I often talk about the incompetence of civil service, but today I want to give a big thumbs up to how the home affairs department is pulling itself together. Long the bane of many South African’s life, home affairs used to be a non-stop queue of bureaucracy, procedure and running around in circles. It appears as though things have changed.
A friend of mine needed an emergency passport only to discover that the turnaround for a new passport is two weeks, dramatically shorter than he previously thought. Congratulations to the Randburg Home Affairs Department for beginning to stem the tide of negativity against them and deliver good results back to the public.
I know that not everything is working everywhere in South Africa, but here is a positive spin around what the right leadership can deliver. When Mavuso Msimang became Director General of Home Affairs he already had a proven track record of delivery as CEO of The National Parks Board.
Firstly he knew he had the support of his minister. Thereafter he knew what had to be done, galvanized the right team, with the right technical support, set clear outcomes and very soon the results were evident.
It sounds simple really – put the right people in the right positions and let them build the right team – quality, capability and ability to deliver rather than to appease past injustices or creating jobs for mates! So it seems here is a recipe for malfunctioning Government departments. Ensure that the Minister and Director General are aligned strategically – let the DG get on with his role without interference, let him employ the right team for the right reasons, hold him accountable for delivery against clearly defined outcomes and there is a good chance that things will get done properly.
Do you think that it is as simple as this? This is one such example, Msimang is also quoted as saying that he “…failed to root out rampant corruption in his department during his three year tenure as a turnaround specialist.” What other factors come into play when looking for results based outcomes in both the public sector and in organisations?