Closing remarks presented by the MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Mr Norman Mokoena, during the Departmental Strategic Planning Retreat at Floreat Riverside Lodge in Sabie, Ehlanzeni District Saturday, 12 February 2011
12 Feb 2011
The Head of Department, Mr Rabeng Tshukudu
All Chairperson to our State owned enterprises
Mr Sabelo Mahlalela - Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA)
Ms Rachel Kalidass - MEGA
Mr Jerry Vilakazi – Mpumalanga Gaming Board (MGB)
Mr Nathi Mazibuko and team (facilitator)
CEO of the MTPA, Mr Charles Ndabeni
CEO of the MGB, Mr Bheki Mlambo
Acting CEO of MEGA, Mr Gijimane Dladla
Officials from the Department and Public Entities
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to start by reminding you that yesterday we celebrated another very significant anniversary which marked the 21st anniversary of the release of our Cherished Hero, former President Nelson Mandela from prison. It marked the anniversary of the victory of our people over the apartheid oppression. It is probably one of the most historic moments of our time. The victory did not only belong to our beloved ANC, but to all the people of our dear land. You see apartheid created a nation of victims and survivors.
The indignity and brutality of the system affected us all, and the fact that South Africa has one of the widest gaps in the world between its rich and poor citizens is a painful and enduring legacy. We have now entered into our 17th year of freedom, our infant democracy is learning to walk and we will continue to Honour Madiba’s legacy by working hard to ensure the ruling party’s vision of a free, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and prosperous South Africa is realised.
Our President, Mr. Jacob Zuma acknowledged the day before yesterday in his state of the nation address that we have made steady progress towards building a more prosperous society and created a solid political foundation, however he stated and I quote “We are concerned that unemployment and poverty persist despite the economic growth experienced in the past 10 years. To address these concerns, we have declared 2011 a year of job creation through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth. We have introduced a New Growth Path that will guide our work in achieving these goals, working within the premise that the creation of decent work, is at the centre of our economic policies.”
Emanating from that statement, you’ll all agree that our intention of meeting here over the last three days was to assess whether our current business plan, that is, the strategic and annual performance plans, are talking to the policy directives of the ruling party, as alluded to by the President. Together with our three implementing agencies, MEGA, MTPA and MGB, we had to check, re-align ourselves, and even re-configure our operations in order to perform better.
Purpose of the Strategy Retreat
The Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (DEDET) Strategic Planning process intended to ensure that the 5 year strategy document is aligned with and reflects emergent National & Provincial planning imperatives including the SONA, the National Growth Path Outcome 10, Outcome 4 and the Provincial Growth Path.
The retreat output we had set out included ratification and adoption of the Provincial Growth Path, draft delivery agreements and, the initiation of a process to review the DEDET Strategy in alignment with these policy imperatives.
It is clear that the strategic approach of the department is experiencing a shift in the following respects: a greater focus and emphasis on the creation of decent work and a greater dedication to programming that ensures environmental sustainability. The dialogue also recognised a need for elevating means of leveraging resources from partners and stakeholders.
DEDET is a single system comprising various parts
There is also a need to bring the DEDET family closer together and increasingly operationalise systematically i.e. to see the various components of DEDET (the department and its Parastatals) as a single system, that together comprise an integrated value chain designed and working to deliver the Outputs, and ultimately the developmental outcomes that will improve the quality of lives of Mpumalanga citizens.
Improving and optimising institutional arrangements
The question had to be re-iterated over and over during this retreat: do we have the requisite institutional capacity, systems and mix of competencies to execute this new mandate? Strategically it is important that the department clarify its role as policy manager, strategy manager, the institution responsible for sector performance management and the enforcer of governance and accountability standards. Strategically the department also needs to stay away from being an implementer of programs and projects that are directly to do with the delivery of developmental outputs.
A corollary to this is the notion of demarcating more clearly the role, responsibilities accountabilities between the DEDET and its implementation facilitation arms (SoEs/Parastatals). In this regard the functional day to day relations between the DEDET and its agencies will require a simpler articulation to facilitate ease of information sharing and knowledge generation.
In the absence of this clarity, sparks will continue to fly at the slightest provocation. I have been advised that when the question of roles and responsibilities and accountability lines between the Department and it’s agencies were discussed it became evident that people were ready to die in defence of their positions and that in one commission a colleague was renamed President Mubarak.
Focus on developmental results
The DEDET strategy will also benefit from a greater dedication to aligning our management approach along the need for improved strategic planning and monitoring. This is the context in which the mandate of SOE’s must feature prominently the developmental priorities of the state.
