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CityPress - - News - RA­PULE TA­BANE ra­pule.ta­bane@city­press.co.za

aut­eng Premier David Makhura has only been serv­ing in the ex­ec­u­tive for one year, but speaks with au­thor­ity and pre­ci­sion about the gap that frus­trates him and the peo­ple of this province – and this is that civil ser­vants do not un­der­stand “we serve peo­ple who are in­creas­ingly be­com­ing im­pa­tient with the slow pace of change”.

He wor­ries about in­sti­tu­tional and bu­reau­cratic log­jams that still re­main in the sys­tem.

“If there is some­thing I was not aware of [be­fore I joined gov­ern­ment], it is the bat­tle you have to put up to en­sure the ma­chine of gov­ern­ment moves with ef­fi­ciency. Gov­ern­ment bu­reau­cracy can be frus­trat­ing in how slow things get done.

“Some of the crit­i­cal things we have to get our of­fi­cials to un­der­stand is that com­mu­ni­ties are be­com­ing im­pa­tient at the slow pace of re­sponse. We take too long to get things done.”

Makhura (47) says the state needs to trans­form to en­sure it is re­spon­sive and builds trust with the peo­ple it serves.

“Twenty-one years into democ­racy and we still have a lot of lethargy in ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Some civil ser­vants look at you when you come into gov­ern­ment and say: ‘This one will run out of energy.’ Civil ser­vants some­times think politi­cians will come and go, and will leave them there.”

Makhura’s ex­pe­ri­ences of bu­reau­cratic foot-drag­ging in­clude plans that should have been im­ple­mented in six months tak­ing al­most a year to ef­fect.

“But I will not run out of energy. They must ask the peo­ple I worked with at the ANC for al­most 15 years.”

He is proud that in the 12 months since he took of­fice, the num­ber of ser­vice-de­liv­ery protests has dwin­dled and the hot spots or no-go ar­eas in the province have been sta­bilised.

Makhura at­tributes this to the ser­vice-de­liv­ery war room he has cre­ated. It is a high-level, rapid-re­sponse team that mon­i­tors ar­eas where there are likely to be protests over ser­vice de­liv­ery, and in­ter­venes be­fore the protest marches even take place.

He says many protests did not hap­pen be­cause the team in­ter­vened. “Re­mem­ber that the first thing peo­ple want is a gov­ern­ment re­sponse rather than a march.

“And peo­ple are rea­son­able. So we are able to talk to them. If, for ex­am­ple, they say they want a clinic and we say: ‘You can­not get the clinic you want now even if you march, but you will get it in a year or so.’”

Makhura says he runs an “ac­tivist” Cab­i­net and his MECs are ex­pected to be on the ground, re­spond­ing to ev­ery is­sue in their line of work.

He says many Gaut­eng res­i­dents iden­tify cor­rup­tion as a threat to ser­vice de­liv­ery.

His in­ter­ven­tions here in­clude en­forc­ing an open ten­der sys­tem. “Any­one can walk into a room where a ten­der is be­ing ad­ju­di­cated and can see for them­selves how de­ci­sions are taken.”

Makhura says he is on course to re­solve the en­demic prob­lems with the Gaut­eng health depart­ment. The first achieve­ment this month was that the run­ning of the depart­ment was re­stored to Gaut­eng af­ter it was placed un­der na­tional ad­min­is­tra­tion for years.

“We no longer have the in­sti­tu­tional prob­lem of sup­pli­ers not be­ing paid on time,” he says.

He is also elim­i­nat­ing the prob­lem of un­der­spend­ing, af­ter the in­fra­struc­ture depart­ment spent 99% of its bud­get.

In the next three weeks, he plans to an­nounce ma­jor plans on how to source power that will mit­i­gate load shed­ding in the province.

Af­ter his elec­tion last year, Makhura inspired hope by promis­ing to re­view the im­pact of e-tolls. Many in­ter­preted this as a sign that he would re­peal the sys­tem.

But work­ing with Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and the na­tional trans­port depart­ment, what he de­liv­ered was a com­pro­mise that of­fered sub­stan­tially re­duced tar­iffs for mo­torists, but with the e-toll sys­tem still re­main­ing in place.

PHOTO: MUNTU VI­LAKAZI

CITY OF GOLD

Gaut­eng Premier David Makhura looks out at Joburg from his of­fice PACK­ING A POWER PUNCH Thato Kgatl­hanye (left) and Re­abetswe Ng­wane with their in­no­va­tive school­bags

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