 25


Having healthcare workers on site acting as the first point of entry in detecting symptoms of COVID-19 assisted in decreasing the risk of any staff and students from contracting the virus. Despite the pandemic, Higher Education remained my top priority and I did my best to ensure that its core function of teaching and learning was achieved. With the support of the Institution, the College was able to make great advances during COVID-19 in terms of adapting to the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). As a result, an online registration system was used and the College received a resounding 30 000 applications from students wanting to join ETVET. Q. How important are partnerships to Elangeni TVET? A. Elangeni TVET College believes that close partnerships between itself and employers plays a significant role in locating opportunities for Work Integrated Learning (WIL). The College views partnerships to be central to increased student placement and College-to work transitions. An international partnership with the British Council allowed staff to visit the UK to share and adopt leadership and management practices. The College also established a partnership with the US Embassy CCI Exchange Programme and

NUFFIC, whereby students and staff have visited the USA and the Netherlands to develop knowledge and insight in the agricultural sector. These partnerships assist students with inservice training that enables them to complete their qualifications and graduate at the end of their programme. Partnerships have enabled the College to put together a responsive Programme Qualification Mix (PQM) that meets the varied needs of students, communities and surrounding industries.

The College was able to make great advances during COVID-19 in terms of adapting to the 4th Industrial Revolution

Q. What exciting plans do you have for the College in 2021? A. To effectively roll out online teaching and learning at Elangeni TVET College, lecturers have grasped the methodology of the new normal due to COVID-19. They are capacitated and qualified but are not trained for online teaching and learning. The College has partnered with UNISA to roll out this programme. Going forward, a qualified lecturer is an empowered lecturer and that lecturer then has the capacity to empower students.

26 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

Next I would like to mention the reconstruction of KwaMashu campus - For many years, the College has shared space with a high school in KwaMashu. However due to logistics, it is now time for the campus to be rehomed and developed. I have been involved in developing a mini farm at the College’s Mpumalanga Campus to produce poultry and eggs and we are now moving towards a formal market for the College funding mode. The communitybased cleaning project that I started in line with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) will also continue this year at all sites. Q. Who are your favourite authors, and what are you reading at the moment? A. I am an avid reader but Chinua Achebe has to be my favourite author. Things Fall Apart taught me about different cultures and how patriarchy had been orchestrated through culture. I also learnt about the shift from culture to civilization and how damaging this shift was to the people who believed in it. It also narrated a story about a great man by the name of Okonkwo who rose with his beliefs to his society but because of those cultural beliefs he ended up as the title says, falling apart.


Q. If you could invite 5 people to dinner, past and/or present, who would you choose?

1

Imtiaz Sooliman – Gift of the Givers – for his unusual talent and compassion to help the world. He is a person with vision and just listening to his interviews have shaken my train of thought. I hope to meet him someday so that he may aid the TVET sector in building a state-of-the-art TVET College in a township for there to be an outpouring of skills benefiting the community.

2

Bi Phakathi – a faceless Samaritan who helps those who are in need and is on a quest to inspire people worldwide to do the same without seeking recognition. His words and work inspire me to do more.

3

Naledi Pandor - a politician who has not been involved in any scandals and tainted her image as a leader. Her ability to listen

What message do you have for people out there struggling to survive?

There is a quote by an unknown author that says, “Do not let your struggle become your identity.” I want to inspire anyone who struggles to attain a positive attitude. During every storm they should be inspired and should always try to find something good even though it is difficult. Never give up believing in yourself. A person’s belief is one of life’s main pillars. What we think shapes who we are. To ensure survival during a challenging time, one must assume that the season will pass and that you are destined to do more with your life in future. n

to people but still have the capacity to think independently and speak her mind will guarantee her a seat at my dinner table.

4

Thuli Madonsela - Not only in terms of her work, but from her modest beginnings to her rise to become an inspirational, strong, democratic woman, she has made an undeniable mark. I am captivated by her ability to speak openly with integrity and grace, and I hope that I can personally witness one of her captivating conversations soon.

5

And finally my Mom, the late Mrs Nzama – I would have wanted my dear Mom to have been witness to my successes and seen how I have managed in life. It is something that many would identify with, to have your parents at your side, to show them how their advice and well wishes are attributed to your growing up. It is for this reason, that my final guest would be my mother.

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 27


UPCOMING EVENTS

BY CHARNDRÉ EMMA KIPPIE

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

08

14-20

Commonwealth Day

World Glaucoma Week

celebrate the rich diversity, steadfast

joint initiative between the World

unity and positive values that represent

Glaucoma Association and the

the Commonwealth. From school

World Glaucoma Patient Association,

assemblies to social events and civic

and has had a highly successful

gatherings, the day is met with an

run for the past decade. Glaucoma

overall sense of upliftment. Each year, all

is the second most common cause

events and campaigns are guided by

of blindness globally, and it’s been

a theme.

estimated that 4.5 million individuals,

Every year, Commonwealth countries

World Glaucoma Week is a

globally, were blinded due This year, the theme set out by the

to glaucoma1.

Commonwealth Organisation, is ‘2021: Delivering a Common Future’, with a

Currently, there is no cure for

key focus on innovation, connection,

glaucoma as yet, and vision loss

and transformation geared towards

is irreversible. On this day, health

achieving some of the 54 member

professionals and the Government

countries in the Commwonwealth

will campaign for better awareness

family’s main goals. These goals

surrounding early detection, to limit

include protecting natural resources

visual impairment. So, it is advised

and enhancing trade.This theme is

to go for an eye-test, get educated

significant as Commonwealth countries

on prevention and treatment, and

are linked by deep-rooted communities

practice better optical health.

of goodwill and friendship.

28 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

15 World Consumer Rights Day

On this day, consumer rights are emphasised as a way to address risky, unfair and unethical practices, and enforce consumer rights. Often, consumers are exploited or disadvantaged when dealing with organisations. On World Consumer Rights Day, Government and businesses give consumers a platform to raise their voices, in an effort to advocate for better, honest and transparent practices. This year, Government organisations and business entities will coordinate a variety of social media activities for all to take part in for the day. Individuals are welcomed to join the conversation surrounding trusted smart products by using the #BetterDigitalWorld hashtag.


March 2021 is loaded with various commemorative days, prompting reflection and awareness surrounding important milestones and pressing issues.

21 Human Rights Month Human Rights Day 2021 Human Rights Month is

commemorated in South Africa, as a day of reflection on the many sacrifices that occurred throughout the struggle towards obtaining democracy in our country. This is why we celebrate Human Rights Day each year, on 21 March. This year our country commemorates Human Rights Month with the theme: ‘The year of unity, socio-economic renewal and nation-building.’ We commemorate Human Rights Day to reinforce our commitment to the Bill of Rights as enshrined in our Constitution rights including, equality, human dignity, freedom of movement and residence, life, language and culture. The Government calls on all South Africans to use Human Rights Month to ‘foster greater social cohesion, nationbuilding and a shared national identity.’

21

22

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

World Water Day

2142 (XXI), implemented on 26 October

the lack of clean water around the

Each year, World Water Day celebrations aim to highlight the importance of water. Zooming in on

The UN General Assembly resolution 1966, stated that 21 March would be the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, annually. On

world, and the detrimental effects of global warming, water pollution and damaged water tables, there is a lot that requires new solutions.

March 21, 1960, a large group of South

The initiative is backed by the UN,

Africans gathered in the township

UNESCO, the World Water Council

of Sharpeville to protest against the

and the World Wide Fund for Nature

oppressive apartheid government, specfically against Pass Laws.

(WWF). On this day, longer-term

This day symbolises the struggle to

with the hope that the global

action protocols are addressed, society obtains access to safe

abolish the policy of apartheid in

water by 2030. Special attention

South Africa, and eliminate all forms

is also given to environmental

of racial discrimination - a key focus

consciousness and sustainability.

of UNESCO’s efforts to foster peace in all men and women, through education for tolerance, and the refusal of racist stereotypes. Many social

Water and Sanitation celebrates

projects will ensue in light of the day’s underpinning message. on prevention optical health.

will be held in South Africa, from 15 to 22 March. The Department of

media campaigns and community

and treatment, and practice better

The National Water Week campaign

Water Week by urging everyone to use water sparingly to ensure Water For All.

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 29


More than 400 years ago, over 15 million men, women and children were victims to this ‘triangular trade’, being deported from their homes and sold into the trading system

24 TB Awareness Month - TB Day

Each year, Tuberculosis (TB) causes thousands of deaths globally. Tuberculosis (TB) is the second-most deadly infectious disease in the world, with HIV/AIDS standing as the first. In South Africa, the WHO Global Tuberculosis Report 2020 indicated that around 360 000 were ill with TB in 2019. This is a 20% increase since estimated 301 000 of 2018. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been estimated that there’s been an increase by between 200 000 and 400 000 people in TB deaths - this was caused by a reduction in detection and treatment throughout 2020. At present, DOTS and the Stop TB Strategy, recommended by WHO, are making strides in saving those affected by TB. On 24 March 2021, we commemorate Dr Robert Koch’s scientific contribution to discovering the TB bacillus strain (1882), prompting the development of a cure.

30 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

25 International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade The United Nations’ (UN) International Day

of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, honours those who suffered and passed due to the transatlantic slave trade - deemed “the worst violation of human rights in history”. Historically, more than 400 years ago, over 15 million men, women and children were victims to this ‘triangular trade’, being deported from their homes and sold into the trading system. Every year, we take this day to reflect, using this memory as an occasion to campaign and raise awareness to the world’s youth, regarding prejudice and racism.


