Gauteng residents are currently suffering from no running water, electricity outages and a harsh economic climate. During our scrutiny of the provincial government’s performance as part of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) week, a correlation emerged that is often ignored because it seems to be unrelated to daily suffering.
The Gauteng Provincial Government have a number of key vacancies in departments that have not been permanently filled and instead have officials acting in the positions.
This information was revealed by the Auditor-General of South Africa in its report on the audit outcomes for our province.
According to this report the following departments have acting officials in key positions:
- Office of the Premier- Accounting Officer (1)
- Economic Development- Head of Supply Chain Management (1)
- Health- Accounting Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Head of Supply Chain Management (3)
- Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs- Accounting Officer (1)
- Roads and Transport- Accounting Officer and Head of Supply Chain Management (2)
- Community Safety- Head of Supply Chain Management (1)
- Agriculture and Rural Development- Chief Financial Officer (1)
- Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation- Chief Financial Officer and Head of Supply Chain Management (2)
- e-Government- No Head of Supply Chain Management (1)
While the following entities have acting officials in key positions;
- Gauteng Gambling Board- Chief Financial Officer (1)
- Gauteng Film Commission- Chief Executive Officer (1)
- Cradle of Human Kind- Chief Executive Officer (1)
- Dinokeng- Chief Executive Officer (1)
- G-Fleet- Chief Financial Officer (1)
- MEDSAS- Chief Financial Officer (1)
- Gauteng Partnership Fund- Head of Supply Chain Management (1)
According to the Auditor General’s report, because these vacancies have not been permanently filled, it will likely have a negative impact on the 2021/22 audit outcomes.
Persons who perform in an acting capacity often operate in very uncertain, even toxic conditions where decisions cannot be made, forward planning is not done, and staff cannot be managed effectively due the uncertainty of working in an acting capacity.
This trend is extremely concerning as it hampers is the effectiveness of service delivery to the residents of Gauteng. Having critical vacancies like those of CEOs, CFOs and Head of Supply Chain Management is extremely important to bring stability to the department and entity.
The DA has learnt from our experience in governance that a stable and capable bureaucracy is of paramount importance. Filling vacancies with capable, fit for purpose staff helps to ensure that the departments run efficiently and that there is value for money where goods and services need to be procured.
Furthermore, corruption can be clamped down and there will be no room for properly mandated and trained officials to deviate from the guidelines set out by Treasury when it comes to the effective delivery of services to our residents.
It emerged during the SCOPA hearings that in many instances, acting staff are not competent and capable of fulfilling their duties. Cadre deployment renders competent bureaucrats uncertain about their future prospects and career paths. The situation can be remedied in the long term by ending the cadre deployment policy of the ANC, and replacing it with a fit for purpose recruitment and selection policy.
The DA will continue to monitor the timeous filling of vacancies so that the performance of all our departments can be on the same level that will ensure seamless service delivery to our residents and we will continue to advocate for benchmarked recruitment policies that progressively realise a capable state.