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12 November 2014

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has called on those in government leadership positions in the province to ensure a radical and accelerated delivery of services adding that their attitude would either make or break the ruling party.

Premier Mabuza was speaking at a three-day Executive Council Lekgotla today [Wednesday, 12 October 2014] in Skukuza inside the Kruger National Park, where provincial government departments are reviewing their six months performance against their annual performance plans and budgets, as well as acceleration plans.

The Executive Council Lekgotla is attended by the members of the executive council, mayors, heads of departments, chief executive officers of provincial government parastatals and senior officials to reflect work done as well as firming up the provincial government priorities.

The Premier said access to government services was still skewed and a certain amount of determination and focused attention was required if the provincial government was to make a difference in the lives of the people.

“Time is against us, we need to improve our pace and our ways of doing things, the level of patience of our people is at a point where they can loose it at any time. People are getting impatient with their own government, and depending on the attitude of those in leadership positions, people may even go astray.
“Therefore our attitude in delivering these much-needed services to the people might make or break the ruling party and us. We need men and women who are better shaped for this challenge.
“We cannot cry and say ‘we are still gaining experience’, we are 20 years in government, we have learnt about how to lead, we have made our mistakes, but we are now better empowered to make good choices and better decisions,” said Mabuza.

He said those in leadership of the provincial government, needed to be the first to assess themselves and not wait for others to criticize them. He said they should do self-introspection and concede where they had failed in order for the people to continue having trust in their leadership.

“This laissez-faire attitude must stop, we must be radical in our approach, further we must open more space for public participation since we have a duty to take our people along, otherwise they will not understand this difficult journey undertaken by the ruling party of changing their lives for the better.
“This second phase of our transition must be radical, it must improve the conditions our people are living in. For us to achieve our objectives would mean that we must use the resources we have very efficiently and minimize wastages.
“I still believe that the ruling party has the ability to run this country and it has the best interest for the people. As a country, we made certain sacrifices for the good course, therefore those in government must assist the ruling party to deliver the services selflessly,” said Mabuza.

He explained that he was encouraging them to take decisions that would take the country a step further, adding that five years was just a very short time running government as most time was wasted in settling the new leaders.

Meanwhile, the Lekgotla commended the provincial Department of Education for good spending on its budget in the first six months of the financial year. The department was further applauded for its continued improvement on matric results. It was asked amongst others to however put more effort to increase the bachelor-pass rate to bridge the skills gap in the province.

At the same time, the Lekgotla further tasked the Department of Health to ensure implementation of its Executive Council-approved Turnaround Plan without failure, since the curatorship had been lifted about two weeks ago. According to the Lekgotla, the department “must fast-track” the filling of vacant funded positions in order to enhance leadership within various institutions like hospitals.

“Despite numerous challenges faced by the Department of Health, we have seen significant improvement in the overall management of this department. It is against this backdrop that we have taken a cautious decision to remove curatorship of this department. We will continue to pay close attention and monitor its recovery up to a point where it can stand on its feet,” said Mabuza

The department has crafted a turnaround strategy with clearly defined problem statement and has put forward very bold change management proposals with key pillars of the programmes.

The department was faced with vast, diverse and complicated challenges which led in it placed under the curatorship. Challenges ranged from poor leadership, poor financial management, and lack of risk assessment and quick response.

The Premier came out strongly during the Lekgotla that befopre the curatorship was put in place, the department had the leadership that deliberately did the wrong things and which was not willing to take guidance from the Executive Council. He said certain senior officials from the department had been fired.

“Those officials were very rude and you could see that there was a determination to defy. They had no interest of the people in working for this government. We are happy now, we are right on track we will resolve all the problems that were faced by the Departmernt of Health,” said Mabuza.

He thanked the Department of Finance for the support it provided during the period of curatorship.

Issued by Zibonele Mncwango
Spokesperson: Mpumalanga Premier
Mpumalanga Provincial Government
Office of the Premier
Tel: (013) 766 2453
Mobile: 079 491 0163
zmncwango@mpg.gov.za OR zibonelemncwango@gmail.com

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