To this end the following list of 2011/12 prioritised projects once approved by the Cabinet Lekgotla next week must be implemented without fail. I am not going to accept any excuse in this regard.
Organisation/System wide organisation re–configuration
Strategically, considering the fact that the mandate has shifted, the strategic imperatives must be more succinct, or with a greater emphasis on the creation of decent work and ensuring environmental sustainability, a dedication to more methodical planning approach, coupled with a greater emphasis on the managing for development results or Outcomes focused and the need for an improved Monitoring and Evaluation capability.
Principles guiding this should include – a shift towards a single system whose parts are greater than the whole. An insistence in perceiving the various components as parts of a single value chain for delivering outputs and accounting for outcomes. A concerted effort to formalise the alignment of organisational capacities in the most synergistic manner possible –reducing duplications (systems, expenditure etc), grouping like capacities, leveraging human competencies, and streamlining resources (human capital, fiscal, infrastructure, expenditure etc)
Managed change enablement
Clearly the discussions in this retreat pointed to a need to migrate away from the current business model and focus. Taken together – the mandate change, the focus on outcomes, organisational re configuration, inclusion of stakeholders, greater collaboration amongst partners and stakeholders – imply a need for change – managed, facilitated change – always with a focus on answering the questions – how does this make the department more relevant, how does it improve efficiencies, do the changes improve programming effectiveness, how does change influence the quality and quantity of the Impact and improve sustainability of the organisation and its programs to improve the quality of life of citizens.
The Change Enablement Approach needs to answer questions regarding – ownership of the change, participation by stakeholders and partners, programmed change with clear outcomes and outputs and – most importantly the impact of change on individuals, the organisational culture (the way we do things at dedet), improving the business process and the implications to the mind set and organisation ethos and value systems.
The question was whether our Current Vision and Mission was addressing the outcome-based approach in relation to our mandates as per Outcomes 4 and 10 and the new Provincial Growth Path? So certainly the answer was on the negative, therefore this retreat had to craft a new vision which is: An inclusive globally competitive
And, our new mission statement: Drive economic growth that creates decent employment and promote sustainable development through partnerships
We’ve also realised that our current strategic goals are not talking to the approach our government is taking, hence it became imperative that we had to revise them to be in line with the Outcome-based approach and the new Provincial Growth Path, and our new strategic and over-arching goals are structured as follows:
• Inclusive sustainable economic growth and development.
• Creating decent employment.
• Sustainable resource utilization.
Given the new direction and approach, we must also assess whether the current organisational structure will assist us to deliver on our revised mandate. We note the high level proposed organisational structure presented to us this morning.
We therefore need to accelerate the finalisation of the re-configuration process and the re-engineering of our business processes between the Department and our Parastatals for us to say we now have a well-oiled machinery ready to deliver on our mandate.
Matters of emphasis
We have a responsibility to secure the future for the coming generations. This means that in our quest to create decent jobs and grow our economy we must remain mindful that without our greatest assets, our people and our planet, our growth will be short-lived.
Growth, if pursued in an unsustainable manner will ultimately erode our soils, diminish our plant and animal species, pollute our air and water and ultimately deprive us of the basics of life - We therefore need to strengthen our environmental enforcement and our impact management strategies.
In my opening address, I emphasised that environmental assets must be explored for maximum potential for job creation in the areas of waste management through recycling.
I am pleased that identified projects have already been adopted by this retreat and prioritised for implementation through applicable collaborative platforms.
The significance of development of world heritage sites in the provincially protected areas will be pursued to further unlock the potential of tourism in the province.
Green and renewable energy projects listed in the priorities of the Department is a good start and these need to be updated regularly, especially upon completion of the renewable energy map for the province.
We must make our province a tourist destination of first choice, and an investment paradise for corporates. To do this we must see our department like an embassy for this province, we should sell it, defend and market it.
The work of MTPA and MEGA in this regard should be playing that of an ambassadorial role, with more resources, deployed where they make the highest impact. But to do these, performance management, monitoring and evaluation should be prioritised.
We must also learn from our mistakes, acknowledge them and move forward, knowing that we will not repeat them. There is nothing as counter-productive as repeating the same mistake, and making it worse. This brings into the fore the question of organisational culture of discipline. Any 101 module on organisational development will tell you that the word strategy is by origin a military term. Any army needs a strategy to wage a successful offensive or defensive operation.
But any military general will tell you that a strategy execution is linked to a tight discipline.
