Nape Nchabeleng, newly appointed Director-General (DG) in the Office of the Premier, wishes to see the province among the top three provinces within the next five years.
“There is much less talk now of corruption in the province, the debt deficit was eradicated and with two new special economic zones and issues of economic and industrial development receiving priority attention, things will go better in the province. There are also a lot less protests regarding service delivery taking place. The Department of Health is relatively stable and we are working on a turnaround plan for the Department of Education.” he said. “Leaders must manage the fiscus efficiently and effectively.”
According to him his biggest challenge is to stabilise provincial governance.
“This is, obviously, a challenge with many sub-challenges,” he said during an interview on Monday.
Nchabeleng has been acting in the position for nearly two years since his acting predecessor, Phuti Pheme retired. His responsibilities are a mouthful as he will be the Accounting Officer responsible for overseeing the administration of provincial and national legislation, coordinate the preparation and initiation of provincial legislation, ensure that the provincial administration has the necessary capacity in terms of governance, policies, business processes and systems, manage performance of the provincial administration, monitor and evaluate service delivery and governance in the province. Nchabeleng will oversee the implementation of policy and planning in the province, strengthen intra- and inter-governmental relations as well as international relations and provide corporate management of the Office of the Premier. It will be expected from him to maintain high quality standards in the output and encourage others to meet similar standards and manage allocated resources, both human and capital, effectively, economically and efficiently.
The first big task after being appointed at the Office of the Premier was to start developing a new provincial and development strategy, the Limpopo Development Plan (LDP), built on the top ten strategic priorities for the province. For a province just recently out of Section 100 administration, it meant giving a lot of attention to good governance and administration and secondly planning to ensure access for all residents of the province to service delivery, including water, electricity and sanitation.
“It also includes economic and industrial programmes so the province can contribute to the national development plan,” Nchabeleng said. “For me as DG, responsible for administration, it means to provide proper guidance and leadership and to make sure that municipalities also play their part.”
One of the key issues identified by Nchabeleng within the context of good governance is the aspiration that all departments and entities should obtain clean audits. “It is a passion of mine. It can be done. Some departments and entities have obtained clean audits and it can be done again. We are the only province without any clean audits at all, and we regressed during the section 100 administration.”
Office of the Premier
He said a well-oiled machinery was needed in the Office of the Premier, which must be an example to all departments. “Certain areas may need improvement on, but we had received unqualified opinions in the past and manage our finances well. The challenge is to give strategic guidance to all government departments. I am responsible for the entire public administration.” He intends to change the management focus in the office and to change the mandate in the near future.
“We used to have four Deputy Directors-General, and when I began here 90% of our targets were administratively focussed, with around 3% strategic planning, 2% monitoring and evaluation and 5% transversal corporate governance. I would like to change it to be more externally focussed, with around 35% transversal planning, 35% monitoring and evaluation, 20% administrative and human resources and 10% internal focussed. It will take time, but we will get there.”
For relaxation he loves to read, and enjoys a variety of political-economic, management and leadership books as well as African literature, with Ben Okri, Nigerian author and poet as one of his favourites, and listens to gospel and jazz music.
Featured photo: Nape Nchabeleng, Director-General in the Office of the Premier wants to take the province places.