South African presidency rejects report that performance agreements between ministers and Ramaphosa now off track

The South African presidency on Tuesday released a statement rejecting a report saying the performance agreements between ministers and President Cyril Ramaphosa was now off track. The presidency said nothing could be further from the truth. Read the full report below.

The Business Day newspaper erroneously reported that President Ramaphosa has reneged on his State of the Nation Address’ commitment to hold the Members of the Executive accountable through the signing of Performance Agreements. This is attributed to the supposed pronouncement by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), in a parliamentary portfolio committee meeting, that the target of signing of the Performance Agreements was removed from the revised Annual Performance Plan (APP). 

During the presentation of the revised 2020-2021 APP of the DPME, to the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, on 10 July 2020, a question arose on the implementation of the Performance Agreements for Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Premiers and Directors-General, as announced by His Excellency President Ramaphosa in the State of the Nation Address on 13 February 2020. The question was specifically directed at the Minister in the Presidency who unfortunately could not attend the meeting due to other urgent commitments.  

The Portfolio Committee resolved that the Minister will be requested to clarify the position of the department in writing to the committee. 

The Minister has since written to the committee indicating that contrary to the misunderstanding that might have arisen, government is going ahead with the signing of the Performance Agreements of Members of the Executive, in line with the revised APPs of the different national government departments.

Initially, the President had intended to sign the Performance Agreements with Ministers from 26 March 2020. In this period, COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation, and on 15 March 2020, President Ramaphosa declared a National State of Disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act, to combat the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected some of the initial plans and budgets of the various departments leading to the review of the APPs. The reprioritisation of budgets also had an impact on the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) targets for financial year 2020-2021, and departments’ Strategic Plans 2020-2025 and APPs 2020/2021. 

From the revised APPs as submitted to Parliament last week, we are extracting the responsibilities of Ministers. We are collating these Ministerial responsibilities into draft Performance Agreements to be signed with the President. This process is almost at its tail end. 

“After the President has received the draft revised agreements, he will make his own inputs and further consult with the individual ministers on their revised Performance Agreements. Once this process is concluded, the President will then sign the revised Performance Agreements with the Ministers in the next coming weeks,” said Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu.

“Government remains committed to continue to enhance accountability through a structured performance management system at the executive level,” Mthembu added. 

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