Now, you should know that successful organisations pay attention to strategy coupled with ethos and values attached to it such as – discipline, mental strength, integrity, precision, patriotism and so forth. I would also like to draw your attention to the army term AWOL at this point. AWOL stands for Absent without leave. In the army if you are AWOL for a period it will end in immediate dismissal. Please ensure that you are at work stations, or if attending meetings out of the Office your colleagues are in the know as to your whereabouts. Absenteeism should be dealt with in terms of the policy provisions of the Department.
Over these three days, I have put together a team of men and women who constitute a DEDET family to review and co-ordinate a strategic document aimed at waging a successful offensive against, unemployment, poverty and under-development. But can we say with confidence that we have the organisational culture and discipline?
I have observed that some soldiers of the DEDET army spent most of their time outside during strategy formulation. Others were spotted busy with emails and facebook and this kind of conduct if true is certainly not acceptable and counter productive. I hope going forward, we will mend our ways because as managers we are leaders of our people, we should lead by example, we must inspire those that we lead. I ask all of us to be committed and dedicated to the cause of changing the lives of our people especially the poor.
We must also individually introspect, ask ourselves difficult questions. We must ask ourselves, do we have the appropriate skills and expertise to do our job.
But importantly we must answer, what will I do tomorrow to learn more, acquire more knowledge, and inquire more to enable me to serve my people and my country better?
As I conclude, I must remind you that our collective efforts must respond to the central and most pressing challenges we face which is unemployment, poverty and inequality.
• We have agreed on the draft Provincial growth path to be presented to the Executive Council next week.
• We have also agreed on the Draft delivery agreements for outcome 4 and 10 and we are ready to sign with the Premier and our sister Departments.
• We have aligned the high level components of our 5 year strategic documents linked to the growth path as well as outcomes 4 and 10.
• The priority projects for 2011/12 have been agreed upon.
• I direct that the Strategic Plan be finalised by mid-March 2011 (Before the new financial year)
• APP’s and Implementation plans for the next financial year should be submitted to Treasury by Tuesday 15 February.
• All Chief Directorates and CEO’s of Parastatals must hold feedback sessions of this retreat in their respective business units within 2 weeks.
• The reconfigured organisational structure must be finalised by the end of March 2011.
• The Business re-engineering of our Department and all our agencies must kick in within a Month.
As I close, on the political front, we welcome the latest developments in Egypt where the President has stepped down. At the same time, I’ve been reliably advised that in this Departmental retreat, we’ve also had a fair share of what happened at Tahir Square in Cairo. I’m told Commission 2 did not want to be out-classed by these latest political developments. Unlike in Egypt, where the President surrendered power to a military council, in Commission 2, the Chairperson voluntarily surrendered power to commission members. There was so much organised strategic chaos in this commission, before the transitional arrangement. At one stage, one prominent member of this commission, Mr Jerry Mafereka, a board member at MEGA, initiated his own parallel process and when he realised that he was not getting support from other commission members, he wanted to disown the process and the commission.
He subsequently worked on his own in his own corner. However the membership of the commission rejected this and advised him accordingly, that they will protect the other commissions from him.
On the occasion of the commission reporting in the plenary, the same member wanted, again, to pass a disclaimer on the report of the commission. Members advised him rigorously not to pursue the matter unilaterally, but at the end he was the first to commend that it was a good report.
I am also advised, that in the plenary session before the presentation by the public entities, there was a heavy debate about accountability structures between the public entities and the department. At one stage, Mr Madoda Maseko and the Chairperson of the MTPA board, Mr Sabelo Mahlalela had a robust confrontation on the matter.
The HOD, in a very reconciliatory intervention, made two metaphoric statements and these will stay for a very long time to come.
Quoting the HOD, he said: “When you live in a glass house, don’t throw stones.” I wonder who was throwing stones, and at who? Secondly, he said: “Once the tail wags the dog violently like it does currently, it means the dog is not in control.” I wonder who is the dog?
I take this opportunity to thank you all for sacrificing your family time in the interest of the Nation, Please drive back safely and enjoy your week. For those who are attending the Cabinet Lekgotla, see you next week. To the facilitators, on my behalf and on behalf of the Department and the Parastatals, thank you for a job well done. It could have been a difficult process to conclude without you, your experience, expertise, tenacity and leadership helped us navigate this complex exercise. Once more – Thank You
Source: Mpumalanga Economic Development, environment and Tourism
Issued by: Mpumalanga Economic Development, Environment and Tourism
12 Feb 2011
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