News24 Wire
Wire Service
3 minute read
3 Dec 2020
9:33 pm

Instability, criminal acts, poor medicine supply: Cogta begins cleanup of North West

News24 Wire

'Continued instability in municipalities undermines service delivery in the province. This needs to be addressed through close collaboration between provincial and national Cogta.'

File Picture. Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Picture: GCIS

Administrators in the beleaguered North West province have been working in a hostile environment, and as national government’s intervention in the province prolongs campaigns to discredit and intimidate administrators have intensified.

According to the national Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), political intervention improved the situation, but the hostility remains a threat.

This emerged during Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s ministerial briefing in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday.

Officials also briefed MPs on their work to improve department functions and audit outcomes.

Cabinet invoked Section 100(1) of the Constitution on the North West Department of Health on 25 April 2018, placing the department under the national government’s administration.

In May 2018, the entire provincial government was placed under administration.

Section 100 allows the national executive to intervene in a provincial government if it has been established that the provincial authority cannot fulfil its constitutional obligations.

National government stepped in after major financial, governance and capacity challenges were recorded at provincial departments.

Five administrators were appointed, with the support of 26 members.

Regression

The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation’s Jonathan Timm said the risk of regression in departments currently under Section 100(1)(b) required mitigation, issuing targeted directives and close monitoring when the administrators withdraw.

“Continued instability in municipalities undermines service delivery in the province. This needs to be addressed through close collaboration between provincial and national Cogta. Gains made towards establishing District Development Model in province will be leveraged,” Timm said.

He said the vacant heads of departments will require oversight by the inter-ministerial task team (IMTT).

Timm also said there were challenges in the North West Department of Human Settlements.

“The provincial Department of Human Settlements lacks the institutional capacity to manage the full portfolio of housing programmes and projects. This has led to over reliance on the outsourced project management unit.

“Slow progress in disciplinary processes is identified as a risk. Officials facing charges have employed delaying tactics to frustrate disciplinary hearings. Consideration is being given for a special dispensation for disciplinary cases during an intervention,” he said.

He also said the slow progress in criminal cases poses a risk to the intervention.

“Efforts have been made to improve coordination between law enforcement agencies and increase capacity,” he added.

Highlighting improvements in service delivery, Timm said a 10-year maintenance and refurbishment plan for hospitals has been completed and key services have been restored.

Improved

“Medicine availability in health facilities has improved through an intensive effort to address the myriad challenges that have crippled the provincial medicine supply system. One-hundred-and-nine road projects have been implemented through a provincial roads recovery plan. The road infrastructure projects have to date created 9 035 job opportunities.

“Improved financial management & oversight of school infrastructure projects implemented. [The] province recorded improvement of 5.7% in National Senior Certificate Exam results in 2019. Scholar transport contracts were set aside and preparation for new contracts is under way. This will result in significant savings,” Timm said.

He also said the provincial government have in-sourced ICT using the State Information Technology Agency.

ICT personnel employed by the province have also been utilised.

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