Mashaba: Biggest challenge is to change the mindset of City employees

 

The City of Johannesburg’s institutional review and staff establishment plan, which was drafted after the election of the new council, was approved by the council last week.

The documents contained in this plan illustrate the alignment of municipal operations with the strategic objectives of its leadership – in this case, the DA-lead coalition with EFF backing.

Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba said the reports that served before council last week presented a new structure to streamline the activities of the City. The new management structure now reports to the City Manager, Dr Ndivho Lukhwareni.

Mashaba said when 38 senior personnel report to the City Manager it presents an untenable situation which is not conducive to effective governance, accountability and service delivery. The new structure will have 12 senior personnel focused on infrastructure services, social services, economic development, core functions like regulatory approvals, policy and compliance and finally, transversal and administration functions which support the City’s internal operations.

Read: Scores of ratepayers turn up in Emmarentia for City’s first billing open day 

According to Mashaba, it is untenable for 38 senior staff members to report to the City Manager. It is not conducive to effective governance, accountability and service delivery. The new structure will have 12 senior staff members, who will focus on infrastructure services, social services, economic development, core functions like regulatory approvals, policy and compliance and finally, transversal and administration functions which support the City’s internal operations.

The new administration wants to streamline its functions and do away with what the mayor refers to as ‘the silo approach’, where entities and departments operate in isolation.

The reintegration of municipal entities like City Power and Johannesburg Water – one of the first decisions approved by council with the new administration –receives significant attention in these documents as well. Another major change will see regions taking more responsibility for service delivery.

“The new structure will make regionally based heads accountable for the uptime of the City’s basic services, irrespective of which department or utility the issue may relate to. The regional offices will become effective one-stop shops for citizen engagement, without citizens having to be shunted from entity to entity.

Read: City’s priorities should reflect residents’ needs 

“The planned changes [reflected] in the reports are planned to develop over the next 18 months, with no retrenchments in the pipeline. While we do expect redundancies to emerge from the re-design of the structure and the re-integration of the City’s entities, we will ensure that [these staff members] are meaningfully and sustainably redeployed.”

At the City’s first billing open day in August, Mashaba said his biggest challenge was to change the mindset of City employees to become more customer-centred.

  AUTHOR
Chantelle Fourie

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