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TRAILBLAZER

BY JESSIE TAYLOR

DR SOMADODA FIKENI COMMISSIONER OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION also has an obligation to promote measures that will ensure effective and efficient performance with the public service and to promote values and principles of public administration, as set out in the Constitution, throughout the public service. “I’m humbled and touched by positive remarks received across society. Working as part of a collective I’ll be guided by the constitution. Integrity/ honesty is key,” Fikeni said after the appointment.

E

nsuring the public service sector runs effective and efficiently is just one of the goals of the newly appointed Commissioner of the Public Service Commission, Dr Somadoda Fikeni. He also aims to find ways to bring government services to all South Africans, especially those who live in rural communities. Promoting effective public service In January, President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Dr

Somadoda Fikeni as the Commissioner of the Public Service Commission, for a first, five-year term of office. Through the appointment, Fikeni takes the helm at the Public Service Commission – a role that sees him promoting an effective and efficient public service sector.

Taking up the role from February, Fikeni has said he will focus on making government services accessible to ordinary people. This has become especially necessary during the global pandemic, with the public sector forced to embrace technology to enhance service delivery and pursue further e-governance options.

The Public Service Commission is tasked and empowered to investigate, monitor and evaluate the organisation and administration of the public service. The Commission

Moving services online would make them more accessible to those living in rural communities, who currently face long commutes into metro areas to sign documents.

32 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021


Local roots, international views Fikeni is an author, researcher, public speaker and commentator on a range of local and global political, social and economic issues, drawing on insights gained through years of study at international institutions. Among his areas of expertise are policy analysis, comparative politics, research methodology, international politics, political economy and heritage. Fikeni held various leadership positions, including being the merger manager at the University of Transkei, founding COO and Heritage Manager for the National Heritage Council of South Africa. As an academic, community development activist and political analyst, Fikeni has spent much of his career focused on research

and has held the position of associate professor to the Unisa Thabo Mbeki School of Public and International Affairs. The newly appointed commissioner completed his graduate and Honour’s degrees in politics and social sciences from the University of Transkei, now known as Walter Sisulu University. He continued his education with a peace and political studies programme at McMaster University in Canada, thereafter obtaining in Master’s degree in International Politics and Comparative Development at Queens University, also in Canada. Fikeni completed his Doctoral Studies in Comparative Politics and Public Policy Analysis at Michigan State University in the

USA. Yet despite his international travel and years spent aboard, Fikeni holds fast to his roots in Eastern Cape, having grown up in Lugelweni village in the Alfred Nzo District. This has informed his drive to make government services more accessible to rural communities. Fikeni said he will also spend time working towards a more professional public service, to increase effectiveness. He aims to do this by leading by example, saying he aims to make the Public Service Commission a shining example of what public service will be. This will include tightening any loopholes in the Commission’s systems and ensuring it runs at full capacity. n

What is the Public Service Commission?

The Public Service Commission is tasked and empowered to, amongst others, investigate, monitor, and evaluate the organisation and administration of the Public Service. This mandate also entails the evaluation of achievements, or lack thereof, of Government programmes. The PSC also has an obligation to promote measures that would ensure effective and efficient performance within the Public Service and to promote values and principles of public administration as set out in the Constitution, throughout the Public Service.

Fast Facts

Full name: Dr Somadoda Fikeni Hometown: Lugelweni village, Alfred Nzo District, Eastern Cape Passion: Developing rural communities and assisting the disadvantaged through charitable organisations Acknowledgements: Twice voted best political analyst in South African media, honorary chieftaincy bestowed in Ghana

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 33


WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

BY FIONA WAKELIN

One Jab At A Time

Dr. Glenda Gray provides insight on SA’s current vaccination roll

N

RF A-rated scientist, CEO and President of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), Professor Glenda Gray is a qualified paediatrician, co-founder of the internationally recognised Perinatal HIV Research Unit in Soweto and is one of the experts on the Ministerial Advisory Committee, co-chaired Professor Salim Abdool Karim, currently advising government on how to combat COVID-19. The committee includes professors from a variety of health, infectious diseases, epidemiology and other specialities. As South Africa proceeds with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine rollout, vaccinating all healthcare workers first, Glenda urges the public to remain ‘patient’, and avoid jumping long queues at vaccination stations, as we are all experiencing a major learning curve which requires us to be agile. ““We know people are desperate and anxious. We hear about fraud but we need names to investigate. We take any fraudulent activity very seriously and would open up a criminal case”, Glenda cautions. Due to an increase in fraud, it is now a requirement that all health workers formally provide their credentials at the vaccination sites. Glenda urges the public to

34 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021


remember that these healthcare professionals have been hard at work, saving lives, for days without end, as out frontline defense. Despite these cracks in the road, the vaccine rollout plan has been a major success thus far. “Nobody has ever done this before so there are huge challenges. This is not just a rollout but a rollout under study conditions and we are learning every day”, says Glenda. “The teams are magnificent. They are working very hard and we hit the 100,000 mark.” On Friday the 5th of March 2021, the 100,000 vaccinated healthcare workers milestone was achieved. “On the whole it is going very well. A lot of people are upbeat and happy about being vaccinated and how it is going, but you can’t please everybody”, she commented. Going forward, Glenda provides the following projections for South Africa, for upcoming months: “As winter begins we can expect to see an increase in hospital admissions for both influenzae and COVID-19. We will experience

the epidemic in winter, and hopefully towards spring, the epidemic will start to ease up.”

Although she loves her job and the difference she is making across our nation, Glenda reminds herself to take time out, avoid burnout, and spend time relaxing too.

As we progress, the country is expecting 1.1-million Covid-19 vaccines by the end of March “The risk adjusted strategy [lockdown] is the most sensible approach to both manage the epidemic in South Africa as well as open up the country for business”, said Glenda. With a bright future ahead, many are still quite anxious with regards to contracting the virus, despite the gradual decline in infections, and developing immunities. “People who have had the virus will develop immunity, however we are hearing reports of re-infection, so we still need to establish how long the immunity lasts and what the predisposing risks are for reinfection, and what the course of re-infection looks like. We are still trying to understand this epidemic, and the natural history of COVID-19”, Glenda explains.

“I am listening to Bob Dylan, his early works, to relax. I am also rereading one of his biographies. He takes me back to my childhood and my life as a young adult, and his lyrics are inspirational. I like my treadmill in the garage, and that sorts my head out, and calms me”, she says. “I am trying to learn to have down time, walk in the garden with a cup of tea, and now more recently, spend 10-15 minutes attacking a puzzle while sitting by my dining room table - it is incredibly difficult, but triggers paths in my brain that do me good.” With the great strides Dr. Glenda Gray and her team are making, the public can trust that their wellbeing is being considered, and is in trustworthy hands. As we progress, the country is expecting 1.1-million Covid-19 vaccines by the end of March, with between 8 million and 10 million more to be expected to arrive, as of the April-June period. n

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 35


36 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021


Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 37


FOCUS ON WATER

BY DHESIGEN NAIDOO, CEO OF WATER RESEARCH COMMISSION (WRC)

WATER SUSTAINABILITY The science & technology dividend

W

ater security has been a human occupation since the beginning of time. In fact our transition from a nomadic species to settlement was only possible for Homo Sapiens when our ancestors developed an ability to access and store water to enable year round habitation in one place. This gave confidence to invest in agriculture and the rest, as they say, is history. And yet, all these millennia later water security continues to be elusive. We have just been through a prolonged drought episode, on the back of climate change, with parts of the country continuing to experience extreme water scarcity. The Global Risk Register of the World Economic Forum has had water security through the notion of ‘water crisis’ as one of the top five risks to the global economy for nine years in a row. We add to this the fact that we are experiencing an unprecedented global pandemic. This Nouvelle Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, or COVID 19, has rapidly overwhelmed the global agenda. And water has taken centre-stage in the containment of infections strategy all over the world as we try to flatten the infection curve. All the protocols indicate that regular washing and personal hygiene is a key line of defence against the spread of the virus. And as a consequence, handwashing campaigns have become the highest priority in national interventions. This crisis has put a magnifying glass on the issues of water security and safe sanitation access. All of the

38 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021


scorecards associated with the Sustainable Development Goal for water and sanitation indicate that progress is not as rapid as we had hoped. And once again, world-wide, but mainly in the Global South, we are still well off target. Even countries with enviable access track records, like South Africa, are found wanting in terms of the last mile of interventions to get to the goal of universal access and sustainability of the interventions already implemented.

The water science community of practice has been hard at work consistently increasing the rate of scientific publications

And yet the primary obstacle continues to be the fact that the water sector is suffering from pathological conservatism. This sector continuously tries to solve 21st century problems with 20th century technologies and 19th century operating rules.

means a delaying of the global development agenda to at least ensure the end of global hunger and universal access to the basic services that South Africa deems basic human rights. But, with brave choices and a courageous strategy we have the opportunity to do exactly the opposite. We can, in fact, accelerate our efforts toward the SDGs in the medium term, and be firmly on the pathway to sustainable development and a lower carbon economy in the long term. The catalyst will be the mainstreaming of revolutionary and innovative water and sanitation management.

