DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Local Government
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane is expected to announce disgraced former Local Government and Housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi’s replacement this week. It is crucial that the person tasked with taking over the reins is a strong leader who can diligently sort out the mess left by Mmemezi.
The department is currently torn between two main factions in the form of Mmemezi’s political appointments and officials who were there before he took office as MEC. These two factions have effectively been at war with each other, seriously hampering the department’s ability to deliver.
The DA believes that Mmemezi’s successor must address at least five key things to effectively turn around the Department, which should include:
1. Investigating all Mmemezi’s improprieties thoroughly, followed by the necessary disciplinary action against implicated officials and steps to recover any financial damages Mmemezi is responsible for. It is very important that this department goes forward with personnel who are not under suspicion and who can deliver services they are supposed to.
2. Revising the Department’s strategy to ensure that it delivers on its core business within its limited budget. This would require scrapping unnecessary programmes and even retrenching redundant personnel.
3. Restructuring the department according to the revised strategy. Simply splitting the housing and local government departments may not be the solution to all its problems.
4. Ending all political appointments and ensuring that the department is staffed by competent career civil servants who are focused on delivering housing and services to local governments in the province.
5. Investigating and ensuring prosecution for all corrupt activities and officials within the department without fear or favour.
The choice of Mmemezi’s replacement must be marked by strong political will and strong and decisive leadership qualities. The Premier must make an appointment that can execute this mandate and steer away from favouritism.
The Premier’s choice will signal her true commitment towards the eradication of mismanagement, wastage and corruption within her administration.