Manager training school shelved

2010-09-12 14:49

 A R1 billion plan to set up a school to train ill-equipped government managers has been put on ice ­because the plan has been ­mismanaged.

The R999 million Accelerated Capacity Building Initiative was already in its development phase, but has since been suspended in order for a more comprehensive feasibility study to be undertaken.

To date, R4.5 million has already been spent on the project by the Mpumalanga government.

The project, which is the brainchild of former premier Thabang Makwetla’s cabinet, was mooted in 2008 following the outcome of a 2005 skills audit, which found that more than half of Mpumalanga’s managers lacked the skills needed to do their jobs.

The cabinet then decided to ­upgrade and redesign the ­Mapulaneng Multipurpose Centre in Bushbuckridge to turn it into a “world-class” management and leadership school where provincial and municipal managers could ­attend capacity building courses.

When Premier David Mabuza took up office last year, the project was suspended.

It has also caused the government wasteful expenditure to the tune of R4.5 million – which was paid to KKM Consultancy (Pty) Ltd, a project management company hired in 2008 to redesign the centre.

Meanwhile, KKM Consultancy has lodged a complaint with the Treasury and the public protector’s office demanding R1.7 million in outstanding payments and challenging the ­irregular termination of the ­contract.

Kent Georgala, the company’s director, said: “I do not know the reasons our contract was terminated.

There has been a transition from the old premier to the new one, so a lot of people that were involved are no longer there.

“However, I don’t think the saga is over.”

Documents indicate that former public works head Priscilla Nkwinika informed KKM in writing on July 1 last year that the contract “as principal agent” was being changed – it would now be expected to carry out a feasibility study.

Nkwinika’s letter said the contract was terminated after consulting with state organs and considering inputs from the new cabinet, which demanded “outputs of a comprehensive feasibility study”.

She said the feasibility study was aimed at establishing the sustainability of the centre, economic spin-offs and associated infrastructure.

Anthony Benadie, the DA’s ­leader in the province, said the project was a good idea.

“Most of those in ­government are incompetent and unqualified officials appointed via political connections.”

The provincial government ­officials would not comment.

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