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Incompetent senior officials blamed for DTPS woes

A report has blamed stagnation at the DTPS on the "incompetence" of senior officials, including suspended DG Rosey Sekese
A report has blamed stagnation at the DTPS on the "incompetence" of senior officials, including suspended DG Rosey Sekese

Incompetent senior officials at the department of telecommunications and postal services (DTPS) are to blame for the paralysis of the department, according to a state report quoted by the City Press.

The report compiled by the Public Service Commission (PSC) found that at the centre of the departmental conflict and misunderstanding was "a lack of knowledge of the legislative framework governing the public service" by senior officials.

The report was commissioned by DTPS minister, Siyabonga Cwele, last November to investigate a leadership crisis in the department. The action was motivated by concerns received from individuals and managers about the lack of action and implementation by the department.

The commission's report found that most senior managers at the DTPS had limited knowledge about critical governance processes relating to human resources and supply chain management.

"It points to a serious lack of effectiveness in performing their duties and may be regarded as incompetence" the City Press quote the report saying.

The report from the PSC is dated 8 December but has not yet officially been released by the department. The DTPS told ITWeb last week that the minister was still "applying his mind" to the report and would make further comments in due course.

The inquiry, came after director-general (DG), Rosey Sekese, was suspended in August 2015 and later had internal disciplinary charges laid against her.

The minister approached the commission for assistance regarding the role played by senior management, including Sekese, in the dysfunction of the department. Former DTPS officials alleged that the leadership crisis could be attributed to Sekese's management style.

The PSC report found that the DTPS's internal situation is not sustainable and that Cwele had been caught in the crossfire of competitive fights between Sekese and her deputy DG's.

In a space of five months three deputy-director generals left the department last year under hostile circumstances.

Sekese under fire

The inquiry's findings are particularly damning for Sekese. It recommends that Cwele take appropriate action against her for the inadequate way she dealt with internal disciplinary cases and for failing to demonstrate that she was fit to hold her position at the DTPS.

"She did not maintain a high level of professionalism and integrity, as she failed to recognise her role as DG and that of the executive authority, as provided for in the Public Service Act, in that she did not formally inform the minister of the implementation of sanctions before she served the letters of dismissal to the [deputies] and ignored the minister's instructions to suspend disciplinary-related matters in the department," the report reads.

The report also found that she undermined Cwele by not listening to him. Her over-reliance on lawyers also "showed she was weak when it came to decision making" according to the PSC.

"The department incurred legal services on the goods and services budget amounting to R9 million, according to the 2014/15 annual report"

However Sekese is not the only one burned by the report. Three of her deputies - who left under a cloud - were cited for snubbing meetings, undermining Cwele's authority and orchestrating attempts to discredit Sekese.

The report says the deputies "failed to discharge their duties with the required degree and care and diligence that is expected of senior managers".

The commission did not report any definitive findings about the minister himself but did suggest that he had compromised the principle of accountability and performance management. One example of this was that he had still not signed Sekese's performance assessment for the 2015/16 period.

Sekese told City Press that she had not yet seen the report but was prepared to fight to clear her name in court.

The report recommends that minister Cwele "conduct a skills audit of human resources management capacity to identify gaps and initiate training to assist in ensuring compliance with prevailing prescripts".

Read time 3min 40sec
Staff Writer

ITWeb's journalist

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