Chabane, Phillips Zuma’s ‘big chiefs’

2010-07-25 11:20

The performance monitoring and evaluation unit in President Jacob

Zuma’s office is emerging as the most powerful government department following a

complete overhaul of his office.

This has become clearer as ­Zuma, who has consistently said a quick

response to service ­delivery problems would be the hallmark of his

administration, turned the unit into a fully fledged department, led by Minister

in the Presidency Collins Chabane and his director-general, Sean Phillips.

The creation of the department has taken power away from Vusi

Mavimbela, who is the ­director-general in Zuma’s ­office, and has put Chabane

and Phillips in a position to know whether ministers and departments are

carrying out their work satisfactorily.

Officials in the president’s ­office said the monitoring and

evaluation department would determine Zuma’s legacy as the head of state.

“Remember that the president said he would like to change the way

government does things. You must now get your ID in three weeks, not five weeks.

That is his mission and that is what will set him apart from his predecessor,”

one ­official said.

Mavimbela, who is negotiating his exit with Zuma, is now

responsible mainly for the national orders, Cabinet matters and the Forum for


“This could explain Mavimbela’s irritation (with the changes in the

president’s office),” another official said.

Reverend Frank Chikane, the ex­-director-general for former

president Thabo Mbeki, was in charge of the overall work in the ­president’s


Speaking to reporters at the Union Buildings on Thursday ­after a

two-day Cabinet meeting, Zuma jokingly referred to Chabane and Phillips as the

“two big chiefs”.

He said he now knew what worked and what did not.

“The wheels of government turn slowly and some people say that is

how it is but I believe we can change that.

That is why I said we have to do

things differently and that is why I introduced the outcomes system, the

monitoring system of performance and evaluation,” he said.

“There is a sense of urgency in the government and indeed people in

government know that those who are not working, who are not prepared to do

things in a different way, will certainly have very little place in government.

We want to deliver.”

He identified 12 targets his administration wanted to achieve in

the next four years.

Some of the key focus areas are getting 200?000 children

­between the ages of seven and 15 into school before 2014, reducing the burden

of diseases like HIV, TB and malaria and ­creating an anti­corruption task team

to investigate and prosecute corruption cases faster.

“Ministers were asked to work with key partners to negotiate a

delivery agreement which clarifies who will do what when and use what resources

to achieve the outcome,” said Zuma.

“Once the delivery agreements are finalised there will be a strong

monitoring of their implementation.”

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