Address by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane during the Gauteng by u0bnRc




Programme Director
Heads of Departments
Employees of the Gauteng Provincial Government
Ladies and Gentlemen,

In our quest to become a globally-competitive city-region, the Gauteng Provincial
Government travelled the length and breadth of the globe to study the various
models of such regions. One of the main features of such regions is their highly-
skilled and malleable workforce which is able to respond to the realities of a rapidly-
changing global economy. We learnt that these city-regions, from Hong Kong to Sao
Paolo, are powered by an educated labour force which is forever mutating to stay
ahead of the competition. That is how they maintained their competitive edge and
continued to grow and provide jobs for their populations.

In our province, we have always viewed the quality of human resources as a critical
factor in the capacity of the government to deliver on its mandate. We believe that
human resources are a cornerstone for the overall success of implementing
government priorities. For, it does not matter how efficient and effective our policies
are, if there are no qualified people to carry out the hard work of building a better
Gauteng, that is as good as doing nothing.

That is why we are gathered here today for the Gauteng Province’s Human
Resources Summit. We are here to share best practice; ideas and innovation which
will help us harness our available skills in order to achieve our goals. This Summit
will also help us develop new programmes to improve our talent attraction and skills
retention capacity. So, in essence the Summit will help us assess what we have and
devise means and ways of remedying where we have shortcomings.

We have identified challenges such as the shortage of skills as the single greatest
impediment to service delivery, to the success of public infrastructure and private
investment programmes. Even though extensive work has been done at the national
level to identify occupational categories most affected by labour shortages and
introducing initiatives to attract and retain staff in these areas, departments are not
doing enough to introduce targeted interventions. As a result, skills shortages are
continuing to constrain government’s delivery programmes.

There are challenges that departments are experiencing in recruiting and retaining
employees with scarce skills and this is evident in the high vacancy and turnover
rates within departments.    For an example, our Department of Health has been
struggling to get specialised skills such as theatre and Intensive Care Unit nurses.

We are also experiencing the same problem in areas of engineering and planning,
artisan and technical, project management, quantity surveying, veterinary and
agriculture, economic sciences, environmental management and social work.

To this end, the Gauteng Provincial Government has taken a conscious decision to
stop using consultants and actually build in-house capacity, especially with regard to
project management and quantity surveying.

We are becoming prudent. In this province, we want to hire people who can do the
work and not depend on consultants. We believe that skills for infrastructure must
be in-house. We have seen with some of our successful housing projects such as
Cosmo City, Lufhereng and Chief Mogale that having our own employees with
expertise as project leaders is working.

The Human Resources Development interventions by the Gauteng City-Region
Academy (GCRA) are assisting the GPG employees by addressing gaps as are
often outlined in the Workplace Skills Plans and through their Personal Development
Plans as captured in their performance contracts and through career-pathing
programmes. There are about 170 000 people employed by the Gauteng Provincial
Government. In order to manage these huge numbers of employees it is important to

have streamlined and standardised policies as well as sound strategies, systems
and processes.

Programme Director,

While recruiting employees for the GPG departments, it is crucial that we identify all
those occupational categories where there is a dire shortage and set targets for
filling funded vacancies with all suitably qualified people. It is also important that we
ensure continuous supply of human resources through a sound Succession and
Retention Strategy. As the Gauteng Province, we have set ourselves a target of
reducing vacancies to four months and even less. Currently, we have managed to
reduce our vacancy rate by 6% and the target we had set ourselves was 5%. We are
doing well in this area.

Furthermore, we are committed to job creation. We have put in place a number of
interventions such as the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and the
Community Works Programme (CWP) to address this objective. Also, the GPG has
a Youth Employment Strategy and a Jobs Fund in place which is intended for
projects that will assist in the alleviation of unemployment, particularly of young

Most importantly, our government has a commitment to retain suitably qualified
skills. There is an equal commitment to ensure professional growth of our employees
so that economic growth can be accelerated through the participation of employees
in all economic activities of this province. In this regard, more injection of money into
the economy will lessen some pressures and allow for growth.

In all our recruitment endeavours, we want to achieve targets on the employment of
women in Senior Management Services (SMS) positions as well as on Persons with
Disabilities. Only four departments seem to be making progress in this area. The
Gauteng Provincial Government has archived 42% employment of Women in Senior
Management Positions. We are a leading province on this achievement. We have
managed to employ 0.4% of People with Disabilities in the Senior Management
Services category and 0.2% for levels 1-12. We are not very proud of this
performance rate but continue to strive for improvement. We encourage those that
are still lagging behind to come up with interventions in order to meet the 2% set
target in this area. We hope to achieve the set 50% of the employment of women in
the Senior Management echelon in the next financial year.

The finalisation of disciplinary processes should not be taking more than 3 months.
There should be a strategy to ensure that completion of suspensions with full pay is
actually finalised within 60 days. We should also measure the number of SMS
members that are charged with misconduct, disciplined and/or discharged.          The
GPG should also develop a framework of appropriate sanctions ensuring consistent
application of discipline across the GPG.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am quite pleased that we have this engagement with you today because numerous
studies are pointing to a strong correlation between worker engagement and
organisational productivity, performance and talent retention. It is clear that
employee engagement is one of the top issues confronting HR decision-makers

To create productive employees, we have to accelerate improvements in the
education foundation. To do this we have already started to pay more attention on
early childhood development, the school system as well as adult basic education and
training. We are beginning to turn the tide and you would know that in 2011 our
province took the first place in matric result and this year we took the second place.
We are now focusing on increasing the number of school leavers with matric
exemption in maths, science and technology while ensuring that generic skills in
language and literacy are substantially improved.

Programme Director,

In conclusion, much effort has gone into improving performance levels, but criticism
about poor service delivery and inadequate responsiveness to the needs of the
people remains.
In its report on the management of poor performance, the Public Service
Commission concluded that the management of poor performance remains a key
challenge in the Public Service. Factors that contribute to this include work culture
issues, person-to-person mismatch, lack of skills, lack of performance standards,
and a failure to implement the Performance Management and Development System
(PMDS) properly.

Managers are generally unwilling to execute this responsibility despite the fact that
they understand the rationale for managing poor performance. Furthermore, Heads
of Departments were found to be too lenient on their managers by not holding them
fully accountable for managing poor performance. In addition, HR divisions often fail
line managers in that they do not take ownership for facilitating and monitoring the
performance management process. The Executive Council has come out strongly on
this issue of consequential management. There has to be accountability for non-
performance. Managers need to punish wrongdoing and instil discipline where

The Public Service needs men and women who are highly professional and efficient.
This will require a shift in the way that human resources are managed. That shift
begins here and with good planning will inevitably result in desired changes, so let us
strive for better changes in the public service. Let us in the famous words of
Mahatma Ghandi, be the change we want to see.



To top