Minister Thulas Nxesi on a mission to turn the Department around
16 Feb 2012
Public Works Minister, Honourable Thulas Nxesi has vowed to bring on board all stakeholders (such as unions, regions, branches, entities and professional councils) with the aim of turning the Department of Public Works (DPW) around, transforming the built environment at large and creating jobs.
He was speaking at a meeting with the Public Entities and Professional Councils in Cape Town on the 10th of February 2012 where he revealed a number of steps he has taken in order to develop the turnaround strategy for Public Works. These include engaging with a legal advisor to liaise directly with the Special Investigating Unit and other agencies - to address issues of corruption within the Department.
The Minister acknowledged the role played by the public entities and professional councils, in the built environment and invited these sectors to a discussion on the transformation of the construction sector. He explained that the Department has also withdrawn financial delegations to regions and centralised the leases to ensure scrutiny and accountability.
“We are currently developing measures to ensure that this does not result in bottle necks,” said the Minister. As part of the bigger (turnaround) strategy, the Minister has put in place short-term ‘stabilisation' measures to address immediate weaknesses in relation to the Fixed Asset Register, lease management and steps to address audit problems.
Based on the Rapid Report that the Minister commissioned into the state of the Department and the consultations he had with stakeholders, the Minister announced a series of measures to build capacity for further stabilisation projects, whilst beginning the process of fundamental review of the department’s operations.
He said these measures include the establishment of a Support Team under the Office of the Director-General of the Department, adding that there was no point in putting such a team in the ministry – because ministers change with every election.
The Support Team will include a core team to institutionalise and manage the change process, consisting of a Team Leader to manage the process under the Director-General (DG), a Change Management practitioner to manage consultation processes and communications with stakeholders, a Business Strategist to analyse business processes and systems of the Department, as well as a Monitoring and Evaluation practitioner to monitor, analyse and measure performance.
“Don’t be surprised if I come to you in your entities and councils, to help me source these skills,” the Minister told delegates.
As part of the measures, the Minister also announced the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee to provide advice and political support, and the Technical Advisory Committee comprising among others of Treasury’s Technical Assistance Unit and representatives from the Ministry and DPW to provide technical advice and operational experience.
He said these measures were aimed at the further stabilisation of the organisation and to steer the long term change process. “This announcement is not an end in itself, but the beginning of a process of change based on the belief that only the people in Public Works can transform Public Works – but they won’t do it alone,” emphasised the Minister.
In his concluding remarks, the Minister challenged the public entities and professional councils to start thinking about how they’ll respond to the critical issues pertaining job creation, which President Jacob Zuma emphasised during his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) on the 9th of February 2012.
He said two very powerful messages from the SoNA are the need to scale up efforts in regard to job creation, and the centrality of strategic infrastructural investment to job creation and economic growth and development. “As DPW and as entities and professional associations operating within the built environment, we have to ask what is our role and how do we contribute to achieving these imperative,” alluded the Minister.
He said while at the level of job creation, these debates are already going on within the Department and the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) Branch, there’s a need to look further and ask ourselves if enough is being done to create work opportunities.
Issued by: Department of Public Works
16 Feb 2012
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