Gauteng social development 'lacks a political captain to lead'
Johannesburg - The DA in the Gauteng legislature has slammed Premier David Makhura for his delay in appointing the new MEC for social development, four months after the death of Thuliswa Nkabinde-Khawe.
Nkabinde-Khawe died in November last year following a short illness and the department has since been left without a full-time political principal.
DA spokesperson on social development Refiloe Nt’sekhe said Makhura had to expedite the process of appointing a new MEC, as current acting MEC for the department Panyaza Lesufi had a lot of work in terms of oversight under his own portfolio as education MEC.
“This department lacks a political captain to lead and oversee the functions of this department because the current acting MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, has a lot on his plate.
“We will continue to put pressure on Gauteng Premier David Makhura to appoint a full-time MEC for the department to ensure that social services are delivered to our people,” Nt’sekhe said.
Nt’sekhe also criticised the provincial department over reports which revealed that over R550 million was underspent by officials as revealed in the department’s third-quarter performance report for the 2019/20 financial year.
Nt’sekhe said the department had become notorious for underspending its allocated budget over the past financial years, despite being responsible for dealing with the most vulnerable residents.
“Despite the department’s under-expenditure and underperformance, the head of department’s contract has been renewed. This clearly indicates a lack of consequence management,” she said.
According to the report, the department had a vacancy rate of 11% across all levels, with posts for highly skilled supervisory posts being the most affected by vacancies, at 23%.
In terms of critical posts, the department had a vacancy rate of 8%, with the vacancy rate for psychologists being 36%.
Makhura’s spokesperson, Vuyo Mhaga, said the replacement of Nkabinde-Khawe had been put on the shelf as the provincial government was observing a mourning period.
“There was an agreement that we must observe this period with the family. You cannot just replace a person when they have died as if they were not there. We are Africans and this is part of our African culture. The premier will appoint a new MEC,” Mhaga said.
“There is no basis in that criticism because many things have been done since the death of Ms Nkabinde-Khawe.
The administration is working in the department under the HOD and MEC Lesufi is providing the necessary leadership politically until the appointment of a new MEC,” Mhaga said.