Until there is a real culture of accountability flowing from the Premier, through the MECs to department heads and throughout the civil service, service delivery will not improve in the Eastern Cape. With these new appointments the Premier must ensure that service delivery trumps cadre deployment.
It is also critical that when these HODs are picked, they have the required political support to bring about the changes that are needed and not simply worked out when they make things too hot for non-performers and corrupt officials.
The fact that five out of thirteen Heads of Department are scheduled to change, points to the continued instability in the top structures of the Eastern Cape administration. The vacancies have been created by:
- Education SG Modidima Mannya resigned in April;
- Economic Development HOD Bulumko Nelana resigned to return to Johannesburg;
- Roads and Public Works HOD Bongani Gxilishe’s contract was not renewed, after being appointed in 2010;
- Local Government and Traditional Affairs HOD Stanley Khanyile is to be replaced after being appointed in 2009;
- The contract of Health SG Siva Pillay ended last month.
This instability has resulted in a lack of consistent leadership in departments, which has lead to poor administration and lack of service delivery, as is evident from the Auditor-General’s findings in this regard.
“Everything rises and falls depending on the calibre of leadership. The Premier must take the lead in picking the right people if we have any hope of turning the Eastern Cape around”, said Bobby Stevenson from the Democratic Alliance.