THE TWO-day Northern Cape Provincial Government Senior Managers’ Summit concludes at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre today.
The event is aimed at developing a thorough understanding of the role of public service senior managers in areas such as good governance, financial management, service delivery and promoting professionalism.
In her keynote address during the summit’s opening session yesterday morning, Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas said that the Province, like the rest of the country, is faced with the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment which require a smooth-running and eager government administration, with capacity to implement decisions to turn the situation around.
“This should be our main reason for convening here as the leadership corpse of the provincial government’s administrative machinery,” she told the hundreds of attendees. Our task is to conduct deep introspection of our capacity and more importantly, our will to assist government in facing these triple challenges. Professional leadership and good governance are critical ingredients to ensure we improve how we work. This will ultimately lead to improving the lives of our people. It also ensures the upholding of the principles of public administration as contained in the constitution.”
According to Lucas, the greatest problems affecting performance are the availability of skills, human capital resources and systems, attraction of the right capacity, its location within departments, and the ethos of service which places the people first.
“We must promote effective financial management, transparent and accountable government and improve the capacity of the state,” said the premier.
“Government is embracing the cost-cutting measures. We have to ensure that we try at all cost to adhere to that, but at the main we should be innovative. My position has always been that we cannot only be praised by achieving clean audits but that should be accompanied by service delivery.”
She added that disciplinary action against public servants accused of wrongdoing would also need to be properly enforced in order to send the right message to the public.
“We are always found guilty of placing public servants on precautionary suspension with full financial benefits,” she explained. “The figures are highly unacceptable as it has implications for both the state and the people we serve.
“I am of the view that the proper legislative and regulatory frameworks exist for you to deal speedily with disciplinary process within the public service.
“There is no greater honour than to be afforded an opportunity to serve your people in a position of responsibility, like the management positions you are holding. It is only fair that you should return the favour by managing the institutions you are responsible for in the best possible way.”