I have noted with interest and enthusiasm that the Department of Public Works in KwaZulu-Natal seems to be a ‘stand-alone’ department that has an existing Head Office building where all its employees are cuddled and located in one structure to serve the public, needless to mention the KZN Treasury department and others unmentioned in this piece.
We cannot change the truth that the Head of Department, Mr Roger Arumugam Govender will retire by the end of March 2017. He has been in office with the department since the 11th of August 2011 and his parting will leave healthy memories to most of the personnel.
As we bid farewell to Mr Govender, we reflect on some of the outstanding achievements he has registered during his tenure. For understanding, our focus is on the ‘renovation and refurbishment of the Head Office Building at 191 Prince Alfred Street’. For more information, read the article “How Leaders and Their Teams Achieve” posted on the website.
Above: Head of Department, Mr A Govender (seated) with the Project Team that delivered on his legacy – Head Office Building Project
In a given moment, one can always do something but one cannot do everything. Mr Govender has been that team leader who remained bold and diplomatic amid wondering about tensions that have generated inspiring and effective ideas that assisted ‘the department’ to face its challenges.
Since the determination on the construction of Head Office, on 17 July 2012 until the practical completion of the entire project internally and externally as expected on 15 February 2017, one can see tangible outcomes. One can attest, point or show a structure, which is today known as the ‘KZN Public Works’ Head Office building’ or commonly known as ‘191 Building’. Trust builds when a team features two things: common purpose and having each other’s back. A formidable team always measure progress, learn when it falls short and celebrate when it succeeds. When employees feel trusted and relied upon, their performance improves and leadership emerges everywhere through strategic outcomes. Building this much trust therefore shows up as sustained creative accomplishment.
Yes, there were challenges experienced as work was in progress, however, such challenges would always demand that a team moves past a probability into possibility. The construction challenges to the project were mainly the contractor’s poor quality control, contractor labour turnover sometimes and coordination of sub-contractors, the contractor was also ‘claims oriented’ as more time was spent on claims than actual service delivery. In addition, the project delay caused by basement flooding on 16 March 2016, the IT cables damaged by rodents during the same period under review and all openings in the manholes that had to be closed off.
Head Office Project Team: Standing (fltr) Messrs A Cassim, A Govender, K McCarthy and N de Wet. Seated (fltr) are Dr S Gichia, Ms N Kubheka and Mr P Culligan
Acknowledgement and appreciation on the efforts and good work done through the leadership of Dr Stanley Gichia as he spearheads the Directorate Major Projects Management. Mr Kevin McCarthy, the Liaison Quantity Surveyor and Project Leader who took the project over from Ms Michelle de Goede since February 2015 got the wheels rolling through a tremendous support from the Public Works team. Interestingly is that Ms Mpume Kubheka, an architectural student assisted with partitioning layouts for a 10 months period, while she was on an internship programme with Public Works. To date Ms Kubheka is a professional architect with both the department and the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP). Credit also goes to the formidable Public Works team of professionals who were involved in the project namely Messrs. K McCarthy Liaison Quantity Surveyor and Project Leader, Nic de Wet Liaison Civil and Structural Engineer, Patrick Culligan Liaison Architect, Anand Govender Liaison Architect and Infrastructure Office Planner/ Allocation Planner and Anwar Cassim the Director Logistics Services. It would be unfair not to complement all management, officials and stakeholders, who during the construction and movement phases exercised their patience and support but remained loyal to the course.
Project Team; Management and personnel from the Directorate Major Projects Management
It is worth noting that the management of such a huge project at hand needed not just a miracle from heaven but an individual who will fully put his or her efforts and expertise with passion towards the project. In this case, Kevin McCarthy, the Liaison Quantity Surveyor and project leader remains a prominent figure. He has shown all fundamental qualities in the delivery of such prestigious work. Kevin has diligently displayed during the course his excellent knowledge, planning, team influence, communication, interpersonal and negotiation skills, alliance management, decision making, ability to share a clear vision and inspire others, positive attitude, enthusiasm, integrity, competence, cool and calm disposition at all times. It is obvious that with less support from your team members, there will always be less, poor or no results. His colleagues have played a significant role towards his goal to propel service delivery effectively. Kevin is indeed a problem solver and a team builder that one could be proud to work with.
We should direct and indirect, pride ourselves to having had a Head of Department with Roger’s calibre. He has kept the timing and promise create massive value. This has contributed to accelerating achievement, improving leverage, reducing resistance and increasing alignment, increasing the joy of work and the honour of belonging and finally increasing the credibility of his leadership.
Therefore, a great legacy that Roger Arumugam Govender displayed through the years has featured creativity that arose from the foundational values, the trust-built sense of wonder, which assured that the team’s ‘best’ days were not behind them but always ahead. His work is not to be scrutinized and his honesty is unsurpassed.
As he walks down on his chosen path, he is leaving with his head held high. As he bids farewell to the entire Public Works, he is indeed leaving a legacy. May the treasures of life come knocking, even though it will be difficult to accept the pain. All wishes to him to have success in his remaining life. He has made a difference in everybody’s career. The support and guidance he has given from outside and from inside is forever treasured. Thank you Mr Govender, for being a great leader. A job well done.