Gauging Gauteng

2009-09-12 14:36

After 100 days in office, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, MECs and mayors met this week to discuss how to tackle the province’s ills. Moffet Mofokeng quizzed the premier.

How far are you with your plans to restructure the Gauteng provincial government?

We now have ­departments that are structured ­according to our mandate. We have integrated social development with health. We have also split public works into two?– the department of infrastructure and that of public roads and transport. We have also fused the Gauteng Shared Services Centre (GSSC) and treasury into one department, the department of finance. We have also strengthened the office of the premier.

We have also reshuffled heads of departments (HODs) according to their individual potential. Eight vacancies of HODs are being re-advertised, four are going to be ­advertised soon and the other four will come in next month.

The mandate of our agencies, such as the Gauteng Fund, the liquor board, tourism authority and GSSC, is also under scrutiny. We plan to complete this assessment by December so that in the next fiscal year we implement a new strategy.

Change, when it entails moving people around, comes with instability. People worry about their future. What is your comment?

There was a lot of uncertainty and anxiety but we are managing the process very well. Nobody will be thrown in the street. We believe that this is change for the better.

The department of local government and that of human settlement were previously separate. Will they keep the two HODs?

They will have a single HOD. The former HOD of local government is now sorting out the agencies. The HOD for housing is now with the premier’s office. She is responsible for monitoring and evaluation. Mongezi Mnyani is currently acting HOD but the post is vacant.

Suspended transport head Sibusiso Buthelezi has said he wrote a letter to you, requesting that you remove his suspension, saying it had not been administered properly. When did you speak to him?

The letter that he wrote to me is dated the end of August.

It’s unfortunate that he has said those things to you because there are internal government processes that he has to comply with.

You have slammed labour brokers; what concerns you the most?

I’m still concerned that the state does not have full authority over personnel. That is key in the ­performance of its responsibility. Take nurses, for example. We have had to reopen the nursing colleges so that the state can take full responsibility for the development programmes of nurses

How many nurses who are in the employ of the Gauteng health department come through agencies?

Most of the nurses in the health sector were employed and recruited through the agencies because for some time now the nursing colleges have been closed.

We have more than 1?170 new nurses that we recruited since we came into government.

Is there no mechanism that you can use to detect service delivery ­protests before they actually ­happen?

It’s something that we want to sort out.

And the disruption that goes with the protests?

We have also been too relaxed in asserting our authority as the government. When you embark on a protest march you shall apply on time, state the reason clearly, how many people you are expecting, your capacity of making sure that you have proper marshalling, and committing yourself that in the event there is damage you shall be responsible. Those are the things that disappeared over some time and we are bringing that back. You had a taste of this with the taxi guys and the teachers in Soweto.

There is talk that the Metsweding municipality will be taken to Tshwane but there is a lot of instability there. What is your comment?

We have taken decisions on the ­future of Metsweding, including at a political level in terms of the ANC.

There is a decision to merge ­Metsweding with Tshwane and a small portion of Metsweding with Ekurhuleni – your Bapsfontein ­areas.

We will be putting together transitional arrangements for Tshwane and Metsweding, facilitated by the provincial government through MEC Kgaogelo Lekgoro.

The issues in Tshwane must be sorted out because the source of ­instability there is a point of bother for all of us.

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