Welcome to the Mpumalanga Provincial Government
Address by honourable Premier T S P Makwetla at the launch and graduation ceremony for the Junior and Middle Management Development Programmes, National Botanical Gardens, Nelspruit

24 March 2009

Programme director, acting Director-General, Mr Mgidi
Chairperson of the Governance Cluster, MEC Mashego-Dlamini
Members of the Executive Council
Executive mayors and councilors
CEO of the Accelerated Capacity Building Flagship, Ms Lucky Moeketsi
Director-General of the Free State province, Dr N C Nwaila
Representatives from our training service providers
Graduates of our Middle and Junior Management Development Programmes
Senior managers and officials in the public service
Ladies and gentlemen

Allow me to preface my remarks by conveying my deep appreciation and gratitude to the service providers who have been working with the province over the last few months to provide training to our middle and junior managers graduating here today.

In the same breath, the endeavour by these managers to hone their skills is inspirational, and on behalf of our administration I wish to commend them for their effort.

The programmes we are launching today form part of our Accelerated Capacity Building Flagship, a government wide intervention to improve organisational capacity for accelerated development and service delivery. This flagship prioritises interventions aimed at tackling organisational capacity challenges facing provincial and local government institutions in a holistic manner.

As government, we are conscious that improving organisational capacity is not limited to training, but it entails a coherent set of developmental interventions that seek to enhance institutional governance, infuse a results oriented culture, and hone skills and competencies of managers at all levels. This is premised on the understanding that organisational capacity is a function of key variables that include competent leadership, technical and operational excellence, as well as effective systems and processes.

Over the last few years, there has been a growing recognition that implementation capacity in the public service is seriously underdeveloped. As a result, the government’s programme of action has placed emphasis on initiatives to enhance the capacity of the state to deliver. These include capacity for the implementation of the five year Local Government Strategic Agenda, enhancing integrated planning, monitoring and evaluation, performance management, accelerated management development, and implementing anti-corruption measures to mitigate organisational risks.

As a province, the accelerated capacity building flagship was an appropriate response to respond to the needs of enhancing recruitment and selection procedures, strengthening performance management systems, employee wellness, as well as improving integrity management systems to address fraud and corruption.

Programme director, in all organisations, strong middle and junior management teams are key in producing excellent operational results, and easing the need for senior managers to oversee and intervene directly in day to day non-strategic operations. Junior and middle management excellence should become the key leverage point of public service delivery excellence.

Equally, the effective implementation of succession planning and career pathing in the public sector depends on the availability of a sustainable pool of competent junior and middle managers who are ready to assume senior management positions when vacancies arise in the administration. As a province, we are making resources available to train 800 officials over three years in both the Middle and Junior Management Development Programmes so that we are able to empower these managers with requisite skills and competencies and contribute to improved service delivery.

Our middle managers are empowered with cutting edge skills in areas such as:

  •  applied strategic thinking

  • planning, organising and project management

  • problem solving and decision making Team leadership

  • budget and financial management

  • developing others

  • self-management

  • ethics and governance

  • organisational communication and knowledge management, etc.

Programme director, transforming our administration into the best performing machinery needs our collective commitment to inculcate a new organisational culture that values performance, the ethos of honesty and professionalism, positive work ethic and dedication to service. Senior managers must transform the institutional environment to unleash innovation and create space for junior and middle managers to contribute to the performance of our departments and municipalities. We should not reduce the task of middle managers to that of binding documents, and delivering them to meetings where their bosses are attending. It is important to delegate and empower these managers to contribute to the execution of departmental mandates and strategies.

In essence, our success as a developmental state depends on requisite capacities to guide policy development and implementation. The interventionist role of the state in advancing objectives of shared growth and improved developmental outcomes requires a competent public service cadre. The existence of committed civil servants and managers is a precondition for the state’s developmental capacity to improve the quality of life of the poor. Skilled managers with requisite competencies are critical in contributing towards the ability of government to deliver services and address poverty and underdevelopment challenges. This speaks to the work we must do to prepare the province for 2010, the Anti-Poverty War Room Campaign, education, health etc.

In conclusion, I want to challenge the graduating managers to go back to their work environment and utilise their newly acquired skills to make a difference. Be change agents, and contribute to improving the quality of service delivery and development in our province. The future of our communities is in your hands, so to speak.

Once again, congratulations to you all.

Thank you.

Issued by: Office of the Premier

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