New Head of Department for province’s top department

Robin Carlisle

Minister of Transport and Public Works

Today marks the culmination of a rigorous process to find a capable successor to Mr Johan Fourie, Head of the Department of Transport and Public Works, who will officially stand down at the end of October 2013, to enjoy a hard-earned retirement.

Mr Fourie will be missed. For 40 years he has served South Africa with skill, courage, wisdom and dedication. He knows only one master – the people of this province – and he is their faithful and extremely hardworking servant.

He exemplifies all those virtues which should characterize a public servant; integrity, impartiality and a burning concern that the people’s money should serve the people’s needs.

In three years he has transformed my department and taken it from disgrace and demoralization to the highest levels of probity, and one in which every member is proud to serve.

It was my privilege to have served with him, and I look forward to working with the new HOD in taking this department to even greater heights.

The process to fill the new HOD position

The post was advertised in March of this year, with a closing date of 5 April 2013. Advertisements were placed in the placed on the Western Cape Government website, national and provincial vacancy bulletin, as well as; the Weekend Argus; City Press; Mail & Guardian; and Die Burger newspapers. The position drew a total of 74 applicants, of which 4 were shortlisted.

The focus was on candidates with the appropriate educational qualifications, 6 years Senior Management experience in a construction/infrastructure/transport environment, as well as in leading Road Safety imperatives/campaigns. Successful candidates were also to have experience in managing major infrastructure development projects.

Interviews of the short-listed candidates were concluded on 24 May 2013 and the appointment of the successful candidate was approved by the Premier and sanctioned by the Provincial Cabinet.

Ms Jacqui Gooch, the new HOD for the Department of Transport and Public Works

Jacqui Gooch is a born and bred Capetonian, who obtained her BSc in Civil Engineering from the University of Cape Town in 1998 and her MEng (Civil), focusing on traffic and transportation, from the University of Stellenbosch in 2003.  Jacqui has worked both in the private and public sectors, starting her career with GIBB Consulting Engineers working on Traffic Impact Assessments and numerous public transport projects.

She decided a change of scenery was needed and went to work in the Public Transport Branch of the Provincial Department of Transport and Public Works for a year, managing public transport planning and infrastructure projects.

She then became the Director: Strategic Support in 2005, followed by her 2009 appointment as the Deputy Director-General responsible for Strategy, Planning and Co-ordination.  This includes driving the strategy for the Department, integrated planning, knowledge management, the Expanded Public Works Programme and monitoring and evaluation.

A well-rounded and highly skilled individual, Jacqui remains committed to developing herself and tackling, head-on, new challenges; an important character trait for this robust and challenging position. She is currently studying towards a Master of Business Administration in Executive Management (EMBA) at UCT’s Graduate School of Business.

The Department of Transport and Public Works manages, in addition to its budget of R4, 639 billion, a further R2, 186 billion on behalf of its client departments (Western Cape Health and Education Departments). It is tasked with developing and maintaining appropriate infrastructure and related services for sustainable economic development which generates growth in jobs and facilitates empowerment and opportunity. It is responsible for maintaining the provincial road grid as well as the regulation of provincial traffic and public transport, including 10000 Minibus Taxis. It oversees the Integrated Transport Plans of all Western Cape Municipalities, including the City of Cape Town Metro. It builds, furnishes and maintains offices, schools, health facilities and work areas accommodating some 80000 staff, caring for 15 million patients, and educating 1, 050 million learners.

The Department of Transport and Public Works is also home to the Western Cape Government’s road safety initiative Safely Home, which has achieved an unprecedented 30% reduction in road deaths, in the Province, since the beginning of 2009. Safely Home is well on its way to achieving its goal of halving road deaths by the end of 2014

Transport and Public Works is not for the fainthearted. I have no doubt that Ms Gooch has what it takes to manage this truly massive undertaking.

Jacqui has begun her three-month “transfer of skills” period as HOD designate, working very closely with the current HOD, Johan Fourie. She will officially take-up the reins on the 1st of November 2013. Under her watch this fine department will achieve new standards of excellence and service delivery.