On Thursday, 4 May 2017 Public Works’ Monitoring and Evaluation directorate, led by Mr Zamo Zwane strengthened the service delivery muscle as the National and Provincial Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation (NAPROV PM & E) Forum was hosted at eThekwini Conference Centre, Mayville in Durban. During the last forum that was held at the same venue on 21 May 2015, all Public Works Departments reached a resolution to increasing the momentum and propensity of ‘good governance’ by reporting correct outcomes of each delivered projects and programmes.
In her keynote address, Mrs Sindi Linda, the Chief Director for Property Management emphasised the importance of all provincial Public Works Departments, who are members of NAPROV PM & E Forum to continue working together as a “family” in fulfilling the goals and objectives of their mandate. According to Mrs Linda, the ‘forum’ should begin to act on a common practice of realising, enhancing and increasing improvement in reporting. The 2017 NAPROV PM & E Forum’s focus is on compliance to reporting mechanisms because the ‘Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation’ components remain pivotal towards steering a direction towards the realisation of ‘good governance’ by all Public Works departments.
(Above): Mrs Sindi Linda Chief Director for Property Management
During the delivery of her keynote address.
It must be understood how departments reach decision- making on how they implement such decisions to conduct public affairs and manage public resources. This process therefore implies that departments would require accomplishing prudent contracts within business environment respectively and complying with specific standards as set by society and other clientele.
Learning from the experiences is that the collapse of some prominent core business projects in some government departments during the past decade or so has been attributed to ‘poor governance’. The NAPROV PM & E Forum is now examining its own governance policies, structures and practices in an attempt to prevent the calamities that have plagued some provincial public works departments in terms of planning, monitoring, evaluation and ‘reporting’.
The tools to be implemented by the forum are to be such that they respond to the principles of ‘good governance’ such as accountability; representation and participation; efficiency and effectiveness; responsiveness; rule of law; openness and transparency; ethical conduct and capacity competence.
Key areas of reporting were on the entire ‘core’ businesses of public works departments that included Infrastructure Delivery Projects, Designs, EPWP projects, Community Development, Innovation and Empowerment, Coordination and Compliance Monitoring, Construction, Maintenance and Immovable Asset Management. However, the two-day jam-packed programme outlined presentation and discussion topics such as Quarterly Reports on Performance; Implementation Report of the previous NAPROV PM & E Forum held in Eastern Cape; Evaluation of GIAMA; General Audit Findings on Predetermined Objectives; Project Plan on Annual Reports and De-Brief towards NAPROV PM & E Forum Improvement Plan
Planning, monitoring and evaluation remains a process that will always assist departments in improving performance and achieving results. Its goal is to improve current and future management of outputs, outcomes and impact. The forum is structured that all planning, monitoring and evaluation practitioners’ from the country’s Public Works are represented at future forums. The aim is to ensure that individual group of practitioners within the public works departments increase their abilities to perform functions, solve problems and achieve objectives, continue to understand and deal with their development need in a broader context and sustainable manner.
Challenges and or drawbacks of good governance will always emerge in some form. These challenges will impede the successful implementation of ‘radical economic transformation’ vision by government. However, there are those drawbacks of good governance that may enable some officials to use this to their advantage. A few key disadvantages are tabled below:
- Separation of ownership and management: Some managers may strive to achieve goals that are not aligned with their respective departmental goals. This could harm the department and government in the end. The executive committee representatives of departments responsible for assets face a conflict of interest when they allegedly try to gain personal benefits from government’s success rather than working towards maximising shareholders wealth.
- Disloyal employees: In any government department, like corporate institutions, there are those officials who have ‘access’ to highly confidential and non-public organizational information. If with known and unknown reasons, such information cannot be made available to the monitoring and evaluation practitioners, it means the reports will be incomplete and as such be regarded as inaccurate.
- Misrepresentation of information: There are situations when monitoring and evaluation practitioners allegedly misrepresent financial and or statistical data into the reports. Such practice also remains a drawback of good governance is misleading information and can let the department get away with a corrupt act/s.
- Monitoring costs: Due to extensive abuse of power delegated to some managers and or employees under ‘corporate governance’ in government departments, laws, policies, rules and regulations have been formulated to prevent such misuse and abuse of power. However, complying with these laws can be costly and stressful for most departments. The internal controls that have been set in departments would seek to address all internal control systems to ensure that statistics and or financial statements are not misleading and are actually correct.
On the contrary, the forum envisages that all reports developed are able to reflect an economic benefit for government. This will ensure a good reputation, which also translates into a good flow of capital by attracting a radical approach in economy to benefit the economic situation of the province and the nation at large.
If representatives and practitioners of the 2017 NAPROV PM & E Forum conform to the resolutions of good governance, then all Public Works departments will eventually demonstrate the following benefits of good monitoring, evaluation and reporting:
- strong integrity, leadership and management skills in all of the places where they are needed;
- processes in place for monitoring, evaluation and reporting the quality of reports with appropriate involvement of all employees within individual departments;
- processes in place for delivering improvements in quality and credible reporting;
- lean and competent administration;
- robust and transparent statistical and or financial systems regarding internal and external reporting; and
- contribution to better performance in planning, monitoring and evaluation administration.
Planning, monitoring and evaluation should not just be on paper but actual results should be seen. The NAPROV PM & E Forum emphasized the importance of quality, tangible service delivery, with specific reference to the realization of good governance. It is noted that Public Works is taking a stance to muscle good governance for the benefit of the country’s economy.
We need to acknowledge and appraise the good work achieved by the NAPROV PM & E Forum since its establishment. We shall continue to remain as ‘eagles’ in monitoring progress. Looking forward to the next progressive forum in 2019.
Above (fltr) is the Monitoring & Evaluation Team:
Thembinkosi Dlamini, Charlene Rungasami,
Nonhlanhla Khanyile, Zanele Majola and Zamo Zwane