Add to this COVID 19 with the important risks associated with this pandemic, and exacerbated by a sluggish global and local economy, is the almost inevitable decreasing of the momentum in the achieving of many development targets including the Sustainable Development Goals. There is a high probability that the SDG 6 targets for water and sanitation, will have to be beyond 2030. This together with the concomitant slowing down of the other SDGs

The technology toolbox is deep and promising. We have better water augmentation options with

With personal and collective hygiene being the cornerstone of the containment strategy – access to safe water, hygienic sanitation services and reliable wastewater treatment become paramount. It emphasises once again the modern day paradox. Never before have we had access to so much scientific knowledge. The water science community of practice has been hard at work consistently increasing the rate of scientific publications in this domain at a rate of thirty percent a year for the past twenty years. We have the scientific knowhow to engage the principle challenges throughout the water and sanitation value chains.

Dr Dhesigen Naidoo CEO of Water Research Commission

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 39


smarter water harvesting systems that are integrated for economies of scale. Advances in materials technology ensure tank linings that are safer and better oriented to deal with water storage quality risks. Advanced manufacturing means that new tanks make for better building fit both functionally and aesthetically. The 4IR suite of tools mean that water management can finally enter the 21st century. A combination of remote sensing, earth observation and digitalization means better and more accurate detection of groundwater. The remote sensing suite combined with the internet of things and big data management will organize for pragmatic and empowering real time management of the water system. From monitoring of crop water use to the digital management of wastewater treatment plants to leaks detection and repair. From the monitoring of the integrity of pipes to ensure on time maintenance to prevent major breaks and downtime, to intelligent pressure management. Smart meters and intelligent billing will also enable demand management in the hands of the consumer for better efficiencies and higher water security.

Innovative toilet systems that are either dry or low flush catalyzed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Reinvent the Toilet Programme, and the smart research and innovation investments by the Water Research Commission, will eventually become the mainstream toilet solution for all. The real innovation that will accelerate the both rollout of sanitation to all, as well industrialize the sector, lies at the back end. Non-sewered sanitation is a technology platform whose time has come. It immediately deals with water and energy limitations as a conventional high cost water borne sewerage system will no longer be required in favour of local decentralized waste treatment. And the attractive prospect of beneficiation of the waste into high value products that will seed businesses and industrial platforms. The foundation for the achievement of sustainability

The Brown revolution and the Sanitation Transformation Initiative or SaniTITM is our best option to achieve and sustain the SDG6 goal of universal access to safe and dignified sanitation.

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lies in the adoption of the Water Sensitive Design approach in planning new settlements from rural towns to large cities. Core to the ideology is water selfsufficiency. Implementation of the full suite of water harvesting, water demand management and recycling measures means that the urban environment draws less water out of the catchment.

This is the moment when all around the world countries are investing in strategies to deal with unsafe water and poor sanitation, the key COVID risk factors Through the installation of local wastewater treatment works and artificially wetlands, the quality of water leaving the town should be as good or even better to what was abstracted in the first place. The possibility is high for both higher levels of water security


with respect to both quantity and quality. If we add to the mix renewable energy dominance and general waste recycling the ecological footprints of towns and cities will be dramatically reduced with big pluses for the environment and the sustainable development agenda. But we are in the midst of a global emergency. This is the moment when all around the world countries are investing in strategies to deal with unsafe water and poor sanitation, the key COVID risk factors. Clean water and safe sanitation and wastewater treatment are core to the containment strategy. This is enjoying political attention in the public sector and huge focus in the private sector as we brace ourselves to deal with

this crisis. This is therefore the right time to engage in catalytic actions to leap-frog the current situation toward achieving universal access to safe water and sanitation with concomitant, smarter, eco-friendly waste and wastewater treatment. This should be complemented by the industrialization of the beneficiation of waste and wastewater to produce fertilizers, energy, high value chemicals, lipids and proteins. These actions will prove transformative – economically, socially and environmentally. There are some critical success factors. Firstly, we have to heighten our efforts to translate the vast repository of scientific and technological knowledge in

this domain to tangible products and services for immediate use on the ground. There will have to be substantive support to product and business development and an overhaul of our archaic regulatory rules and operating procedures. Secondly, we need new economic models to effect large scale implementation and sustainable operations and maintenance. Thirdly, we need to bolster our partnerships between science and society, governments and business, local and international. Using these interventions the transformation of water and sanitation could catalyse our development trajectory into one of sustainable development. Now is the right moment to invest in this change.” n

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 41


GOVERNMENT INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS

BY JESSIE TAYLOR

CREATING ECONOMIC WAVES THROUGH MARINE INVESTMENTS

W

ith almost 4000 kilometres of coastline, South Africa is uniquely placed to harness the potential of our marine economy. As a means of driving economic growth, the government’s Operation Phakisa programme looks to build focus sectors while securing valuable marine resources.

Law enforcement agencies have a role to play in protecting South Africa’s marine resources.

Operation Phakisa, meaning “hurry up” in Sesotho, is modelled on the success of the Malaysian “Big Fast Results” methodology. The approach, launched in July 2014, includes working with stakeholders to develop detailed and practical plans. These delivery

plans allow the government to fast track implementation, in numerous key ocean economy sectors. The programme looks to harness the largely untapped economic potential of the ocean, surrounding South Africa on three sides. The industries that have been highlighted as focus areas include tourism, fishing, shipping transport, ship repair and building, and oil and gas exploration. Protecting marine resources But growing a blue economy cannot exist without protecting the resources on which it relies. To this end, the government has created an overarching plan to protect the ocean environment from all illegal activities, as well as increase exclusion zones to protect the ecosystem from overfishing. Under Operation Phakisa, 20 new Marine Protected Areas were established to provide protection to 90% of habitat types, as well as contribute to global protection in

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line with South Africa’s international commitments. This brings the percentage of the marine ecosystem under protection to 5.4%, from 0.4% The new network of Marine Protected Areas will assist in increasing fisheries sustainability and maintaining resilience in ecosystems that are under stress from climate change. “Marine Protected Areas provide safe spaces in which fish can breed undisturbed. They are essential to maintain ecocertification of the South African deep-sea trawl fishery. This certification process assesses whether habitat and nursery areas for the hake fishery, are adequately protected,” said Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy. Enforcement forms a large part of the protection plan and law enforcement agencies have a role to play in protecting South


Africa’s marine resources. This has seen numerous multiple agencies taking part in the Operation Phakisa Enhanced and Coordinated Compliance and Enforcement Programme, which aims to increase its visibility in the coastal zones and addressing a range of illegal activities. Between April 2017 and March 2018 alone, over R40 million worth of goods were confiscated during these operations. Changing the tide on job creation The next step in developing a blue economy lies in enabling growth in key sectors, through concentrated infrastructure investments and job creation projects. Enabling the fishing activity has been the first step in generating jobs and bolstering economic activity. Under Operation Phakisa, the government has committed to upgrading 12 small harbours in the Western Cape with a budget of over R400 million. The upgrades include the removal of sunken

vessels, dredging, repairs and upgrades to slipways, security improvements, and infrastructure repairs. One of the focus areas for Operation Phakisa in the development of the aquaculture sector. Aquaculture contributes to almost half of the global fish supply, yet it contributes less than 1% of South Africa’s fish supply. This sector is vital in supporting rural development and reducing poverty and has already seen a large private investment of more than R400 million. The government is working on projects to boost the sector’s growth and support the increasing demand for fish and other marine products. This has resulted in the creation of 28 new projects since 2014. Investments have also been made into various dry docks around the country. Over R60-million was recently invested in the upgrading of dry docks in Port Elizabeth, and a multimillion-rand overhaul of Port of Cape Town’s ship repair facilities

is underway. There are also plans to improve both the harbour and ship repair facilities in Mossel Bay. These projects are just a few of those with the potential to reverse poverty within coastal communities. The oceans economy has the potential to be a game-changer for South Africa. Projections put the potential job creation at close to one million jobs by 2033, while the sector could contribute as much as contribute R177 billion to South Africa’s gross domestic product. In the 2020/21 period, around 1 550 jobs were created through the Oceans Economy Operation Phakisa programme. It is anticipated that around 6 200 jobs will be created by 2024. These projections highlight the importance of ongoing investment into the marine environment, not only to secure sustainable resources but also to ensure ongoing economic growth.. n

Barbara Creecy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 43


GAUTENG MEC FOR FINANCE AND E-GOVERNMENT:

MS NOMANTU NKOMO-RALEHOKO | ADVERTORIAL

GAUTENG MEC for Finance and e-Government:

MS NOMANTU NKOMO-RALEHOKO

T

here is no better time to realise this vision as South Africa continues to weather the storm of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that threatens human life. Technology has become an important factor in minimising human contact which is the cause for the rapid spread of the virus. Technology allows people to keep in contact with each other without any physical contact and it allows organisations to continue to deliver services using a wide range of online platforms.

Gauteng reacts to technological disruption through digitisation As technological advancements are disrupting every industry, the Gauteng Provincial Government is gearing itself up for digital transformation by digitising all government services. This is the vision set out by the sixth administration to develop a ‘Smart’ government which delivers all services online.

