South African president pushes for “capable state”

Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged on Monday to build “a capable state,” saying improved governance will better the lives of South Africans, especially the poor.

Despite progress in many areas, instances of service delivery failures remain, Ramaphosa said in his weekly address from the Desk of the President.

A more capable state will mean better access to services and opportunities that can break the cycle of poverty, the president said.

“As public representatives and civil servants we derive our legitimacy from our ability to act professionally as we serve the public and manage state resources to the benefit of the public,” Ramaphosa said.

He added that public servants must try to ensure that they embody the principle of putting people first.

“It is through such an approach that we can have a state that places people and their needs at its center,” Ramaphosa said.

The president identified weak implementation, poor coordination, lack of alignment among departments and ineffective oversight as the major challenges confronting the government.

These challenges have meant that policies and programs have not had the necessary impact on people’s lives, he said.

Ramaphosa said a capable state starts with the people who work in it.

“Officials and managers must possess the right financial and technical skills and other expertise,” he said.

He reaffirmed commitment to ending the practice of poorly qualified individuals being parachuted into positions of authority through political patronage. Enditem

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