Who's the boss in 10 parastatals?
STORIES BY WELCOME DLAMINI
MBABANE – Ten of Swaziland’s parastatals do not have substantive Chief Executive Officers or Managing Directors, something the Public Enterprises Unit warns could have detrimental consequences on these entities.
These enterprises include the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation, the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority, the Swaziland Electricity Company, the Central Transport Administration and the Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise.
Others are the National Marketing Board, the National Maize Corporation, Swaziland Railway, the Swaziland Financial Corporation and the Swaziland Cotton Board.
All of these parastatals, whose functions are of paramount national importance, have chief executives who are holding office on acting capacities.
Such status quo, cautioned PEU Director Victor Nxumalo, in an interview on Friday, was not an ideal situation and ‘affects the parastatals a lot’.
"These acting CEOs won’t apply themselves on the jobs like they would if they were substantive in the positions. They won’t act on some issues," Nxumalo observed.
He made an example of two parastatals; SPTC and SWADE, which he said had either changed and chopped even the acting CEOs or replaced the incumbent CEO soon after assuming office.
At SPTC, there was MD Elijah Zwane who, hardly two years into office, was suspended and replaced by Amon Dlamini albeit on an acting basis.
At SWADE, following the suspension and subsequent firing of CEO Doctor Lukhele, Gugulethu Hlophe was appointed acting CEO but was, after about nine months, replaced by Bafana Dlamini who has also since been replaced by Bongani Masuku – also on an acting capacity.
"This affects the organisations functioning and performance. Even the workers lose moral. Workers do not know who their boss is. This is a problem," PEU’s Nxumalo noted.
He said in an ideal situation, there should be no vacuum in the office of the CEO, noting that a substantive individual should always occupy the position. However, he was mindful that reasons for not having a substantive CEO varied from one parastatal to another.
"With some, it’s the lapsing of a contract and in some instances others leave. This happens while the process of recruiting a new CEO hasn’t been completed thus they end up having someone to act in that position," the director said.
Nxumalo identified the need for the recruitment process to begin early to avoid a vacuum that leads to the appointment of an acting leader.
"But the process in the Board isn’t quick enough. Government doesn’t encourage vacancies. It affects the parastatals a lot. We don’t encourage the (appointment of) acting CEOs. CEOs have to be appointed quickly," he added.
The process of hiring a CEO begins with the Board of Directors who then recommend their preferred candidate to the line ministry whose minister takes that name to Cabinet’s Standing Committee on Public Enterprises for approval.
4 fall under Ministry of Agriculture
MBABANE – Four of the 10 parastatals without substantive Chief Executive Officers fall under the Ministry of Agriculture.
This portfolio is headed by Minister Clement Dlamini.
The parastatals are the Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprises, National Marketing Board, Swaziland Cotton Board and the National Maize Corporation.
The Ministry of Public Works and Transport has two public enterprises without CEOs and these are the Central Transport Administration and Swaziland Railway.
The Ministry of Commerce Industry and Trade has one such enterprise – the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority.
Others are the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy (Swaziland Electricity Company), Ministry of Finance (Fincorp) and the Ministry of ICT (Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation).
Bennett tried to initiate brainstorming sessions
MBABANE –Busin-essman and former Senator Walter Bennett made moves to gather parastatals for a brainstorming session on how to ‘better serve the nation’.
Bennett, while he was SWADE board chairman, wrote letters to all chairpersons of parastatals inviting them to a meeting that was set for end of October 2009.
"There is a need to step back, especially after all these years and to review issues around parastatals, whether it is paying tax, dividends, remuneration or the relevance of parastatals in our kingdom etc.
"There is a great deal I can write about but I believe it can be best said at the gathering.
"May I hear from you as the intention is to convene a meeting before the end of October 2009," Bennett wrote in the correspondence to the parastatal chairpersons.
The Times is in possession of responses from some of the chairpersons who welcomed Bennett’s proposed meetings. Note those were the chairpersons at the time.
"I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated August 24, 2009 proposing a meeting for chairpersons of public enterprises. I support this idea wholeheartedly and willing to participate. I will await further communication from yourself," responded B.P Matse of the Swaziland Cotton Board.
CMAC Board Chairperson Lindiwe Khumalo-Matse also responded positively, congratulating Bennett for the idea which she said would no doubt ‘find ways by which we can better serve our nation in our capacities as chairpersons of the various organisations we serve’.
"Having said that I wish to expressly indicate my keen interest to attend the meeting. I look forward to hearing from you on the details of the meeting," Khumalo-Matse said.
E.N Zwane from the Swaziland Water Services Corporation responded: "Thank you for your invitation. I look forward to your proposed date."
Doctor P. Simelane from the Sebenta National Institute also indicated his participation in the meeting.
"I am glad to respond that the Sebenta National Institute Board of Directors has appreciated your concern by allowing my person to participate in the endeavour," Simelane wrote.
Reverend Abednigo Dlamini from the National Maize Corporation said: "I concur with you that we should meet as chairpersons of the parastatal organisations and reflect on how best we could guide them to better serve the nation as intended. Any day in October except Sundays would be suitable for meeting as suggested."
Other enterprises that responded positively to Bennett’s invitation include the Swaziland Standards Authority and the University of Swaziland.
The meeting eventually did not take place because Bennett was removed from being Chairman of the SWADE Board.
This should tell you something about this cabinet. This whole chaos is a reflection of our government which appears to rule by emotional leadership than common sense.
Jun 11, 2012, 4:48 AM, hygg (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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