Already in his fourth month in office as Gauteng Premier, David Makhura has committed to addressing some of the province's most pressing issues including E-tolls, service delivery and ensuring the public administration is a corruption-free machine.
Makhura visited the John Robbie Show and said this on the damning findings into the Gauteng administration made by the Public Service Commission:
When I started in the provincial government in May, one of the first people who met me was the provincial representative of the Public Service Commission, Mr Mike Silwana. He briefed me that there are quite significant challenges according to the Public Services Commission, so it was something I was made aware of when I started in May and I was able to outline to him what I want to do. Over the past 4 months, I’ve been implementing some of the interventions to address the issues. The report came out publically last week, but it is something I have been aware of over the past 4 months.
Makhura has strong words on the fight against corruption:
There should be no equivocation about fighting corruption. We want to build clean government here in Gauteng. We want public servants, everybody – it’s by law that when you work for government, you have to declare your interests, particularly senior public service managers, who are making important decisions on tenders. They have to be open. We are opening up the tender system – we have started with two departments. Those who don’t want to declare their interests have no place in the administration.
Makhura's thoughts on the tensions between Gauteng business people and government:
You have business people who do the work and it takes unreasonably long for them to get paid. Sometimes behind this is people who are trying to extract some bribes, in order to get paid. I am dealing with this with my MECs in the province. The next few years, we’ll see much greater improvement in the performance of the public service here, but I also think people need to know that the last Auditor-General’s report points to significant improvement on the audit outcomes in the province, but we need to up the game.
Within a little over a quarter of a year in office, Makhura has established systems to address service delivery in Gauteng:
One of the important things we’ve done is to establish the Service Delivery Rapid Response team, because protests are caused by a variety of reasons. In some instances, there are issues you can sort out in no time. But I know, the Lenasia problems have to do with housing, illegal land occupations, interruptions with electricity supply – I’m aware of those issues. We are working with local government around the clock on those issues. We’ve had intensive interactions with our councillors over the last four months. Service delivery will be the hallmark of our term of office.
John Robbie later expressed curiosity in the relationship between the Gauteng ANC jointly with the Gauteng administration and President Jacob Zuma - one that is reportedly very tense. Makhura denies such claims:
It doesn’t matter what the ANC says, it doesn’t matter what we (Gauteng Provincial administration) say, the story will be repeated that the relationship is bad. Firstly at our conference, we had three national officials of the ANC and many national executives who there to support us. (On John Robbie mentioning that the President wasn’t there) they (the media) emphasised the same point. From time to time, in any organisation, you may not see eye to eye on an issue. Yes the President wasn’t there, but he issued a statement explaining the story that he was unhappy about that resolution was false. I went to brief him on our decision to appoint the panel so he was happy with that process - he issued a statement himself, so I wouldn’t want to repeat something that isn’t there. There is no issue, I was with the President last week at the PCC meeting. The issue of the E-tolls is a significant issue in our province and we are looking beyond the E-tolls.
Later responding to John Robbie's call for open communication and accountability, Makhura added:
Please hold us accountable, that is what government is there for. I would love to come here from time to time and report, but I've only been in office for 4 months, so it's not too long
Listen to the full conversation here.