Government departments work in five ‘clusters’ to address challenges like skills development, job creation, poverty and service delivery. At the beginning of each year, after the President’s State of the Nation Address, the Cabinet Ministers brief the media on how the clusters - and the skills development programme - will contribute to government’s Programme of Action for the Year. Here are just a few of the highlights from the media briefings.
This cluster’s work will be closely aligned to Asgisa. Some of its projects focus on the improvement of the public transport system, water supply and skills development. One project aims to lower the cost of information and communication technology - once in place, the costs of telecommunications like landline telephones will be reduced. Support for small business will be another focus.
Improving social-grants delivery and reducing the risk of grants being misused is a priority. In land reform, there will be a review of the “willing seller, willing buyer” approach - this is where government identifies land owned by white farmers for redistribution and the farmers have the chance to put the land up for sale. Expansion of the Early Childhood Development Programme will contribute to growth of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The cluster also focuses on access to basic water and sewerage facilities and to affordable medicines.
Skills development strategy
The major challenge is to improve the quality of education at all levels. Poor schools will get better resources, while no-fee schools are being introduced in the poorest areas. The implementation of an Employment Services System will mean work seekers can be linked up with information about vacancies and learning opportunities across the economy.
Justice, Crime Prevention and Safety
Better crime prevention and public safety, the strengthening of the criminal justice system and improvement of our national security continue to be the main focus of the cluster’s work. Efforts to end violence and abuse against women and children will be strengthened by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill which Cabinet will submit to Parliament. It will give attention to strengthening capacity to do these things, including training more police and police reservists, and to reducing the number of illegal firearms in the country.
International Relations, Peace and Security
The focus here is on our country’s relations with the rest of the world, and especially within our continent. It includes working with the African Union and United Nations through peace missions in other African countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. As part of preparations for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the Department of Sports and Recreation has started a programme called Sports for Development and Peace, with the United Nations.
In working to strengthen the state’s ability to deliver service and to implement the programmes of government, the cluster attends to the situation in all three spheres, national, provincial and local. Project Consolidate will continue to target improved municipal service delivery, by assisting 136 municipalities experiencing difficulties. The training of public servants will be improved to focus on the skills need for effective and efficient service.