A people centred government will deliver quality services

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

Note: The following address was delivered by Anthony Benadie to the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature during the debate on the policy and budget speech of the Office of the Premier. Vote1.

The Office of The Premier (OTP) is there to provide strategic direction to the province in the attainment of the government’s priorities. The premier’s office must lead with example, must be beyond reproach, and must act as the leader of government.

The OTP must ensure cabinet is in touch with the needs of communities. The Premier needs to avail himself to all citizens of the province, and make an effort to address all issues put forth.

The Premier is the chief and commander, the leader in the struggle towards economic emancipation, an honour bestowed unto him by the people of this province.

The OTP serves a vital role as the heart and brain of the living organism that is the Mpumalanga government.

It saddens me that too many people are continuing to remain in poverty and unemployment, and that our economy is growing at too slow a rate to realise our socio-economic aspirations.

Honourable Speaker, undoubtedly one of the greatest principles underpinning our democracy is that of choice, and the freedom to make political choices. Therefore, the people of our province must Know their DA.

Not only must they know what contribution leaders like Helen Suzman, Helen Zille, Patricia De Lille, Wilmot James, Jo Seremane and other great DA leaders made in the fight against apartheid to bring about that political choice, but so too must they know what the DA offers in terms running the government of the Mpumalanga Province, through the OTP.

As aforementioned, the OTP can be seen as the heart and brains of the living organism that is the province.

The heart is connected to organs via channels, just like the OTP is connected to various departments. In order for this system of governance to work harmoniously (the heart to beat and the organs to operate), there needs to be in place a system of real efficiency and equity dedicated to quality service delivery so as to attain the better life  that we all aspire for. Such a system can be found in the DA’s Public Service Policy (PSP).

The DA’s PSP will ensure the efficient delivery of quality service to the people of the province. To be an efficient employer and to ensure public services of high quality, the policy will ensure that government reforms its pay, recruitment and promotion policies, to make them more flexible and less centralised, and to place the emphasis on ability rather than years of service.

Honourable Speaker, it is no secret that the current Public Service Administration systems are archaic: elaborate controls and inflexible bureaucracies prevent delivery.

Thousands of job classifications; rigid hiring and firing procedures; layers and layers of middle management; stifling bureaucratic rules and regulations, and myriad procedures that virtually ensure that no employee, no matter how incompetent, will ever be fired.

The systems in place are old, outdated and need to change to accompany the dynamic global bubble we live in today. The DA’s policy speaks to such and looks to modernising the public service. In its attempts, the policy amongst others will focus on resource utilisation, which deals with lean and efficient and stringent financial controls.

A focus on core departmental functions:  Ensuring government only does what it has to, by minimising its interference with individual, civil society and the private sector, so as to properly focus on fiscal and delivery matters. The policy will also deal with attracting and retaining skills: Selecting the right people for the jobs and rewarding them for their hard work.

The policy is firm on its stance on accountability in government. The DA believes government can be more accountable by:

  • Empowering managers: The public sector must be headed by top quality managers who are properly remunerated and motivated and whose performance meets measurable targets.
  • Creating performance contracts: The DA proposes an employment system for senior public servants based on three- to five-year performance contracts.
  • Decentralisation: The DA proposes the abolition of the centralised departments (the Department of Public Works and the Department of Public Service and Administration) which hinder management reform.

Honourable Speaker, we shall not forget that the OTP is also the brains of the body. The brains are in charge of ensuring that all organs (departments) are co-ordinated and in sync. The brains ensure that all organs know their individual goals, as well as the overall goals of the body as a whole. The OTP must communicate the vision and mission to all departments, and the DA has a policy that speaks to this subject.

The policy in question is the DA communications policy. This policy realises that the Information, Communications and Technology sector of the South African economy plays a vital role in the development of the country and its people.

Through hours of programming and integrating networks and systems, the DA will look into bridging the great digital divide, not only improving communications with government, but also improving the lives of citizens. The vision of the DA is to realise fully South Africa’s potential in the field of electronic communications by giving all its citizens access to affordable, high quality communication services that enhance educational, business and other life opportunities, and consumer choice in the digital age – empowering the economy as a whole.

Honourable Speaker, we realise that no system is without its faults. The greatest threat to the efficiency of government has been discovered to be business dealings of government officials with government.

Honourable Premier, the DA has already tabled a private members bill which seeks to remove this virus from government. Sadly, this bill entitled the Mpumalanga Business Interests of Employees Bill (MBIEB) has been rejected without any consideration.

This bill seeks to restrict the business interests of employees of the provincial government and of provincial public entities of conducting business with the provincial government – and would go a long way in giving effect to the Premier’s own announcement about this matter during his 2013 State of the Province Address.

Honourable Speaker, Premier, the above is just a taste of what the DA has to offer – a vision, a solution, a path out of poverty toward economic prosperity.

We in the DA believe in the people of our province, we believe in their right to:

  • Proper health care;
  • Quality education;
  • Adequate and reliable basic services, such as water, electricity and sanitation;

We believe in a people-centred , service orientated, effective and efficient government – accountable to the people of our province.

Honourable Speaker, the DA has a vision to reform the public service, which puts people first, and the ego of politicians last.

Indeed there is still a great deal for you to Know About Your DA.

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