Government must do more to perform better

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

The DA in Mpumalanga welcomes a report by the Public Service Commission (PSC) reflecting the performance of the Provincial Government. The report states that while some provincial government departments have improved on their mandate, others failed dismally to address good governance and maladministration.

According to a PSC report – conducted to measure the quality of service delivery in the province during the 2011/12 financial year – the departments of education, health and human settlements failed to meet their outcomes, despite spending most of their budgets.

The health department spent 99% of its 2011/12 budget yet only met 40,9% of its targets, while education spent 98,7% of its funds yet achieved merely 35% of its objectives. The Department of Human Settlements also scored dismally by not providing figures for achieved targets, despite having spent 99,9% of its allocated finances.

This is very concerning given that these departments are largely responsible for service delivery in the province. Furthermore, they receive the biggest chunk of the annual provincial budget, with health and education alone receiving R7,365 billion and R12,951 billion for 2011/12 respectively.

Sub-standard managing of budgets by unskilled individuals and maladministration were blamed for this, with the PSC noting that while the number of financial misconduct cases decreased, the actual cost of financial misconduct increased from R1,035 million in 2010/11 to R1,243 million in 2011/12. Fruitless and wasteful expenditure also escalated.

The government’s tardiness in addressing public service complaints was highlighted as another contributing factor to poor performance. Most departments were found not complying to prescribed time frames for complaint solving, due to poor record keeping and lack of documentation.

The DA believes that government’s performance will not improve as long as our provincial administration remains inwardly focused, characterised by outdated bureaucratic systems and self-enrichment tendencies. The lack of skills within government must be addressed, accompanied by the active instilling of a culture of selfless service and delivery.

With annual reports due in a few weeks, the DA will closely monitor government performance in the 2012/13 financial year to determine whether they have improved on the PSC’s findings.

Transforming government delivery from red tape to red carpet is only possible by employing professional, suitably qualified, competent and caring officials, dedicated to serving the public.