Jeff Radebe Set To Improve South Africa's Service Delivery Systems
Pretoria - Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, says he will submit a report with recommendations to President Jacob Zuma and the relevant Ministers on how to improve service delivery at Centurion Licensing Department and Etwatwa Police Station.
Minister Radebe, who is responsible for Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation, on Thursday paid an unannounced visit to Centurion Licensing Department, where most clients complained about having to wait in long queues for more than four hours before they received services.
Minister Radebe said he was generally not happy with how services were rendered at the licensing department and that the department needs modern equipment to function better.
“The queues are exceedingly long and clients here are generally dissatisfied with the time they spend waiting to be served. One person told me that he has been here since 6am and now it is almost 11am and he has still not been served,” said Minister Radebe.
He said it was totally unacceptable for people to queue for more than four hours to get services. Minister Radebe said he was not impressed to find that officials at the licensing department still use the old manual method.
“Everything seems to be manual instead of using digital platforms. One of the clients was even saying that it would be better if the department implements an online system to cut long queues and also make use of digital equipment,” Minister Radebe said.
The Minister said he will make recommendations to President Zuma and the Transport Minister. He said attention needs to be focused on the Centurion Licensing Department because it is convenient to many people due to being located near the highway.
“… Most people prefer to come here and there is a lot of demand for this service. We need to modernise our systems here so that we are able to provide quicker service to the residents of Gauteng,” said Minister Radebe.
One of the clients, Shoki Sekano, said she came just before 6am to renew her licence.
Sekano told the Minister she came to the department during the day on Wednesday but was advised by a car guard to go home and come back early the next morning if she wants to get help.
“We do not get any explanations from officials and we don’t even understand why the queues are moving slowly. The car guard, who is not even hired by the department, is the one who cared to explain to us how things work here.
“He even explained to me what I would need to bring with me the next day when I come, and told me that I should have hard cash because there are no swiping machines in here,” Sekano said.
The Commander responsible for licensing departments in Tshwane, Ali Maringa, told the Minister that he has requested modern equipment from the Transport MEC and National Department of Transport and that he is still waiting to receive it.
He made a request to the Minister to intervene in getting the Centurion Licensing Department new equipment and personnel.
The Minister's unannounced visits took place during the 2015 National Imbizo Focus Week, in which Ministers engage with public members about issues affecting their communities.
Etwatwa police station
Minister Radebe also visited Etwatwa Police Station in Daveyton, where he spoke to staff members and the community about services at the police station.
He said the design of the police station structures is not conducive for law enforcement, and it is “like a house”.
However, the Minister said his second impression was that there are passionate police men and women at the station, and there has been a lot of improvement from 2011 to date in terms of queue management.
“Queues are flowing very well but I am still concerned about security issues. This environment is very old and it’s like a house. Vehicle maintenance is still a concern because I was told that there are only three vehicles that officers use at the moment.
“The jurisdiction of this area has been extended but resources have not been added to ensure that police are able to do things in a proper manner,” said the Minister.
He said the police station needs a serious revamp or to be built from scratch.
“There was a budget for a new police station but regrettably members of the public burnt another police station down in the area, instead of protecting state property. So the funds were used to renovate that police station,” said Minister Radebe.
During the Minister’s walkabout at the police station, he spoke to Information Management Communication (IMC) Strategist, Siphiwe Ndlela, who agreed with the Minister’s sentiments about doing away with old style of filing completely.
Ndlela said there is a lot of duplication because the station is making use of both manual and digital systems to file dockets. She said it would be better if enough equipment is bought and used at the station.
Minister Radebe tasked Ndlela with drafting plans to digitise the filing system without using manual files. She has to submit the plans to his office by next week.
The Minister said Etwatwa police station could pilot the digitisation project for other police stations.
Victim Empowerment Centres (VEC)
Minister Radebe also spoke to a student social worker, Masekedi Letsholo, who is doing her practicals at the police station.
She told the Minister that there is a need for social workers in VECs and that at Etwatwa, the social worker is only available to counsel victims on Tuesdays.
“One social worker is responsible for about four VECs in the Ekhuruleni area. We need at least one social worker to be permanently employed at one VEC,” said Letsholo, who was with four victim supporters volunteering at the station.
The Minister also said he will make recommendations to the Social Development Minister to employ social workers at VECs.