ILembe District Management: A Team Full Of Aspirations for 2018

Story and images by Vusi Shabalala

On Tuesday 23 January 2018, the Communications team paid an official visit to Ilembe District Office with an aim at sourcing what ‘service delivery’ aspirations are in place for the year 2018.  As the year unfolds, it was worthwhile to get closer to the iLembe District Office management team led by Ms Thabi Khanyile, the District Director and have their sense of team preparedness in ensuring that they fulfil better results than the previous year.

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Ilembe District Office Management: Seated (fltr) are Mr B.S. Ngcobo – Control Works Inspector Structural, Ms P.T. Khanyile – ILembe District Director and Mrs M.L. Nsele - Senior Administration Officer – Auxiliary.
Standing (fltr) are Messrs M.I. Sigodlwana – Chief Artisan, A.I. Rangila – Electrical & Mechanical, N.L. Makhubo – State Accountant and M.N. Mhlangu – Senior Administration Officer SCM.

On arrival, there was a very brief meeting with Ms Khanyile and her management team. What was established is that they have already generated the eagerness to achieve more, together for the year 2018. One would agree that everything that produces success is down to a group of people with a mix of abilities and skills.  Yes, it takes a team to work together and commit to each other to see and get the results needed.

The relocation of the ILembe District Office to a new site location in Stanger within the KwaDukuza precinct is a capital project and major highlight of aspiration amongst other planned projects for the ILembe District management in the 2018/19 period. The reasons and justification for relocation is that the district office is currently utilising Park Homes as temporary offices at KwaMaphumulo and the department is not renting the property. Furthermore, the new location will afford Public Works to be located central to all four municipalities (KwaMaphumulo, Mandeni, Ndwedwe and KwaDukuza) which will be aligned to the District Municipality.
The new office block is 7717m2 with building footprint covering an area of 2064m2.  The building is a 3-storey office block comprising of workshops, staff rest room. This also includes a 2-level parking area consisting of 32 parking bays for staff and the general public.  The anticipated date for site hand over is 02 February 2018. Full report on other projects will be featured in the next ‘newsflash’.

Ms Khanyile heads a district office that has a staff complement of 39 employees (with 30 males and 09 females). Most of them fall within Program 3, as per the departmental structure. Every team needs a leader and luckily, Thabi has the responsibility to lead with a vision that inspires, primarily with ‘trust’. Probably the most popular response to what is needed in a team is trust and it is number one for us too. The stronger the trust, the better the team. A leader needs to be able to trust the team, vice versa and uncertainty in this area can be lethal. A lack of trust undermines and impedes on your ability to build a team rapport and will eventually put the brakes on your productivity.

When the going gets tough it is the goals and vision that keep a team focused and prepared to carry on when it is easier not to. If 2018 is a year to reckon for ‘effective service delivery achievement, then for sure every member of the Ilembe District Office has to believe in the vision that is accepted by all.

In every relationship, there needs a level of communication and the team will obviously be of a mix of different relationships. However, ILembe District management team aspires to offer better service delivery. One does not need to have best friends to a winning team but committed individuals who have a vision, each giving one’s best. We hope there will be celebrations for every success they achieve in the year. A successful team must celebrate together. I hope the reader would agree that a time of celebrating and enjoying each other’s company can be far more valuable than a day in the office. It is crucial to take time to celebrate and have fun – it will greatly benefit the team. It is a great way for a team to bond and increase the quality of relationships.

Other aspect of importance is effective communication that somewhere along the line your team will come unstuck. One may get through the honeymoon period but for the sake of longevity a commitment to clear and consistent communication is needed. Communication needs to be open, be done face to face and be proactive. If things go wrong then it needs to be communicated. When people falter, there needs to be the openness to communicate with each other.

To supplement the above, Ms Khanyile has been very active in an effort to enhance teamwork. To date, she meets on weekly basis (Mondays) with the District Management team (with all section Heads present) to discuss challenges and conduct planning for a week ahead, also offer advice where necessary. In addition, she also meets on quarterly basis with staff that includes artisans and handymen. Such meetings are pivotal in the sense that individual concerns are addressed with provisioning of guidance and advices on certain work related matters as well as those that relate to Sector Departments.

During the year 2018 and beyond, the ILembe District Office management aspire to:

enhance its continuity in active involvement, interaction and provisioning of support to fully attend all scheduled meetings convened by stakeholders;
honour all Local Task Team (LTT) meetings convened by the municipalities;  
provide updated feedback to the District Task Team (DTT) on economically driven projects that are implemented by Public works under Ilembe District either capital / maintenance projects, as well as
honour the IDP meetings where the Department’s significant role and its impact is deliberated with a view to afford stakeholders and citizenry alike to access Public Works services.

Challenges always emerge in any institution. However, the district office has specific challenges that prevailed at various intervals during the period under review, namely, the shortage of water within the area that also affect the district office and security related issues. However, contingency plan to the avert the problem is the installation of 2 x 5000 litre JOJO water tank (with 35mm diameter inlet) which will assist in the water supply within the building.  The safety and security has been a priority such that the district office has managed to install photocells lights to assist security personnel at night while a new fence will be erected to strengthen security of the premises.

In my assessment of such a fruitful visit, I established that Ms Khanyile and her team are different in composition and purpose. However, they have the qualities that can be found in every winning team. I detected that they have a vision of success. They resembled characteristics of engaging, collaborating, balanced diversity and respect.  Neither is better or worse but a mix of personality types in a team will give you a good balance.

Let us embrace the aspirations that the Ilembe District Office has to offer. We may all agree that challenges will always emerge, but with commitment and wisdom, they will not fail.  There is confidence that the Ilembe District Management is a team full of aspirations for the year 2018.

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Above: An owl pictured as seen while positioned under a tree in the premises of the ILembe District Offices

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Message from the MEC
Public Works employs a variety of communications tools to engage its stakeholder community. Since websites are usually the first port of call, the Department seeks to maintain a site with up to date content that is of value to our diverse audiences.
 
Mr Ravigasen Ranganathan Pillay

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