Signing a performance agreement
A performance agreement signature session. (GCIS)
  • South Africa's cabinet ministers have promised a plan for cannabis, to unbundle Eskom, and 100,000 youth startups every year.
  • They've also signed up to deliver 5G (three years from now), and make sure everyone in South Africa lives 5.4 years longer, on average.
  • Here are some of the targets captured in performance agreements between President Cyril Ramaphosa and his ministers, made public this week.
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Some are specific, such as a 74% conviction rate in cable theft matters. Others are potentially troublesome, such as a promise to unbundle Eskom, splitting off transmission from generation.

Some are ambitious, such as creating 100,000 youthful startups – every year. Others could arguably do with a little more ambition, such as the intention to have 5G up and running in SA – three years from now.

This week President Cyril Ramaphosa belatedly made good on a promise to publish the performance agreements he signed with his cabinet ministers. They naturally contain much on the internal workings of government, and many obvious clauses. But there are some highlights too.

Here are some of the more interesting, unusual, and noteworthy targets South Africa's ministers have signed up to.

Thoko Didiza: Agriculture, land reform and rural development

  • Have an approved "cannabis master plan"

Angie Motshekga: Basic education

  • Get 80% of 4- and 5-year-olds into grade RR by 2024, and 99% of 5- and 6-year olds into Grade R by then too.
  • 15% more children must be school ready when they leave Grade R by 2022.
  • Have a curriculum for "coding and robotics" in place by 2023, with data analytics "and other 4IR subjects" piloted before 2022.
  • 35,000 matrics who achieve at least 60% in maths, and the same number in physical science

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams: Communications and digital technologies 

  • 5G spectrum licensed and "roll out by March 2024"
  • Internet access for 80% of the population by 2024
  • "South Africa will be in the top 10 in Africa for the price of 1G [sic] of data pricing by 2024

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula: Defence and military veterans

  • Erect three memorial sites in honour of fallen military veterans per year

Thulas Nxesi: Employment and labour

  • Approve or rejected 98% of applications for unemployment benefits within eight working days, and 98% of applications for maternity, adoption, or illness benefits within five working days, by 2022
  • Ensure Africans make up a minimum of 50% of middle and senior management in SA by 2024

Barbara Creecy: Environment, forestry and fisheries

  • 30% of waste diverted from landfill sites by 2024
  • Ensure 50% of all municipalities have "capacity to fund and implement climate change adaptation programmes and measures" by 2024
  • Rehabilitate another 263 wetlands

Tito Mboweni: Finance

  • Get SA into the top 50 countries for ease of doing business by 2024 (from 84th in 2019)
  • Draft legislation for the establishment of a state bank by March 2021
  • Introduce tax break and other measures that sees 100,000 youth start-ups created – per year

Zweli Mkhize: Health

  • Have the National Health Insurance (NHI) fund buying services by 2022/2023, and 90% coverage of the population by 2030
  • "Report into the root causes of medico-legal litigation outlining interventions to curb the scourge" by March 2021
  • Have "established and well-functioning" clinic or hospital boards at all 3,880 health facilities by April 2022
  • Increase life expectancy from 64.6 years in 2019 to 66.6 years by 2024, and to 70 years by 2030
  • Reduce maternal mortality to 100 per 100,000 live births (from 134), reduce infant mortality to 20 per 1,000 live births (from 23), and reduce under-5 mortality to 25 per 1,000 live births (from 32), all by 2024

Blade Nzimande: Higher education, science and innovation

  • 190,000 more university students on NSFAS bursaries, and 200,000 more TVET college students
  • 26,000 more students completing "a university qualification" per year,  and 1,300 more doctoral graduates per year
  • Raise 20% more research funding from abroad

Aaron Motsoaledi: Home affairs

  • Adjudicate 85% of critical-skills visa applications within four weeks

Lindiwe Sisulu: Human settlements, water and sanitation

  • Have the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project under construction by 2024, as well as a long list of other water schemes and dams due to be started, completed, or be ready to build
  • Upgrade 1,500 informal settlements 

Naledi Pandor: International relations and cooperation

  • Create a long-term strategy for which international bodies SA should pursue membership and candidature

Ronald Lamola: Justice and and correctional services

  • A 74% conviction rate among those arrested for cable theft

Gwede Mantashe: Mineral resources and energy

  • Improve the energy availability factor (which measures how much of SA's power station fleet is running) from 73.74% to more than 80% by 2024, with the responsibility to "create maintenance space for Eskom" through additional electricity generation elsewhere
  • Unbundle Eskom, with a transmission company set up by 2024
  • Procure 2,500MW of nuclear energy by 2024
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2024
  • Connect a million more people to the electricity grid

Jackson Mthembu: Minister in the Presidency

  • Submit scorecards on the performance of other ministers, and deputy ministers, to Ramaphosa.

Bheki Cele: Police

  • 70% conviction rate for corruption, whether in the private sector or government
  • Neutralise 90% of identified drug syndicates and organised criminal groups through arrests
  • Reduce reported contact crimes by 7.5% per year
  • Implement traditional policing in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga, as well as KwaZulu-Natal, before April 2023

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane: Minister in the Presidency for women, youth and persons with disabilities

  • Reduce the gender wage gap by half by 2024
  • 80% of government directors-general, and new heads of provincial departments, must be women

Pravin Gordhan: Public enterprises

  • "Roll out new rolling stock to various priority corridors" for Transnet Freight

Senzo Mchunu: Public service and administration

  • Develop, and have a approved, a "Lifestyle Audit Guideline" by March 2021

Patricia de Lille: Public works and infrastructure

  • Create five million "work opportunities" win the expanded public works programmer by 2024

Khumbudzo Ntshavheni: Small business development

  • Create a list of 1,00 products and services that must be bought from small businesses

Lindiwe Zulu: Social development

  • Reach 75% of teenagers though intervention programmes on teenage pregnancy and "risky behaviour" by 2024
  • Build 16 new early childhood development centres, and maintain or upgrade 292 more, by 2024
  • Add 2.3 million more social grant beneficiaries

Nathi Mthethwa: Sport, arts and culture

  • Support or build 60 community libraries by 2024
  • Implement 45 community art projects by 2024

Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane: Tourism

  • Train 500 young people as food safety quality assurers, and 252 as sommeliers.

Ebrahim Patel: Trade, industry and competition

  • By end 2021, have amendments ready for the Companies' Act "to provide for worker participation in company governance structures".

Fikile Mbalula: Transport

  • Transfer 10% of road freight to rail by 2024
  • Have 100% compliance with the the user-pay principle (as implemented in Gauteng's etoll freeways) by 2024

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