Mama Re­verse Ac­tion

CityPress - - Voices -

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.

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