Mama Reverse Action
When she was premier of Gauteng, Water Affairs and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane earned her nickname, Mama Action, by her no-nonsense approach to governance.
These days, the nickname remains true, but for all the wrong reasons. The action the minister now takes has little to do with effective management of the state.
As it has been reported, Mokonyane has allowed an outsider – a young man who puts a smile on her face and with whom she is said to spend a lot of alone time – to take the reins.
Senior officials have told this newspaper that she allows one Luvo Makasi to dish out orders to her most senior staff, and suppliers say they have been told to meet with him to discuss their contracts.
Two weeks ago, at a meeting at which Mokonyane was present, Makasi was calling the shots, issuing instructions to executives, including the most senior bureaucrats.
Makasi’s possibly unlawful role shows the depths to which the department has sunk. For the past year, City Press has been reporting on how Mokonyane has been running this critical unit into the ground by influencing the extension of lucrative contracts to her cronies.
Last week, we revealed that, because of her reckless management, the department was billions of rands in the red and unable to pay its suppliers.
Senior department officials, as well as those in Treasury, are calling for Cabinet to consider placing the department under administration.
The importance of Mokonyane’s department to the nation cannot be overstated. It oversees the provision of water to citizens and industry, without which we will not survive. We know this, but does Mokonyane?
If she did, why would she be so capricious in her handling of Phase 2 of the R26 billion Lesotho Highlands Water Project, without which Gauteng – the nation’s engine – would be crippled?
And if she had a clear understanding of the lifeand-death power of her position, would she have allowed pheromones to determine how she conducts her public responsibilities?
It clearly doesn’t matter because Mokonyane has powerful backers, including the president, who have proven able to overlook his allies’ wrongdoing. A hard-earned good reputation from her work as premier has been irreparably battered. With all these revelations we should be seeing the back of Mokonyane. But we know we won’t.