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Operation Phakisa moves SA forward

Written by Bathandwa Mbola
Government aims to better the lives of South Africans by implementing its policies and programmes faster and more effectively through Operation Phakisa.

President Jacob Zuma says it is through initiatives such as Operation Phakisa that government is building a better life for all South Africans.Operation Phakisa is a version of the Big Fast Results methodology that was first applied by the Malaysian government, successfully, in the delivery of its economic transformation programme.

The operation addressed their national key priority areas such as, poverty, crime and unemployment.

It involves setting clear targets, monitoring progress and reporting on this publicly.

Through this initiative, the Malaysian government was able to achieve impressive results within a short period.

Launching the project, President Zuma said South Africa had renamed the Malaysian Big Fast Results approach Operation Phakisa – a Sesotho word meaning “Hurry Up” - to highlight the urgency with which government wants to deliver on some of the priorities contained in the National Development Plan.

The initiative will initially be introduced in two sectors, the ocean economy and health sector, especially clinics.

First phase

The first phase of implementation will focus on unlocking the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans.

President Zuma said government chose the ocean economy with good reason.

“South Africa is uniquely bordered by the ocean on three sides – east, south and west. With the inclusion of Prince Edward and Marion Islands in the southern ocean, the coastline is approximately 3 924km long,” he noted.

Despite this, the vast ocean space is relatively unexplored when it comes to its economic potential.

“The ocean has a potential to contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) up to R177 billion. The oceans also has a potential to contribute between eight hundred and one million direct jobs,” President Zuma said.

To tap into the oceans, government has identified four priority sectors, which Operation Phakisa will focus on. These are marine transport and manufacturing activities (such as coastal shipping, trans-shipment, boat building, repair and refurbishment); offshore oil and gas exploration; aquaculture (farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish and plants); and marine protection services and ocean governance.

Marine transport, manufacturing

Government will explore the country’s natural advantage in maritime transport and manufacturing by capturing the benefits of growing volumes of cargo handling, sea and coastal shipping and supporting transport activities such as storage and warehousing.

The country is also expected to use its location and expertise to increase its share of the global marine manufacturing market, including ship-building and repair, rig repair and refurbishment or boat-building.

Offshore oil, gas exploration

Government is looking at creating a favourable environment for the exploration of oil and gas wells.

This will be done through relevant policies and legislation; promoting inclusive economic growth; addressing the skills gaps and overcoming infrastructure challenges.

Aquaculture

Government also wants to grow the aquaculture sector by increasing the value contribution of all segments across the aquaculture value chain, while creating jobs especially in fish processing and marketing.

Aquaculture is a relatively underdeveloped area in South Africa despite it being an increasingly important contribution to food security globally.

Marine protection services, governance

Government has recognised the need to continuously balance the economic opportunities, which the ocean space affords, with environmental protection.

This will be achieved by developing guidelines for the management of South Africa’s ocean space, improving the protection of South Africa’s oceans, particularly around critically endangered ecosystems, and addressing the skills gap, among others.

Second phase

The second phase of implementation the project will be to pilot the health sector’s Ideal Clinic Initiative to improve service delivery in the country’s clinics nationwide, which will start later in 2014.

The health sector laboratory will be undertaken in partnership with provinces, districts and clinic managers with the aim of producing a detailed plan for improving service delivery in public sector clinics in all provinces. This will include indicators, targets and timeframes as well as a guideline for clinic managers to develop and sustain these improvements.

President Zuma said Operation Phakisa would help move the country forward.

“The people of South Africa deserve much better from all of us. Through Operation Phakisa and all our other key strategic interventions to achieve the goals of the National Development Plan, we must work tirelessly to move our country forward and build a better life for all, especially the poor and the working class,” he said.