Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: REUTERS
Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: REUTERS

The state is not dysfunctional despite the problems the country faces, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.

In his weekly letter Ramaphosa said a capable state starts with people who work in it, yet the achievement of such a state is undermined by weak implementation.

Due to poor co-ordination and alignment between departments and lack of effective oversight policies, programmes lack the necessary impact on people’s lives, he said.

This is why his administration has prioritised the task of building a capable state.

“We are committed to end the practice of poorly qualified individuals being parachuted into positions of authority through political patronage. There should be consequences for all those in the public service who do not do their work,” Ramaphosa said.

“Much of the work will not be immediately apparent. But as we make progress, people will notice that [the] government does things faster.”

This comes as SA faces a host of problems including a crisis at the power utility Eskom, which is battling to keep the lights on, a cash crisis at the ailing state airline SAA and a weakening economy.

Diminish capacity

Ramaphosa said that in a capable state state-owned entities (SOEs) have to fulfil their mandates effectively and add value to the economy.

SOEs that could not deliver services, such as Eskom during the rolling blackouts and SAA that requires continued bailouts, diminish the state’s capacity.

“That is why a major focus of our work this year is to restore our SOEs to health. We will do this by appointing experienced and qualified boards and managers. We will be clarifying their mandates, and give them scope to execute those mandates,” Ramaphosa said.

The president insisted that the state is already improving, citing examples such as the quicker turnaround time in getting a passport or receiving a water licence.

He said as the state continues to improve people will notice less interruption of services, more roads being built, infrastructure being better maintained, more businesses opening up and more jobs being created.

“Those who follow such things, will notice that government audit outcomes are improving, money is being better used and properly accounted for,” Ramaphosa said.

He urged citizens and the private sector to become involved.

“Where [the] government needs help, we should be prepared to draw on the skills, expertise and resources of the private sector and civil society.

“If we all work together to build a more capable and developmental state, we will be that much closer to realising the South Africa that we all want,” Ramaphosa said.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za

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