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PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
18 May 1998
REPORT FOR THE HEARINGS ON THE PROVINCIAL REVIEW TASK TEAM’S REPORT: NORTH WEST PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATION
Document handed out :
The meeting discussed the content of the written report and what was said by the North West Director-General.
The Chairperson thanked the North West Province for responding to the Committee and giving a detailed report.
The report was given by Director-General Mokgoro, who apologised for the unavailability of the Premier. The Director-General immediately decried comparing the provinces as is being done by the media. Gauteng and Western Cape should not be the yardstick of any provincial success. North West had had to face the obstacles of integrating the former Bantustan administration. Amalgamation of various formerly different political areas has made implementation of its provincial vision take longer. Almost all other provinces continued with existing payroll and financial mangement systems while North West had to deal with System 38 (payroll) and Walker (financial system). Recruitment of expertise to the remote capital of Mafikeng, unlike the big city centres, is difficult. In addition, the rural nature of the greater part of the Province has made communication very difficult.
The province’s adoption of strategic priorities (and the tension between social responsibility and fiscal discipline) as well as staff training, as outlined in the document, were referred to.
Questions of the Committee:
It was asked how many of the officials were prosecuted and how many are still with the provincial government. The response was that the provincial government has done investigations in the Department of Education. Some action was taken against those involved. Suspension was not resorted to because it only serves as an interim measure to facilitate further investigation. Hearings will soon commence per the regulations of the Public Services Act, as a follow-up to the investigation.
Q: To what extent is the Province using its available technology to implement transformation?
The Director-General replied that the Province does not have access to media but BOP TV is utilised though it does not reach rural areas. However, road shows are very much in use as a vehicle.
Q: What makes the Ncholo Report so suspect according to the Director-General? The Ncholo Report, being a national policy, is adhered to by the provinces. Some provinces inherited poor administrations, unlike Gauteng and Western Cape, which had the privilege of using already existing infrastructure.
The Chairperson remarked that the committee was not in any position to compare provinces but only ranked what was seen as progress in various provinces instead of making all provinces compete. He asked what is wrong with eleven management system heads as the Director-General seems against it. He also mentioned the committee had raised the same concern about the Ncholo Report as was raised by the Director-General which is the delegation of powers to local government which would involve the redevelopment of personnel.
The response was that the management system was a political decision. If made it would be implemented but one officer would be able to deal with such duties given enough training. There are efforts being taken to transfer staff from the provincial to the local government but the budget constraints make it difficult and some people are reluctant to take transfers.
One member noted that it seems that some provincial governments did not budget for training and asked the Director-General to shed some light on the position of the North West. The Director-General replied that there is a training directorate in the province which implies some commitment and the North West Province has set aside funds for training. A pilot proposal is circulating which will demand that every employee must spend 14% of his time for training.
The process to address the racial polarisation in the Department of Transport was referred to and further information was requested. The response was that the extent of racial hostility had been overwhelming when the police transport departments were brought together and managed by a civil management team.
Further it was asked why there was an intention to move away from the Provincial Transformation Co-ordination Committee (PTCC) to a Provincial Transformation Project Team (PTPT) as why would that proposal be any better than the existing one. The Director-General replied that the PTCC consists of two members from each department and their task is to co-ordinate transformation. A provincial transformation project team (PTPT) which will have members from various departments seconded on a twelve-month (renewable) basis. This will eliminate the lack of loyalty by the people concerned as people are more loyal to their seniors than to outsider task teams.
Another member asked what was looked for when appointing managers. The Director-General said it was either a promotion or based on qualifications.
What had the Director-General picked up as a common issue in his tour around the province? Response: Three or four road shows have been conducted. The common complaints raised by people have been: lack of communication, lack of adequate staffing and office space.
Should there be a specific committee dealing with misconduct?
Response: This is a specific area of line-management and may remain so.
Why were they concentrating on gender and race, what about disability?
Response: This has been discussed with the Office of the Deputy President and a White Paper is circulating and being discussed. Quotas are being seriously considered.
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