This has kept the country going especially during the lockdown period. In the last six years, the Gauteng Provincial Government made a substantial investment in building technological infrastructure. This allows citizens to interact with the government from anywhere and through multiple channels thereby enabling citizens to access government services from wherever they are through their smart devices or computers, at their convenience. As the country moves to a level one stage in managing the pandemic, the need to engender and entrench digital transformation of the province and the modernisation of the

44 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

public service becomes crucial. For all of this to be possible, Gauteng established a new department called the Gauteng Department of e-Government (e-Gov) as the first provincial department of its kind in the country. The Department has identified 5 strategic pillars to bring about this transformation and realise the

The Department has provided end-to-end broadband connectivity to 1204 government sites throughout the province modernisation agenda. These pillars form the bedrock of delivery and in 6 short years the Department has made phenomenal progress. These pillars are: • • • •

Modernised ICT infrastructure and connectivity Digital platform , e-Services and applications Provincial ICT oversight and governance ICT solutions advocacy, facilitation and communication ICT industry stimulation and skills development


Modernised ICT infrastructure andconnectivity (Pillar 1)

Gauteng Broadband Network The Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN) provides connectivity through an access network that is made up of last mile fibre, wireless microwave technology and APN 3G/4G solution (for temporary connectivity). This access network provides connectivity at a speed of 100Mbps (Megabits per second) per site. The Department has provided end-to-end broadband connectivity to 1204 government sites throughout the province. The efficiencies that resulted from the roll out of the network include, reduced telephony costs in the province and 98% availability of the broadband.

the cost of ICT infrastructure in the province. The Department has migrated the data of all 14 departments to the Fully Managed Data Centre and is currently in the process of migrating the remaining departmental entities into it. The Department is in the process of implementing a hybrid public/private cloud solution for the province.

Cyber security The Department has established a Security Operations Centre for the province and is implementing an improved Security Operations Centre (SOC) in the 2021/22 financial year. The SOC is one of the security tools employed to protect the provincial ICT ecosystem. In addition, the Department employs a variety of

to further enhance the security protocols of the province. Digital platform, e-Services and applications (Pillar 2) The Department has consolidated all the provincial government websites into a single Digital Platform. The Digital Platform provides a single window for citizens to access government services and information and aims to provide a common environment shared by multiple e-Government services to save citizen costs, time and visits to government departments. The Digital Platform currently hosts in excess of 93 government services and is actively working on ensuring that all government services can be accessed from the Digital Platform. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the process of ensuring that citizens are able to access and interact with the government from the comfort and safety of their homes. A total of 17 new services have been placed on the platform since the start of the pandemic.

Cloud Infrastructure The Department established the Fully Managed Data Centre, to consolidate GPG infrastructure, applications and data in a single data repository, to reduce

cybersecurity tools and products to combat new cybersecurity threats and has piloted multi factor authentication for users in the provincial ICT environment

Provincial ICT oversight and governance (Pillar 3) The Department has strengthened and enhanced the ICT oversight and governance of the province through the development of a number of critical provincial ICT policies and strategies. These include the following: • •

The ICT Master Systems Plan The ICT Continuity Management Framework

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 45


• • •

ICT Norms and Standards The Cybersecurity Strategy The Gauteng ICT Skills Development Strategy and The Big Data Strategy

The Department has facilitated the establishment of a provincial 4IR Panel which comprises a number of leaders in the ICT field to support the transition of the province into the 4th Industrial revolution. The Panel is currently in the process of drafting a 4IR Strategy for the province.

enable training of young people to develop and operate new technologies. Since then the Department has supported 1657 youth, 6529 staff and 95 townshipbased ICT entrepreneurs through various ICT skills development programmes and this will continue to be a priority for the Department. In terms of stimulating the economy the Department achieved a phenomenal 51% of its procurement spend on RFQs below R500 000 on township suppliers

The Department has promoted the utilisation and rollout of Employee Self Services.

ICT solutions advocacy, facilitation and communication (Pillar 4) The Department has promoted the utilisation and roll out of Employee Self Services. Employee Self Service has been rolled out to all provincial government departments. All e-services developed and facilitated by the Department, and which are on the Digital Platform, are actively promoted. ICT industry stimulation and skills development (Pillar 5) A crucial component of the digital transformation of the province and the modernisation of the public service is ensuring that our citizens as well as provincial government staff have the necessary skills to successfully operate within this environment. In this regard the Department has, in 2019, developed the Gauteng ICT Skills Development Strategy to address skills development for the youth in data analytics, the internet-of-things, block chain and machine learning, to

In the last two years, the Department has gone live with more than 30 new e-Services on the platform that are for Government, Business and Citizens. The Gauteng Digital platform has more than 100 e-Services with +5 Mobile APPS and a Zero Rated USSD *134*GPGSA# *134*47472# that allows all stakeholders to consume services anytime and anywhere at their own comfort.

How far are we in creating a ‘Smart’ Government? The department has continued to digitise government services and to date the department has collaborated with other Provincial Departments, National Departments and Municipalities to ensure that citizens continue to receive seamless services. This is mostly through the Gauteng Digital Platform which is a website that houses various online services. It is accessed through the www.gauteng.gov.za URL.

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While essential services such as those that relate to the education sector are data free. e-Gov is in discussion with different institutions of higher learning, such as the Design and Validation Centre (DAV Centre), the University of the Witwatersrand, Tshimologong Innovation Precinct, the University of Johannesburg and TVET colleges to create partnerships to champion the aspects of the 4IR, such as research, skills development, promote innovation for the delivery of government services , test all the technology that is deployed in the province such as the Grade 1 and 8 school registration system, as well as develop township entrepreneurs within the ICT sector. How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact the projects in 2020? e-Gov has remained on course


with its implementation of projects to modernise the provincial government. Yes, we were not prepared for such a massive change but this has boosted our existence extensively. We have had more work added to our plate in the form of ensuring that the province staff is well prepared for remote working. In most cases employees and managers have now reached working arrangements that allow the continued delivery of services. Through the Department, the province has provided connectivity infrastructure to ensure business continuity during this time of disaster. The pandemic propelled the uptake of our current ICT infrastructure and e-Services. For example we have developed a prescreening application to ensure that employees and clients are screened when they access our buildings, enabling monitoring and easier contact tracing. We have provided systems that enabled the Department of Education to provide home learning content, and school material for all grades as well as Big Data analytical systems on grade and school performance. The Department provided an updated recruitment platform that ensured that at least over 7000 youth brigades were deployed to assist in providing the necessary

CONTACT DETAILS: Physical Address: Imbumba House 75 Fox Street Johannesburg South Africa, 2001

administrative support to the government to enforce health and safety protocols in schools. The Department activated 21 698 Microsoft Teams User Licenses; to enable off site working for government employees. We have succeeded in ensuring that the data and Information Technology of the province remained secure, robust, reliable, available and trusted during this period.

• •

Challenges that we are facing in the digital sphere The government fiscus is shrinking every year. This is having a negative impact on our role to digitise services. Key critical ICT skills are hard to find. It is difficult for the government to compete with the private sector for these skills. We have, however, invested in ICT skills development programmes which are going to assist us create our own set of skills. Last year, we conducted various skills programmes across Gauteng. These were well received by young people and we are planning on conducting more this year. What have we planned for the remainder of the term of administration? The key projects planned for the year are as follows: •

Postal Address: Private Bag X112 Marshaltown Johannesburg 2107

Continue with government service digitisation while

• •

• •

closing the digital divide i.e. Implementing e-tendering to increase visibility of procurement and e-Invoicing Continue to empower SMMEs in ICT Sector Skills through various support programmes and skills development initiatives Develop and implement the provincial e-Waste Strategy Take ICT training to the community through government funded on line courses Develop and Implement the provincial 4IR Strategy Increase Gauteng Broadband Network Infrastructure through alternative funding mechanisms, including the commercialisation of the network Implement a hybrid Cloud solution for the province Enhance the capabilities of a new Security Operations Centre

We don’t know what the future holds for us but we all need to get ready for a new world order. We will defeat this virus but it will leave us with deep scars in our hearts. However, from this, we embrace what digitisation offers to the modern society. Government shouldn’t be behind, but lead in this transformation phase. n

Telephone Number: 011 689 6000 Fax Number: 011 355 2112 Email: egovcommunications@ gauteng.gov.za Website: www.gauteng.gov.za

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 47


DTIC FOCUS

BY JESSIE TAYLOR

HOW TO COMMUNICATE AND DO BUSINESS WITH GOVERNMENT: DTIC FOCUS

Are you ready to take the plunge into the export market? The export market holds huge potential for South African companies. Navigating the complex world of international markets can seem daunting to many, but there are numerous government programmes to offer support to local businesses. South Africa’s export market is worth around R109 billion, with most exports heading to China. The United States, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom are also primary markets receiving South African exports. Despite a decrease in exports between December and January, exports had increased around 8.7% year on year in January – a clear indication that many companies are benefitting from local markets, despite the challenges of the current

economic climate. But before you’re able to take the plunge into international markets, you’ll need to work with the government to ensure your product is ready and your paperwork is compliant.

