Pressure to do favours

2014-08-04 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL’S top civil servant says senior managers have themselves to blame for finding themselves under pressure for a “culture of entitlement” from service providers.

“In the majority of cases entitlement [exists] because we would have special people we give special favours,” director-general Nhlanhla Ngidi told a seminar of senior managers in Durban last week.

Ngidi made the comments after one head of department last week complained about the “culture of entitlement” among service providers, who want tenders dished out without following procedures.

He acknowledged the existence of the problem, saying departments awarded catering or entertainment tenders to the same service providers instead of rotating them.

The practise, Ngidi said, made service providers expectant of favours.

Ngidi, who said he risked his job for talking about the matter, told of pressure exerted on managers by a “crop of individuals” who thought they had a right to be given favours by government.

“You are subtly told that you need to consider this person because [they are politically connected].”

While Ngidi claimed to have been spared this pressure, he said he had been told several times by managers that certain service providers engaged in name dropping to put pressure on them.

“I know some of my managers have been put under pressure. I know it’s not a nice thing to say, but these things do happen.”

He discouraged senior managers from creating a situation where only an elite few benefited.

“It is something we, as senior public servants, need to take to heart and very seriously,” Ngidi insisted before warning managers about unethical conduct.

“Once you begin to act unethically, that leads to the downfall of government and that [in turn] leads to the downfall of countries,” Ngidi said.

Premier Senzo Mchunu, speaking at the same meeting, said the culture of entitlement was gaining momentum to a point where ways were found to hire people who were unqualified.

“All we can do is to face up to the reality and to face the truth. Let us uphold the rules and regulations South Africa has,” he said.

Mchunu said flouting of regulations led to decay in public administration.

“It becomes a cancer in the state and gradually the state will fall,” he said.

Public Service and Administration Minister Collins Chabane said nobody should be entitled to get any favours and managers should do their work properly.

In their seminar, the senior managers pledged to lead by being exemplary and professional.

Ngidi said yesterday they would act decisively against any form of wrong-doing and stop cultivating a sense of entitlement among service providers.

“We appreciate the platform that was created by the premier and his executive council. The conference was characterised by honest and robust engagement,” he said.

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