North West government staff being threatened, intimidated - Dlamini-Zuma

Staff in the North West provincial government have complained of intimidation and threats since various departments there were placed under administration, Parliament has heard. 

This was according to Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who spoke to Parliament's ad hoc committee into the North West provincial government on Thursday afternoon. 

Dlamini-Zuma also chairs the inter-ministerial committee that has been intervening in the provincial government in terms of Section 100 of the Constitution since May. 

Job Mokgoro took over as premier of the province after Supra Mahumapelo announced his "early retirement".

Investigating

Dlamini-Zuma told the committee that the inter-ministerial committee was receiving assistance from national government’s Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster in dealing with the threats.

She said the authorities were investigating the source of threats to staff.

"If people threaten administrators or staff, then it is a problem that we cannot tolerate.

"If someone has a contract and that contract gets cancelled, it could happen that that person would threaten staff because they are affected.

"We have discussed this with the security Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster asked them to supply the necessary security to staff," said Dlamini-Zuma.

Ad hoc committee member for the Democratic Alliance Mergan Chetty said that in an environment where the national government was intervening to restore normality, it was not acceptable that staff were receiving threats.

"It can’t be right that people who plunged this province into the crisis that it is in are allowed to threaten the security and safety of those who are sent to rectify the situation and implement our interventions," said Chetty.

'Lack of cooperation'

Minister of Justice Michael Masutha said the Special Investigating Unit had a summary of progress around investigations and proclamations in North West Province's departments.

He said seven proclamations were under investigation and five were being assessed by his office for referral.

Dlamini-Zuma claimed there had been a lack of cooperation from the provincial department of community safety staff and provincial South African Police Services (SAPS).

The provincial department faced outstanding legal challenges over payment of suppliers, threats against staff and unresolved disciplinary cases, she said.

Interventions

The committee was also updated on other interventions in the North West province since.

The minister said departments under Section 100 (1) (a) administration in the province were still in charge of their affairs but took regular directives from national government.

These are the provincial departments of finance, economic development, rural and environment, social development, local government and human settlements as well as tourism.

Departments under Section 100 (1) (b) administration, where the provincial authority has been removed for the national authority to take over, are the office of the premier, health, public works, transport and community safety.

The office of the premier has restored the functioning of supply chain management processes and administration, the minister said. The office was also tightening up processes for payments exceeding R200 000 and various project management units.

The province’s department of health had reached an agreement with unions on contracts for community health workers, the committee heard. The department was continuing discussions with National and Provincial Treasury around the costing of hospital services and improving service standard.

The department of education and sports development had addressed a finding of R1.1bn in irregular expenditure by the Auditor General and managed to remove R350m of the amount from the classification of irregular expenditure.

In the provincial department of local government and human settlements, 12 municipalities passed resolutions approving their recovery plans. Section 139(1)(a) directives were issued regarding the appointment of senior management, financial recovery plans and curbing service protests.

The department’s challenge was that it faced delays with the finalisation of its departmental structure as a result of a pending evaluation by the Department of Public Service and Administration and the office of the premier.