Your product should preferably be doing well in the domestic market before you consider expanding to international markets Finding your market You may think your product is ready for international markets, but there are some checks to make sure both your business and product are ready for export. To qualify for export, you will need to have a product or range of products, along with the expertise to trade in that product. Your product should preferably be

48 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

doing well in the domestic market before you consider expanding to international markets.As a company, you’ll have to take into account several considerations when deciding if your product is ready for international markets. You’ll have to assess the need for your product in international markets, whether or not it can be adapted to suit an international market, if the price point is competitive and what competing products are on the international market. Once you’ve established that your business and product are ready for export, you’ll need to secure an international buyer. The Department of Trade, Industry and Commerce (DTIC) has several funding options available to assist a business in Export Marketing Research. Assistance is provided to organisers of


inward buying trade missions to enable prospective buyers to make contact with South African exporters to conclude export orders. In addition, the department assists individual exporters to exhibit products at recognised exhibitions abroad. Sealing the deal After you’ve secured an international buyer, you’ll need to ensure all your paperwork is in place. Depending on your product, you may need to register as an exporter. Some export goods require the company to obtain a permit ensuring that you comply with export control measures. The permit will help your business comply with international agreements or control the flow of strategic goods. To find out if you need to register as an exporter, contact the Import and Export Control office at the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC)

with details of the particular goods you want to export. The next step is setting up the deal. This is where you’ll require an export order, which consists of an international purchase order – the confirmation from the buyer that there is a deal and that you should prepare and ship the goods accordingly – as well as a pro forma invoice. The pro forma invoice is the document that initiates the international transaction. When the deal has been set up, you can look towards shipping the goods. Your deal may require pre-shipping actions, such as inspections or product analysis, which will need to be completed before you book the freight and load your product. At this stage, you’ll be required to complete an F178 declaration. This document is a commitment by you to the Reserve Bank that funds will be brought into the country in

exchange for goods. From here, you are can package goods and make freight arrangements, and your service provider will assist with customs clearance and transport. You will need a customs bill of entry and a transport document from your service provider to complete your export documentation. n

Ebrahim Patel Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition

Need help exporting?

The Department of Trade and Industry has established an Export Help Desk to provide South African firms of any size with export information and advice. Contact the Help Desk on working days at 0861 843 384 or email: exporthelpdesk@thedtic.gov.za

What products can South African companies export?

The South African Revenue Services (SARS) has made a list, the Consolidated list of Prohibited and Restricted Exports and Imports, of restricted and prohibited products that may not be exported. Prohibited products may not enter or exit the country, and include products such as counterfeit goods, narcotics and weapons. Permits for restricted goods can be obtained from the International Trade Administration Commission.

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 49


75 Years of dedication to Local Industry! Putting South African Industry first should be our main priority in these challenges we currently experience. SA cannot achieve its economic goals if we import most of the products we use. A thriving manufacturing industry creates jobs and business opportunities, enables skills development and improves our competitiveness in global markets.

SABS_PublicSectorManager-A5_10/2020

Procuring locally manufactured goods has obvious benefits for national competitiveness and economic growth. Therefore, the Local Production and Content initiative mandates minimum local content requirements for state tenders in designated sectors. For public procurement, South African National Standard (SANS) 1286:2017 defines local content as “that portion of the tender price that is not included in the imported content, provided that local manufacturing takes place and is calculated following the local content formula”. Standard available FREE at www.store.sabs.co.za

Certify your Municipality for SANS 18091:2020 Quality Management Systems (QMS) Guidelines for the application of ISO 9001 in local government SANS/ISO 18091 is applicable to all local government processes at all levels (i.e. strategical, tactical-managerial and operational) in order to constitute a comprehensive quality management system that focuses on the local government achieving its objectives. The comprehensive character of this system is essential to ensure that all the areas of the local government have a specified level of reliability (i.e. effectiveness of the processes). SABS a Trusted Partner in Delivering Quality Assurance. Contact SABS to establish support for your Standardisation,Testing, Training and Certification Aspirations.

50 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

GET STANDARD

ONLINE

Tel.: + 27 (0)861 277 227 E-mail: info@sabs.co.za Website: www.sabs.co.za


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IN OTHER NEWS

BY CHARNDRÉ EMMA KIPPIE

TB: A neglected disease? With too many cases going undiagnosed, emphasis must be put on curbing the rate of TB infections in South Africa

A

s the country champions through the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, we commemorate TB Awareness month, with World Tuberculosis (TB) Day taking place on March 24, to raise public awareness surrounding the detrimental effects of the disease on all pillars of our nation. At present, TB still ranks as one of the deadliest infectious diseases worldwide.

“What is encouraging is that we have established a solid foundation for resilient emergency response systems As per the World Health Organization’s Global Tuberculosis Report, released in October 2020, the African continent makes up an estimated 25% of the world’s TB burden, and of these global cases 3.6% are attributed to South Africa. Further research shows that an estimated 360

000 people in the country had contracted TB in the year of 2019. And numbers have been climbing throughout the Covid-19 pandemic due to lowered detection and diagnosis rates. Working towards solutions Last month, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize made a public announcement regarding measures being implemented to assist in the fight against the consequences of COVID19’s disruption to the country’s healthcare system, with specific reference made to the detection, treatment and prevention (where possible) TB in South Africa. Recommendations provided by the latest Tuberculosis Prevalence Survey indicated that much more needs to be done in order to increase access to screening and testing services through outreach programmes. “In addition, our rates of drug resistant TB, though declining, continue to pose a public health

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risk. The continued prevalence of TB has been mainly driven by the concurrent HIV epidemic, however, much has been gained in reducing the burden due to our high coverage with antiretroviral treatment”, said Mkhize. “Access to health services is a constitutional right. As government, our commitment is to realize a long and healthy life for all our citizens. This survey was undertaken to ensure that our services are responsive to the lived experience of our communities. There are lessons on community engagement and multi-sectoral partnerships that we can learn from provincial experiences, which we can take to scale.” TB Survey Results The report, released by the Human Sciences Research Council, indicated that there are many individuals with “undetected TB” in our


communities, and that individuals who display TB symptoms tend to delay seeking professional healthcare services and getting formally diagnosed. Also on the agenda, statistics show that a higher proportion of HIV negative people have asymptomatic TB than people living with HIV. “This has been a key finding which will require a shift in the way we achieve proactive health seeking behaviour. Previously, we focused on symptomatic patients and those living with HIV. We now need to encourage everyone to screen and test for TB to achieve elimination,” Mkhize said. “What is encouraging is that we have established a solid foundation for resilient emergency response systems. By implementing the recommendations, we will reinforce and elevate some of the key strategies we have learnt from our COVID-19 response.”

Mobile TB technology DigiTB, an app developed by the Centre for Community Technologies at Nelson Mandela University, has been the light at the end of the tunnel for South Africa recently.

Mkhize said COVID-19 has shown us many innovative ways of providing health services in an integrated manner for efficiency. Innovative Approaches to TB in SA •

The leveraging of digital technologies for TB screening, contact tracing and treatment adherence. The TB Health Check App which has been developed and can be accessed by dialing *134*832*5# or send ‘TB’ to +27600123456 on WhatsApp.This App provides an easy way for everyone to screen themselves for TB. Home delivery of medicines for patients by community health workers and inclusion of TB medicines in the CCMDD system. Integrating TB and COVID-19 testing using Gene Xpert technology.

This new mobile technology enables healthcare workers to track, trace, regularly follow up, and oversee tuberculosis patients - eliminating the need to physically go out into communities. Since the app allows for monitoring patients from a distance, the risks of contracting other infections, such as Covid-19, as well as criminal occurences in the field, are significantly reduced. For now, the app is being circulated on a small scale in areas such as Wells Estate, Port Elizabeth, and will also be introduced in the Western Cape as per the South African National Tuberculosis Association (Santa).

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS of Tuberculosis

coughing up blood

long-term cough

fever

chest pain

no appetite

fatigue

chills

weight loss

night sweats

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 53


What the recent stats show: Locally •

Tuberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent.

In 2019, a total of 58,000 people died of TB. Of these it is estimated that 36,000 were HIV positive.

KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape have had the highest incidence rates in South Africa since 2015.

TB is estimated to decrease South Africa’s yearly GDP by between 2 and 3%.

The country recently reported a 50% drop in the number of detected and diagnosed cases of TB, between March and June 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Internationally •

More than 95% of TB deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries, and it is among the top three causes of death for women between the ages of 15 and 44.

484 000 people proved to be resistant to rifampicin (the most effective first-line drug) globally in 2018, of which 80% had Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

According to the WHO, 3.3 billion US dollars is needed annually to fill the resource gap for actioning existing global TB interventions. n

54 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021


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POPI ACT

BY JESSIE TAYLOR

POPI ACT:

CEO’S REGISTRATION AS INFORMATION OFFICERS Information Officers – a vital cog in the wheel of protecting personal information. With only three months left to fully comply with the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, many companies need to ensure they register their Information Officers this month. This position is key to managing the requirements of the new regulations and South African companies should not neglect this critical area. Registrations for Information Officers will close on 31 March 2021. Protecting information The POPI Act came into effect on 1 July 2020, with South African businesses given a year to comply. The POPI Act aims to protect personal information

processed by both public and private bodies. The Act introduces certain minimum requirements for companies in the processing of personal information and establishes rights for individuals around unsolicited electronic communications and automated decision making. The Act also provides for the establishment of the Information Regulator. Simply put, the privacy law ensures that companies will no longer be allowed to keep your personal information on their databases indefinitely. But along with the necessary systems companies need to implement under POPI, is the appointment of an Information Officer – a vital role in complying with the legislation. Under POPI, the Information Officer is

56 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

automatically the head of the organisation. The Information Officer’s role is governed by both POPI and PAIA and will require balancing the public’s right to access information with the right of a person to have their personal information protected. Every organisation is required to have an Information Officer, regardless of size or whether it is a public or private body. The responsibility of the Information Officer is to encourage compliance with POPI and working with the Information Regulator where necessary, such as in the event of any investigation. The Information officer will also need to deal with any requests made to the company regarding POPI, such as requests to update information.


