Stop talking down to us, new NW premier demands

Job Mokgoro. (Tebogo Letsie, City Press)
Job Mokgoro. (Tebogo Letsie, City Press)

National government’s patronising “father-son relationship” with North West must stop, new Premier Job Mokgoro has said.

He did not understand “what the rationale is for national government to want to have the right and sole privilege to talk down to us”, he said in an interview on Friday, hours after he was confirmed as Supra Mahumapelo’s successor.

“Even in modern times the father and son engage. You just do not talk down to your child.

“That is not to say that we deny the challenges that we have.”

He is also peeved about the leaking on social media of an interministerial task team report into the state of governance in the province.

Mokgoro said he intended to get answers about this from Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is coordinating the national intervention team.

Central government last month placed 10 North West government departments under administration. National government would be wholly responsible for running half of them: health, education, social development, public works and the premier’s office. The rest would receive support.

Mokgoro said the correct approach should be to solve North West’s problems by developing national and provincial leaders.

“We all have a need for learning. Simply because we are a province, and we do acknowledge that we have problems, we are not the only people that stand to benefit.

“As much as we have responsibility to make sure that things work here, national has the same responsibility.”

The buck, however, stopped with national government.

He said he found it strange to have national departments imposing themselves on their provincial counterparts while there was reliable information that the same national departments were in intensive care.

Earlier this month, the two spheres of government were expected to conclude a memorandum of agreement spelling out the arrangement between them.

One area of disagreement was about the laws that governed the intervention in the five departments over which national government would have full control.

“We have raised questions including which laws apply when people are brought in to take over and who accounts to the Auditor-General.”

The tension lay between the Public Service Act (PSA) and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

“Somebody says the accountability as prescribed in the PSA is unchanged, but the accountability in terms of the PFMA is where national comes in.”

Mokgoro said he was shocked: “I said, guys, do you want to loot by taking over powers that are prescribed in the PFMA?” He warned that there would be a crisis if such arrangements were allowed to happen.

He said it was disrespectful that the national report on the province had been leaked to the public, before Dlamini-Zuma’s team had officially handed it over.

“They have not given us the report, but it has already been leaked on social media. That is the most disrespectful way of dealing with others. It is something that rubs people up the wrong way.”

Even if national government had nothing to do with the leak, they should have made their counterparts in North West aware of it.

He could not understand why the report had not yet been handed over.

He said the manner in which the national intervention team approached its work needed to improve.

Meanwhile, City Press learnt that Mahumapelo had tried to get at least one ANC member of the provincial legislature (MPL) to resign, so that he could take up the vacant seat, fuelling speculation that he was aiming to return to his previous post as speaker.

However, those MPLs who had been asked to resign declined to do so. Others apparently switched off their mobile phones, forcing Mahumapelo to make way for Mokgoro late on Thursday night. He is reportedly looking at playing a role in political education within the ANC.

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