From the CEO’s Desk

SUS­TAIN­ING PER­FOR­MANCE WHILE STRIV­ING FOR BEST MAN­AGE­MENT PRAC­TICES

Mmileng - - Contents - Roma Rena!

In the 2012/13 fi­nan­cial year, Roads Agency Limpopo (RAL) got a dis­claimer from the of­fice of the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral of South Africa. And in the 2013/14 and 2014/15 fi­nan­cial years, the Agency got con­sec­u­tive ad­verse au­dit out­comes.

All these afore­men­tioned au­dit opin­ion ver­dicts were at­trib­uted to a num­ber of com­plex is­sues, such as Sup­ply Chain Man­age­ment (SCM), which led to au­dit find­ings be­ing raised that cer­tain goods or ser­vice, or both, were pro­cured ir­reg­u­larly and in some in­stances for no sub­stan­tive rea­son, lead­ing to ir­reg­u­lar, and fruit­less and waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture. Ir­reg­u­lar pro­cure­ment was as a re­sult of the lack of in­ter­nal con­trols.

In ad­di­tion to the SCM chal­lenges, there was lead­er­ship in­sta­bil­ity at the Board of Direc­tors and ex­ec­u­tive man­age­ment lev­els.

The Board of RAL, led by Board Chair­per­son Matome Ralebipi was ap­pointed by the MEC of Pub­lic Works, Roads and In­fra­struc­ture in April 2014. This was sub­se­quently fol­lowed by my ap­point­ment to the po­si­tion of Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of the Agency in March 2015.

The lead­er­ship fo­cussed on putting in­ter­nal con­trols and sys­tems in place to curb ir­reg­u­lar, and fruit­less and waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture as part of the fo­cus ar­eas of the 2015-2020 turn­around strat­egy.

Deal­ing with his­tor­i­cal ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture of more than R1.6 bil­lion was a se­ri­ous chal­lenge due to lack of doc­u­men­ta­tion, and co­op­er­a­tion of some staff mem­bers who had left the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The fact that there were two con­sec­u­tive ad­verse au­dit opin­ions con­trib­uted to the com­plex­ity of the op­er­a­tional chal­lenges at RAL. How­ever, the lead­er­ship was de­ter­mined to meet the chal­lenge of turn­ing around the Agency.

Se­nior man­age­ment and ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions were filled with qual­i­fied and ex­pe­ri­enced in­di­vid­u­als, more es­pe­cially in the En­gi­neer­ing and Fi­nance di­vi­sions. En­gi­neer­ing and fi­nance are crit­i­cal for the suc­cess of the Agency be­cause one of the chal­lenges was at­trib­uted to the out­dated fixed as­set reg­is­ter.

Fur­ther­more, at Board level, the lead­er­ship fo­cused on ca­pac­i­tat­ing and strength­en­ing the over­sight com­mit­tees, more es­pe­cially the in­de­pen­dent Au­dit and Risk Com­mit­tee, which had three in­de­pen­dent non-ex­ec­u­tive direc­tors who are ex­pe­ri­enced Char­tered Ac­coun­tants (SA) in their own right.

This hard work and com­mit­ment to suc­ceed was re­warded in the first full fi­nan­cial year of the cur­rent lead­er­ship - the 2015/16 - when the Agency turned two prior ad­verse au­dit opin­ions into a qual­i­fied au­dit opin­ion. This was fol­lowed by an im­proved un­qual­i­fied au­dit opin­ion in 2016/17.

Even though the tar­get hence­forth was to achieve a clean au­dit opin­ion, the Agency did not regress re­tain­ing the un­qual­i­fied au­dit out­come for 2017/18. This is a clear in­di­ca­tor of the man­i­fes­ta­tion of his­tor­i­cal SCM chal­lenges and the need for the cleanup of the as­set reg­is­ter.

It is cru­cial to bal­ance in­fra­struc­ture ser­vice de­liv­ery, com­pli­ance and good gov­er­nance. Put sim­ply, an in­sti­tu­tion can com­ply with pro­cure­ment pro­cesses but fail in terms of in­fra­struc­ture ser­vice de­liv­ery. Thank­fully RAL has been able to bal­ance the two.

Dur­ing the cur­rent 2018/19, RAL is also plan­ning to ac­cel­er­ate its Strate­gic Part­ner­ship Ap­proach and con­clu­sion of agree­ments stem­ming from such ne­go­ti­a­tions to de­liver on the much­needed road in­fra­struc­ture in the prov­ince.

In the pe­riod 2015 to date, part­ner­ship agree­ments val­ued at more than R482 mil­lion have been signed with pri­vate sec­tor part­ners. More specif­i­cally, strate­gic part­ner­ship agree­ments with the min­ing in­dus­try have re­sulted in the im­proved de­liv­ery of eco­nom­i­cally strate­gic road in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects in min­ing dis­tricts such as Sekhukhune and Water­berg.

This has re­sulted in vis­i­ble dent against road in­fra­struc­ture back­log that has been a se­ri­ous chal­lenge in our rel­a­tively sparse ru­ral prov­ince.

We will fur­ther en­gage with con­sult­ing tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tion-ori­ented com­pa­nies to ex­plore op­tions of de­liv­er­ing cheaper and af­ford­able but good qual­ity roads.

The Pres­i­dent of South Africa and the Premier of Limpopo have called on all of us to join in the course for eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and bet­ter­ment of our peo­ple’s lives. We dare not dis­ap­point.

MR MASE­LA­GANYE MATJI, RAL Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer

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