Information officers will be essential in developing and enforcing information processing procedures, as well as implementing data protection and security policies. The Information Officer will also need to handle any complaints and prepare reports required by the Information Regulator. The responsibility of Information Officers includes ensuring that a personal information impact assessment is done to ensure that adequate measures and standards exist to comply with POPI. The Information Officer will also need to ensure internal awareness sessions are carried out within the company. What does this mean for your business? Before an Information Officer can take up the role, their company will need to register them with the Information Regulator. The deadline for this registration, based on a draft guideline published by the Regulator, is 31 March 2021. Some people, by default of their positions, will

automatically be in the role of Information Officer. For public bodies, this could be the CEO, Director-General or municipal manager. For private bodies, the owner of the business is the Information Officer – this includes sole proprietor, a partner, or the CEO or Managing Director (or equivalent) of a company. While the head of a business is automatically the Information Officer, he or she will still need to register with the Information Regulator.

with POPI and processing of personal information. Should the Information Officer appoint Deputy Information Officers, this will need to be done in writing and they will need to be registered with the Information Regulator before they take up their roles. The contact details of the Information Officer and Deputy Information Officer/s will be published on the website of the Information Regulator. n

Candidates will need to complete an “Information Officer’s Registration Form” and submit this to the Information Regulator. After registration, the details of Information Officers and Deputy Information Officers will need to be updated with the Information Regulator, either on an annual basis or when they have changed. The Information Officer can appoint as many delegates, or Deputy Information Officers, as necessary However, the Information Officer carries the ultimate responsibility for compliance

What is the Information Regulator?

The Information Regulator (South Africa) is an independent body established under the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, which is subject only to the law and the constitution. It is accountable to the National Assembly. The Information regulator is, among others, empowered to monitor and enforce compliance by public and private bodies with the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) and the POPI Act. The Information Regulator is also responsible for issuing codes of conduct for different sectors and making guidelines to assist bodies with the development and application of codes of conduct.

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 57


TECH & COVID

BY JESSIE TAYLOR

STREAMLINING THE VACCINATION PROCESS THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

T

he global pandemic has created a fertile ground for new ideas to germinate, allowing medical advances and technological solutions to grow out of the crisis. One such technological advancement is helping the South African government manage the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine. The Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) allows South Africans to register online to receive their Covid-19 vaccination. Currently focussed on healthcare workers, the EVDS will ultimately be rolled out country-wide to facilitate the administration of vaccines. Arming healthcare workers for the fight against Covid-19 The EVDS is a digital registration portal that collects basic information about those applying for a vaccination. This information is used to support the vaccine rollout by ensuring the correct number of vaccines are distributed to

the vaccination sites at which they’re needed, while also building a patient database to allow the government to monitor who has received their inoculation. Only frontline healthcare workers are currently being vaccinated, as the government continues the rollout of the 160 000 doses received by Johnson & Johnson under the Sisonke Project.

The system has been developed with the purpose of ensuring we lay a solid foundation for digital health information systems At the launch of the EDVS on Wednesday 3 February, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said more than 34 000 frontline workers had already registered. He said those who had registered included clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers from both the public and private sectors.

58 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

Medical students and traditional workers will also be eligible to receive the inoculations. “If you’re working in a professional healthcare setting, you need to be registered. Anyone who touches patients, whether you are a porter, security guard or cleaner, and everyone who’s at risk, must register,” said Mkhize. The registration process will also accommodate those who may not have digital access. Vaccination candidates who have not registered will not be denied vaccination, and they will be able to register at the vaccination sites. “You’ll be registered at the vaccination site. It will just take a few minutes longer. However, we encourage healthcare workers to register because it will help us to know how to refine our current allocations and get enough vaccines to the right centres at the right time,” Mkhize added.


Building a digital vaccination database The portal collects general personal details, including name and surname, and the system will automatically calculate the date of birth. The system also requires an email address and cell phone number, explains the Health Department’s Acting Chief Operating Officer (COO), Milani Wolmarans. Healthcare workers currently registering for the vaccine are also asked to fill in their information about employment and medical aid scheme. Wolmarans has assured workers their data will be protected when they register for the vaccine, and that system has undergone penetration testing. The portal is managed through the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and is owned by the National Department of Health. The EVDS will verify a person’s medical care worker status by checking against the employment data or other organisations that hire or regulate healthcare workers. “Therefore, while it’s possible to register on the site if one is not a healthcare worker, the system will automatically prioritise verified healthcare workers for the period of phase one,” Mkhize explained. Mkhize said it is very easy to register, takes less than one megabyte and about two minutes to complete the registration process. The EDVS has been designed off the health department’s current health

patient registration system, manages over 59 million records. This has ensured that the system will not crash during the sign-ups and will allow for an integrated data management system. This model marks the beginning of what Mkhize believes will be a complete vaccination health information system - from registration to certification.

Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) in a nutshell. The EVDS allows healthcare workers to register to receive inoculation against Covid-19. The information gathered through the registration process allows the Department of Health to identify the healthcare workers who are eligible for vaccine and prioritise the rollout of the dose.

“The system has been developed with the purpose of ensuring we lay a solid foundation for digital health information systems that inform the right national policies and interventions. The system can capture the relevant metrics of all South Africans that will be vaccinated and ensure they are contactable, and complete the certification process, such that they’re easy to obtain,” he said.

The system also allows for planning the supply of vaccines and allocation to the vaccination sites nearest the vaccination beneficiary. The EVDS will also allow for communication with beneficiaries on their eligibility, site of vaccination and any follow-up vaccination appointments. n

How does Electronic Vaccination Data System (EVDS) Self Registration work? All healthcare workers need to enroll at vaccine.enroll.health. gov.za They will be requested to submit the following information in three steps: • • • • • •

identity number name and surname email and cellphone number employment information professional registration details details of medical aid scheme.

After registering, healthcare workers will receive an SMS notification that they have registered, and appointment information will be communicated via SMS.

Dr Zwelini Lawrence Mkhize Minister of Health

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 59


PROVINCIAL FOCUS: WESTRN CAPE

BY JESSIE TAYLOR

Connecting the dots for safer taxi commutes

A

s lockdown regulations ease and the economy further opens up, the Western Cape Government has introduced a pilot project to improve public transport services in the province. The project is aimed at the largest public transport sector in the province – minibus taxis. Over nine months, around 1 300 minibus taxis across the province will take part in the incentive programme. The Blue Dot Taxi Service Pilot rewards improved driving behaviour and higher service quality while encouraging a reduction in illegal operations and conflict.  Fulfilling public transport needs Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and Public Works Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela officially launched the pilot project in March, saying it responds to the urgent need to improve public transport in the Western Cape.

The province relies on the minibus taxi sector to provide transport for commuters, especially in metros such as Cape Town where apartheidstyle spatial planning has separated much of the workforce from economic hubs.

Around a third of commuters make use of minibus taxis to travel to work, as opposed to the 1.6% commuting via train. According to the Statistics SA National Household Travel Survey, released in March, over a third of residents in the province travel for work. Many of these trips are taken on a minibus taxi with statistics showing that over 4.8 million taxi trips were taken every month in the Western Cape in 2018. Comparatively, around a

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third of commuters make use of minibus taxis to travel to work, as opposed to the 1.6% commuting via train. Madikizela adds: “The minibus taxi industry is vital to our economy, providing transport to hundreds of thousands of our citizens every day. In fact, minibus taxis move more people in the Western Cape than any other form of public transport.” As the largest provider of public transport services in the province, minibus taxis deliver an essential service that is vital to the functioning of the economy. However, these services also experience several challenges including safety and quality issues, illegal operations, and violent conflict. “These problems are aggravated by the industry’s current


economic fundamentals which incentivise fare-chasing, destructive competition, recruitment of illegal operators, and route contestation. This is further exacerbated by a lack of government support and investment in the industry, which receives only about 1% of public transport funding nationally,” says Winde.

operations and violent conflict. Under the programme, eight new companies have been established by the Western Cape’s regional taxi councils. These companies, along with the South African National Taxi Council’s (SANTACO) established company Umanyano Travel Services, will participate in the initiative.

Madikizela said the industry has operated without significant investment and support from the government for far too long – something he believes will change significantly through the implementation of the Blue Dot Taxi Service.

Umanyano Travel Services was created to participate in the Province’s Red Dot Taxi Service, an ongoing partnership between the Western Cape Government and the provincial minibus taxi industry to deliver transport services in support of the fight against COVID-19. This project formed the basis for the development of the Blue Dot Taxi Service.

“We are striving to fundamentally shift the industry’s existing economic drivers which incentivise fare-chasing, competition, recruitment of illegal operators, and route contestation.

Winde says: “Our response throughout Covid-19 has been innovative, agile and responsive and the Red Dot Service has been a shining example of that. The Blue Dot service shows this government’s commitment to continuing to deliver services in a way that is innovative, and in a way that contributes to the key pillars of our recovery-jobs, safety and dignity and wellbeing. This will not only provide safer, more dignified transport but will also allow people to travel to work and to access economic opportunities while supporting jobs in the taxi industry.” Participating taxis will each have distinctive Blue Dot branding so that they can be easily identified by passengers and

Today, we have gathered to celebrate a great milestone for public transport and the minibus taxi industry. Our engagements with the industry’s provincial and regional structures have been extremely positive, and the enthusiasm expressed for the project has been heartening to witness in these challenging times,” says Madikizela. An innovative, agile response The Blue Dot Taxi pilot project aims to address two of the industry’s most challenging issues, namely illegal

Bonginkosi Madikizela Minister of Transport and Public Works

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 61


the public.Participating vehicles will be fitted with a tracker, monitored by the government, and rewarded for good performance, including good customer service and improved driver behaviour.

