'Religious bias and hatred' throw KZN Public Service Academy into crisis
Officials at the academy, based in the Office of the Premier, say the unresolved issues have created anger and hatred within the facility which have become unbearable and could lead to violence among officials.
The academy exists to ensure that training and development programmes are offered to the provincial administration that will lead to improved employee and organisational performance.
Officials who spoke out to the Daily News would not be named for fear of their lives. They said the department was divided into two groups, one supporting and one against the style of management.
“That there is tension is an understatement; there is such hatred that we are afraid of our lives. There is discrimination by colour and religion. It has been five years since the problems were identified, but nothing has happened to resolve the issues. Poor, dirty management is destroying the academy,” said one official.
Another said a “diagnosis exercise” of the issues was conducted. A report was drafted four years ago and recommendations were made.
“There are overt and covert issues and the leadership does not pay attention to addressing covert issues, which brings the academy into disrepute, and the union have not done anything to come to our rescue,” the official said.
One report on the issues is dated March 11, 2016, and was drafted by the senior manager of Provincial Organisational Development, Bhekinkosi Darlington Ndwalane. The report makes recommendations to address the issues. A second, dated October 15, 2018, drafted by Solo Nxele, states that a task team was established to manage implementation of the 2016 recommendations.
Premier’s Office spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said they were in the process of addressing the issues. “There is progress in the process of coming to a solution and the truth of the allegations that were brought forward.
“We are looking into both sides of the story, aiming to get to the root of the issues. A lot has been done to the satisfaction of some staff, but other issues are still in the process of being addressed,” he said.
“We were not aware that the situation at the academy had led to employees thinking about violence,” said Mabaso.
The provincial manager of the Public Servants’ Association of SA, Mlungisi Ndlovu, said the delay in solving the problems at the academy “is a matter of incompetence and unprofessionalism”.
Major Issues Mentioned By Officials
- Benevolent-authoritative leadership style.
- Senior management makes decisions unilaterally without obtaining input from lower-level staff, leading to junior staff feeling they are not part of the team.
- Leadership only believes in a top-down approach, where employees are not allowed to provide input on matters affecting their immediate working environment.
- There is poor transversal and internal support, preventing the academy from focusing on ensuring compliance in provincial departments.
- Staff management is very poor, with some staff receiving preferential treatment.
- Staff belonging to some religions are given preference over those of other religions.
- Corruption: staff on the same employment levels and with the same job descriptions earn different salaries.