Due to circumstances, MEC admits department has been unable to do its job efficiently
THE FIGHT against corruption and fraud in the Northern Cape is “not yielding desired results” according to the Northern Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism.
MEC Mac Jack, who was addressing senior managers at the Northern Cape Department of Treasury’s two-day Strategic Review Session in Kimberley yesterday, warned that if Treasury collapsed, the entire country would collapse.
He called on management to restore the image of the department by remaining objective.
“In order for their lives to be changed for the better, the whole country and our people depend on Treasury. Hence, despite all the challenges that our country faces, we must do our best to deliver on our mandate and strive to take the Province forward by continuously ensuring that the priorities of government are addressed,” Jack said.
“We are operating in a highly populated environment, characterised by serious political challenges. It is important for public servants to understand the political environment they are operating in. You need to understand the policies of the ruling party at that juncture,” he added.
Jack stated that, due to instability in the Province, which was mainly caused by the recent reshuffling (of Cabinet) and the inability to fill vacant positions of heads of department (for Treasury as well as Economic Development and Tourism), the department had been unable to do its job efficiently.
He acknowledged the leadership of the acting HOD, Thami Mabija, but emphasised the importance of filling the post.
“The recent reshuffling also affected my plans to deal with grievances which were raised by staff members during the joint staff meeting we had. Indeed, they raised opinions and issues that are impacting on their performance and moral and human relations in the workplace.”
Jack said that he hoped that the session would deal with challenges faced by the Department of Health, the moratorium on employment and the fight against corruption.
He indicated that the issue of the appointment of revenue collectors in the Department of Health should be addressed to ensure that the revenue collection of the department, and the Province as a whole, was increased.
“The whole issue surrouding the appointment of data-capturers is more confusing and polluted. We need to come up with solutions which will be more relevant for the department.”
Jack said the department was not winning in the enforcement of the moratorium on employment.
“A number of appointments are still continuing without following the processes with Treasury and the Office of the Premier. People are still appointed in senior positions without following correct procedures. They start as acting appointments and then they become permanent. This is a way of avoiding the moratorium and bypassing proper recruitment processes,” Jack said.
He called on management to use this platform to extensively engage and come up with measures to proactively stop these practices.
Jack added that the fight against corruption was also not yielding positive results.
“Tenders are awarded without following proper procedures and systems are manipulated. This has led to government departments being taken to court – where we ultimately lose the case. There are instances when those people, who are supposed to defend the state during court cases, are the ones who are giving information (on how to win the case against the state) to those taking the state to court. They are lobbying to abuse public resources. Corruption is stealing from the poor.”
Jack further indicated that there was a need to monitor public entities and departments closely.
He said it was also a concern that municipalities were not managed effectively.
“We should do more to turn the situation in municipalities around. The right people must be appointed in key positions at the municipalities, otherwise we will be compromising the running of these municipalities. The department should also come up with strategies to build the capacity of councillors,” he concluded.