Passengers will be able to provide feedback on the service by cellphone, which will influence taxi ratings and rewards as well as raising standards. Madikizela concludes: “Blue Dot Taxi has the potential to be a game-

changer for public transport in the Western Cape, resulting in real and lasting improvement for both the passengers and the industry.” n

How the Blue Dot Taxi Service works: Participating vehicles are fitted with tracking technology, monitored by the government, and rewarded for good performance.

Ratings should be based on whether the taxi is speeding, driving safely, following the rules of the road or over overly full.

If you take a Blue Dot taxi you can rate the service anonymously by dialling *134*3047# at no cost. Alternatively, you can WhatsApp "Hi" to 073 249 2152 with the taxi’s unique number and your rating.

Six regions are taking part in the Blue Dot taxi service pilot:

1 2 3

Mitchells Plain Boland Eden

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4 5 6

Greater Cape Town Northern Two Oceans


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Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 63


PPP FRAMEWORK

BY NATIONAL TREASURY

South Africa: Reviewing the PPP framework

T

o revitalise the economy and meet the National Development Plan (NDP) goals of halving unemployment and poverty by 2030, the establishment of a competitive infrastructure base is vital. However, government infrastructure budgets have come under significant pressure over the past few years due to lower economic growth and competing priorities such as funding for higher education and compensation of employees. The private sector can play an important role in partnering with the government to implement infrastructure projects. The National Development Plan recognises the importance of partnerships between the public and private sectors in accelerating infrastructure investment to the required levels. It also recognises that greater

use of public-private financing will likely result in better planning and improved feasibility studies, resulting in more rigorous assessment and accountability of infrastructure projects. Publicprivate partnerships (PPPs) can therefore play an even bigger role in the development of infrastructure projects in the country.

A number of lessons learnt have since been incorporated into the draft recommendations report The PPP framework has been in existence since mid-2000. To date, 37 PPP projects valued at over R90-billion have been completed. PPPs in operations include projects in the following sectors: health, transport, tourism, water and sanitation, and office accommodation However, the

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success of PPPs has also had its own challenges. Over the past few years, PPP deal flow in SA has been declining, from an estimated R10.7 billion in 2011/12 to R5.6 billion in 2019/20. SA has been unable to maintain the momentum of the early successes of its PPP program where 19 projects closed between 1998-2004. By contrast, only 9 projects closed between 2005-07, and only 6 projects closed from 2008 to 2019. The decline in PPPs can be attributable to some of the perceptions and criticisms of PPPs in SA, which state that PPPs are cumbersome and that it takes a long time to conclude the PPP cycle and implement projects. The decline is happening at a time when the economy is underperforming and tax revenue is below expectations.


Why was the review necessary? •

potential growth rate. Many of the reforms announced involve pooling resources with the private sector, multilateral development banks and development finance institutions to fund infrastructure investment more effectively. PPPs therefore offer an opportunity to increase government investments and contribute to economic growth.

The objective of the review is to address concerns, perceptions and criticism raised about PPPs with the hope of increasing PPPs and crowd in private sector funding. SA had its first PPP over 20 years ago and since then, the PPP framework has not been reviewed. This review was therefore necessary to ensure that lessons are drawn to increase the implementation of PPPs going forward. The country has been experiencing low economic growth for some time. COVID-19 has worsened our economic trajectory. The economic recovery plan announced in October 2020 prioritises infrastructure spending to support the economy in the short term, and longer range reforms to boost the

The Presidency has reiterated the need to ensure that government partners with the private sector in the implementation of infrastructure projects. The Infrastructure Fund announced by the President offer an opportunity for increased partnership between government and the private sector. The fund provides government support for co-financing of programmes and projects that blend public and private resources. Most of the blended

financed projects coming from the IF are expected to be one form of PPP or another. Progress to date The National Treasury initiated the review of the PPP framework with three workshops in September and November 2019. Members of the public and private sectors were invited to share their experiences and lessons learnt on PPPs. A number of lessons learnt have since been incorporated into the draft recommendations report. A workshop has been organised to present final recommendations with the hope that they will be validated before they are fully adopted. The recommendations developed have been clustered into three categories: those that can be implemented in the short term (< 6 months), medium term (between 6 and 12 months) and long term (between 12 and 24 months).

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 65


Some of the recommendations made

1

Centralising and improving the screening and assessment of projects and proposals. Establishing a PPP regulator, and country - and sector-specific

8

Setting out clear timeframes for different

9

Standardising project preparation

project phases to reduce the PPP project planning cycle.

benchmarks for cost and efficiency.

2

Simplifying value-for-money assessments and

3

Implementing measures that facilitate

4

Installing a system that monitors and

introducing economic valuations of all projects above a certain threshold.

market consultation to obtain feedback on projects and inform the procurement strategy.

evaluates projects to draw lessons for better project planning and implementation.

requirements for certain smaller projects and contract templates across sectors.

10

Integrating PPP policies into the infrastructure

11

Amending regulations and legislation to

delivery management systems.

exempt smaller projects from onerous requirements, taking specific conditions into consideration.

5

Streamlining the procurement evaluation

6

Building PPP capacity across

7

Building and retaining the skills required in

process for PPPs to reduce the time it takes to appoint a preferred bidder.

government institutions including contract management practices.

the public sector to improve the planning and management of PPPs.

Most of these recommendations, focused on national and provincial PPPs, also apply to municipalities. In addition, the review of the municipal PPP framework specifically recommended reducing the number of public consultations, increasing the involvement of the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency and simplifying the unsolicited proposal framework in line with municipal regulations.

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n


Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 67


GLOBAL MATTERS

Global

BY FIONA WAKELIN

Matters

refugees fleeing Syria, Iraq and

Her tenacity has paid off with

and Mediterranean seas, with

in Germany increasing in 2020

Afghanistan across the Aegean thousands losing their lives on the way. Under her guidance,

Germany famously adopted an

“open-border” policy. This extensive

After 16 years in public office,

Angela Merkel is stepping down

as German Chancellor. And what

historic events she has witnessed, with seismic shifts happening not only in Europe, but around the

world – from the 2008 financial meltdown to Covid in 2020.

Not only was she at the helm

in Germany during the global

meltdown, but she was key in the response to the Eurozone debt

crisis which could have led to the economic collapse of Greece,

Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Cyprus. In 2015, she was faced with

making policy decision around

the influx of more than a million

and, for the first time, overtaking

generation from coal, natural gas, and oil in the country.

support for refugees was “both a

On her watch, the scar of the Iron

and an example of economic

from West has now become a

remarkable humanitarian gesture,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel to step down later this year

renewable power production

pragmatism. Complex, costly, and controversial up front, integration efforts have already had some positive short term economic

impact. More importantly, they

may emerge as part of a much-

needed solution to the long term

economic challenges posed by a rapidly aging native population.” – WENR

Merkel is an ambassador for green economies and she more than earned her nickname “Climate

Curtain which had divided East green belt, home to more than

600 rare and endangered species of birds, mammals, plants and

insects. In 2018, Merkel was elected for a fourth term in office, but with the loss of a number of votes her

party formed a collation and she decided she would not run for a

fifth term. Now that she is stepping down, her party has a new leader — Armin Laschet who will lead the

Christian Democratic Union in the September polls.

Chancellor” for her long-standing

After the UK’s exit from the EU, the

emissions cuts. Her last Council of

bloc – this has been exacerbated

international promotion of carbon the European Union presidency forged consensus among EU member states on a more

ambitious 2030 climate target and a pandemic stimulus programme that promises a green recovery.

68 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

European Union remains a divided by varied responses of different leaders to the Covid outbreak. However, Merkel’s handling of

the pandemic entrenched her

reputation as a pragmatic leader, whose shoes will be hard to fill.


medicinal plants and is the result

change. It was adopted by 196

the Conservation Fund, and Trees

December 2015 and entered into

of a partnership between the city, Atlanta.

to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to

gardens, are low-maintenance,

pre-industrial levels. To achieve

sustainable arrangements of

this long-term temperature goal,

edible plants that are designed

countries aim to reach global

to mimic natural ecosystems.

peaking of greenhouse gas

Comprised mostly of perennial

emissions as soon as possible

plants, there’s no need for tilling,

Agreement is a landmark in the

popular in European and North

multilateral climate change

American gardening in the

process because, for the first

1980s, the concept has taken off

time, a binding agreement brings

in recent years as cities have

the world’s first recipient of

there are more than 70 other

Covax with 600,000 doses to be

planted across the US.” – Lindsay

Nana Akufo-Addo, became

spaces in their planning. To date,

a coronavirus vaccine from

free food forests that have been

distributed across the country.

Campbell, Modern Farmer

“It is important that I set the

And whilst the initiative, funded

by being the first to have it, so

an innovative project aimed

comfortable about taking this

insecurity, it has also been a

example that this vaccine is safe

by a US Forest Service grant is

that everybody in Ghana can feel

primarily at addressing food

vaccine,” - President Akufo-Addo

catalyst for community building

Atlanta plants the United States’ largest free food forest

for the city and its residents.

all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts

to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.”

- The United Nations On 4 November 2020, the U.S.

became the only country to leave the agreement, which had been

signed when Barack Obama was president. Under Joe Biden, the red pen has been typexed out,

and education. A definite win-win

Atlanta’s busy airport, and a

Ring those bells – the U.S. has rejoined the Paris Climate agreement

grocery store, the largest free

On 19 February the United States

planted. With one in three

Climate Agreement after Donald

area living in poverty, the nearly

during his presidency. “The Paris

2 500 pesticide-free edible and

international treaty on climate

30-minute bus ride to the nearest

world by mid-century. The Paris

While food forests first became

started to integrate edible public

Ten minutes from the city of

to achieve a climate neutral

weeding, fertilizing or irrigation.

