SA has so many qualified young people ready to serve

Kenneth Mokgatlhe

Kenneth Mokgatlhe

Published Mar 27, 2024


Kenneth Mokgatlhe

The recent media spectacle at the North West Development Corporation has exposed a lack of security and screening by government authorities when they were alleged to have hired a Zimbabwean national, Kudawashe Mpofu, without proper visa documents.

It is surprising how the government agency would employ a person from another country while we have so many graduates with excellent qualifications.

Towards the end of last year, it was reported that the City of Joburg’s Johannesburg Property Company (JPC) appointed someone without matric to be part of the JPC board, an entity that oversees the city’s 30 700-odd properties worth more than R8.7 billion. This person who was parachuted to the JPC board had only been a toll-gate cashier and receptionist.

Towards the end of 2023 again, “Dr” Thabi Leoka made international headlines when media reports claimed that she did not have a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics (LSE) as she previously misrepresented herself to her former employers and the public at large.

It is quite evident that “Dr” Leoka scored a lot of positions as it was thought that she was who she said she was. She was appointed to the Presidential Economic Advisory Council as well as the committee that advised the Ministry of Finance in 2017 when it reconsidered which basic food products needed to be exempted from value-added tax to meet the poor halfway.

A year ago, I did a story where the former Social Development’s head of department, Relebohile Makofane, allegedly did not meet job requirements. In 2019, the Public Service Commission (PSC) made scathing findings against Makofane that he did not qualify for work at Faith Muthambi’s ministerial office. He was “redeployed” to the North West provincial government.

It is against this background that the North West provincial government in particular and the South African government in general have not been able to provide quality, competent, and professional service delivery to more than 60 million of its growing population.

The collapsing local and provincial government in the North West is clearly due to incompetent, corrupt, and unqualified individuals who do not know how local or provincial government functions.

What is heartbreaking is that we have qualifying young people who are ready to diligently serve their government, but this is made impossible by ANC’s cadre deployment policy.

This is true for minor institutions such as hospitals and schools where there have been vacancies for more than three years because the ANC has not decided who will be employed.

It is so difficult to gain a managerial role when you do not have a membership or background in the ANC. This is true in Mojalefa’s CV as he mentioned his seniority during the struggle in uMkhonto weSizwe, the military wing of the ANC, because he understands its vitality in searching for a job.

We always ask ourselves: Why is the private sector able to thrive while the public sector faces endless human and financial shortcomings?

This is so because the private sector exists for profitability and productivity. The public sector exists as a gravy train for heartless politicians who aspire to be absorbed into the bourgeoisie. The private sector invests in its future, while the public sector does not adhere to its policy to be sustainable due to higher levels of corruption.

It is almost impossible to expect miracles to change our fortunes in the public service without changing its internal weaknesses in terms of its policies, systems, and institutions.

Every country in the world invests in its human capital development which will in turn help to create a capable state. South Africa has enough human capital. What could be the reason for continuously employing incapable men and women without moral and ethical standards?

Many municipalities and provincial departments in the North West should undergo a robust skills audit and ensure that they adhere to recommendations of the findings of those who would have conducted such forensic investigations.

All those who do not qualify to hold public offices should go home and those who are capacitated to serve their government should be employed to turn the public service’s image around.

Mokgatlhe is a political analyst and researcher. He is doing his Master of Arts in African Studies, African Sustainable Communities, with the Ben Gurion University of Negev, Israel.

The Star