Ghana’s 76-year old President,

food forest in the U.S. has been

officially rejoined the Paris

residents of the Browns Mill

Trump put a red pen through it

3-hectare forest is abundant with

Agreement is a legally binding

force on 4 November 2016. Its

goal is to limit global warming

“Food forest also known as forest

Ghana’s President is first in the world to receive Covax vaccination

Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12

with people around the world

celebrating the reinvigoration of the global fight against climate change n

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 69


WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR A PROFESSION TO BE RELEVANT? BY CHANTYL MULDER Accountants (IFAC) stipulates that its mission is to serve the public’s interest. This is a nobility that sometimes gets forgotten. If we think about the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), it is an institution that serves its members and associates, regulates their behaviour, delivers talent into the economy and society, upholds standards, but ultimately serves and supports members in fulfilling their duty of serving society. If SAICA and its members and associates do not serve society, the profession would lose its relevance.

Every professional, regardless of whether they are an engineer, lawyer, doctor or accountant, exists to serve society. From the onset, we believe that professionals have a duty to serve society. This stems from the fact that, first of all, they are a part of the elite class and are in the very top echelons of leadership and, by the nature of their positions and knowledge, it is for the benefit of society to invest in their value. It may sound altruistic, but it is something we believe – that all professionals have a noble cause to bring to bear, a noble obligation to serve society. One that does not warrant non-payment of servitude. For accounting professionals this mandate goes even deeper. In its Constitution, the International Federation of

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Some query, for example, if it’s reasonable for an accountant to serve as a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and have the same obligation, and public duty, as a public auditor. Whilst the public auditor might certify accounts, this brings a different responsibility. In the same way as a CFO who provides information for decision making supports the entity that he or she serves so that it meets its own responsibilities, the entity has a responsibility to society. It has a responsibility to deliver financial or commercial returns to its investors, but it also has a duty to behave as responsible corporate citizens. Serving society informs our sense of what SAICA should always be (inside that sweet spot of relevance where the organisation needs to find itself) as an important facet to help its members become more accustomed to what it means to serve the public interest while it offers support to this quest. SAICA, therefore, must continue to create platforms for members to collaborate in delivering that value so needed by society. It has to be about dealing with the really pertinent questions of our time. In a nutshell, we are not going to be relevant as long as we don’t help our members understand their public interest


responsibilities, while also failing to set up platforms for their efficiency. It isn’t helpful for SAICA and the profession to have a narrow view of what society expects of its membership. Ultimately, we should be aware that the profession doesn’t exist for itself. It exists to serve society. In 2015, world leaders gathered at the United Nations to adopt an ambitious framework of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 associated targets to address the full range of social and economicdevelopment issues facing people around the world. These goals included finding solutions for poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, environment and social justice. When bunched up these goals, provide governments, businesses and civil society with a universal roadmap to tackle urgent challenges, to meaningfully engage with emerging risks and discover new opportunities for creating value. Whenever we think about themes relating to ‘a profession of national value’, the UN SDGs or nation building, we are reminded that it is imperative that we find a very good way to anchor all of this very good work in the idea that the profession needs to be in a position to be able to solve some of society’s most pressing problems. We are not going to do that by ourselves as SAICA. We can only achieve this by ensuring that our members understand their public duty. Of course, making sure that they have the technical competencies they need to have is also important and we shouldn’t take it for granted.

– in their personal and business capacity – in assisting to help the world reach the SDGs by 2030. SAICA has undertaken to track the manner in which its members are contributing to a better world and showcase this in a special annual report. Through the voluntary contributions of our members and associates, SAICA has, for the third year running, extracted key learnings that can help build the momentum required across the sector. It is notable, for example, that quality education, poverty eradication and inequality remain top three concerns among both our individual member and company responses. This is no surprise when you consider that these areas remain the key priorities South Africa needs to focus on if we are to move our country forward. We are encouraged by our profession’s commitment to the SDGs. However, the commitment and actions of individuals alone is not enough to see us deliver on the Global Goals. As Goal 17 outlines, it is the partnerships-based approach underpinned by collective actions that will truly see us reach the targets set in the 2030 Agenda. As SAICA, we have united around the SDGs to deepen the country’s understanding of the challenges, opportunities and dynamics that can be leveraged to accelerate and prioritise the delivery of the SDGs. It should be incumbent on all professionals – not just those in the accountancy profession – to rally behind these Goals for the greater good of our country and our planet. SAICA’s 2020 SA Chartered Accountancy Profession and the Sustainable Development Goals Report is available at http://saicasdg.co.za/sdg-reports.

As the leading accountancy body in South Africa, SAICA has been calling on its members not only to ‘adopt’ one of the SDGs, but also show the work that members do

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 71


TAKING YOUR CREDIT SCORE FINANCIAL FITNESS

BY CHARNDRÉ EMMA KIPPIE

Your credit score impacts your entire financial future Here’s what you need to consider

T

he term ‘credit score’ is often met with much apprehension. We hear it all the time: ‘you need a good credit score to qualify for loans’. However, if you didn’t already know, it turns out that things are much more complex than that. When it comes to making big purchases, like your first set of wheels or home, applying for a student loan or a credit card, or even taking out a cellphone contract with a mobile service provider, you will need to have established a good credit record in order to access any of these financial facilities.

credit score, meaning there’s no means whereby a lender may be able to determine your credit risk levels, and therefore they will not be able to consider you for loans. Having a credit score is the only way to qualify for credit, and this means applying for small loans that are easily accessible. When you are responsible about paying these loans back, you are establishing a good credit score.

Basically, lenders need to know that you’re not a financial risk should they agree to borrow you money. The notion of ‘credit’ refers to the concept of borrowing money from a financial institution which you are then required to pay back, at a specific interest rate. Without a credit record you will not have a

Secured Credit: when one borrows against an asset such as a car or home property

Types of credit In terms of categories of credit, there are two kinds: secured and unsecured.

Unsecured Credit: the likes of store cards,credit cards or personal loans When dealing with any type of credit, you will initially need to fill

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out an application to the credit lender, who will then evaluate your credit positioning before making a decision on whether or not to follow through with borrowing you any amount of money. Your credit history will also be a determining factor for the type of interest rate you’ll be offered when paying back the money you borrow. Rule of thumb: the healthier your credit history, the better the interest rate you’ll be offered. Monitoring your credit score When being evaluated, lenders will categorise you as either a ‘low risk borrower’ or a ‘high risk borrower’. If your credit score is high, you’ll be considered a low risk. However, if it’s low, you’ll automatically be seen as a high risk borrower, which is not ideal. Many of us are hesitant to take out loans or get credit cards because it’s essentially opening doors up for debt to creep in. However, there is a difference


between ‘good debt’ and ‘bad debt’. Good debt will potentially boost your net worth and assist in improving your quality of life. Bad debt, however, occurs when we borrow money for the purpose of mere consumption or to purchase assets that depreciate at a rapid pace. How we practice good debt management ultimately depends on our individual financial circumstances and fostering a healthy relationship with money and our cash flow. Credit bureaus assess your financial history These factors are considered as markers of how likely you are to uphold future credit commitments, and are included in your credit report: Personal account information • Payment history • Amounts owed • Age of accounts • Judgements and Defaults

Credit score ratings

Here’s how to understand your credit rating and standing with lenders:

Amount of times your credit report was requested for viewing by credit providers

Where to find your credit report It is legally stated that all South African citizens are entitled to one free credit report, annually, that can be obtained via one of the registered credit bureaus. These include TransUnion, Compuscan, Experian, and XDS. Should you wish to receive more than one credit report per year, you may get a second from any of the abovementioned credit bureaus at a minimal fee. Free credit reports are, luckily, also available from ClearScore. Tips for improving your credit score If you’re not quite happy with your current credit score, or you desperately need to move from ‘Sub-prime’ to an ideal credit candidate, there are a few steps you can take to gradually improve your credit score. Remember, your credit

score is never fixed, and your score may vary depending on the many different scoring mechanisms of financial institutions. Here are 3 top tips for bettering your credit score: 1.

Do not make late payments or miss a payment. Paying on time exhibits responsible, reliable behaviour, making you a lower risk borrower to the credit bureau and financial institutions.

2.

If you’ve taken out big loans, make sure you have a solid repayment strategy in place. If needed, Debt consolidation services are also available to make your debt more manageable.

3.

Practice healthy spending habits (limit this as much as possible) and take more accountability as a consumer. n

Excellent credit. These individuals have a score of 650+, making them ideal candidates to apply for credit, and receive very low interest rates. Very good credit. These borrowers have a score of 600 - 650, and can get access to great loan programs and offers - at a good rate. Good credit. With a score of 550 - 600, these individuals can receive good deals at a reasonable interest rate. Sub-prime. These candidates have a score of 490 - 550, and may struggle to gain access to loans, making their interest rates higher. Poor credit. Individuals in this category score 490 and below, and may not qualify for loans. Improving their credit score should be their main focus.

Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 73


74 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021


Public Sector Leaders • March 2021 | 75


Travelling Abroad? Book with Woodford Car Hire and Pick-Up in London.

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South Africa’s largest independent car hire company. 76 | Public Sector Leaders • March 2021

Profile for Topco Media

Public Sector Leaders | March 2021