May 11, 2006
By Anish Abraham
THE legislative and administrative bodies of the City are to be separated through structural adjustments at high-level, ensuring it can best meet its mandate to provide for all its residents.
The changes come after 10 years of the new local government structure. Discussed comprehensively at the Mayoral Lekgotla, the adjustments will come into effect from the start of the new financial year on 1 July. They are described in detail in the Council Agenda for March, and will happen only at the high-level executive. The running of the municipality will not be affected.
"The major reason for the adjustments is to separate powers between the legislative and executive bodies of the City," said Karen Brits, the director of legal compliance and mayoral committee support. "This will be a pilot for local government in the country."
It will ensure better oversight by the council of the work of the executive - consisting of the executive mayor and his mayoral committee - and the City administration.
"The executive will have to account to council, [which] will have the power to debate any issue, enabling [it] to play a bigger role in the direction of the City," she explained.
For reasons of improved service delivery and planning, the number of regions in the City will also be reduced from the present 11 to seven, bringing together similar areas under a single region.
"From past experience, we have found some departments were too large and cumbersome. They should be able to focus on key areas they have been mandated with," Brits said.
As such, several departments within the City have been restructured to ensure optimal efficiency and improved service delivery.
Offices of Executive Mayor and City Manager
To ensure better co-operation between the two, the Offices of the Executive Mayor and the City Manager will be merged.
The Offices of the Executive Mayor, Amos Masondo, and the City Manager, Mavela Dlamini, will be merged
(Photos: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)
"The Municipal Finance Management Act and the Municipal Systems Act place many legislative obligations on the executive mayor and the city manager. The new office will allow for the two to meet those obligations better," Brits explained.
However, the city manager will continue to head the administrative part of the municipality. To ensure best management of the information that it has on a plethora of databases, the City will also recruit a dedicated chief information officer.
In complying with the Access to Information Act, the City has to keep records of all its work. At present, this information is split according to type and is stored on different databases, making it very fragmented. The Johannesburg Knowledge and Innovation Exchange, the unit responsible for the City's institutional memory and introducing innovation in knowledge, will be placed under the chief information officer.
The City is also working on a Land Information System, a database that will include information such as addresses, usage, payment history and ownership history.
Joburg also intends having a single public relations department, as opposed to a central communications department, an events department, departmental spokespersons and the mayoral spokesperson. The new communications department will include communications, marketing and events management.
"The executive mayor has worked very hard to establish good relations with all forms of the media and we want to make sure that there is a single, clear message going out," Brits said.
The two legal services units serving the City will also be merged, ensuring there is a single point of advice and one interpretation of legal matters. Staff in both units will carry on with their jobs as usual, but will report directly to the Office of the City Manager instead of to corporate services.
"Due to the obligations delegated to them, the Offices of the Executive Mayor and City Manager should be able to access legal advice easily," she explained.
The 2010 unit is the only totally new unit to be created within the Office of the City Manager. It will be responsible for issues related to the hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Because of the level of capital expenditure spent on stadiums, roads and surrounding infrastructure, the unit will play a co-ordinating role between the various departments. It will also be responsible for operational issues such as talking to residents, businesses and constructors to ensure preparations go smoothly.
"We have requested a budget for the new unit be available in the next financial year and have already appointed our chief operations officer, Sibongile Mazibuko, as the project director," Brits said.
At present the corporate planning unit and other divisions in the Office of the City Manager play an oversight role in relation to strategic planning in the core administration, while the contract management unit and the shareholder unit ensure oversight in respect of municipal entities.
This has resulted in fragmentation of strategic planning, unclear roles and responsibilities in respect to strategic planning and the duplication of functions between various departments and sub-units in the City. Thus, key functions such as strategy and policy, integrated planning, performance management and reporting, strategic research and municipal entity oversight will be the responsibility of a newly created central strategy unit.
These functions relate broadly to the design principles of strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation across core departments and municipal entities, and integrate all relevant aspects currently performed by units such as corporate planning, contract management, shareholder, performance management and special programmes.
Established two years ago, the external relations unit consists of two sections, namely intergovernmental relations and international relations. The intergovernmental relations section is responsible for providing strategic support to the executive mayor and city manager, enabling them to carry out their mandates in respect of co-operative governance and engaging with other spheres of government.
The section is also responsible for facilitating international multi-laterals for the executive mayor in his capacity as the chairperson of the South African Local Government Association. International relations is responsible for co-ordinating and playing a leading role in all relations between the City and other countries.
"We want people to think of Joburg as an entry point into Africa, but we also want to learn from the experiences of other cities," Brits explained.
It is planned for revenue issues to be removed from the finance department and be placed within a newly formed revenue and customer relations management department, established to integrate customer and revenue issues across the City and its municipal entities.
In addition, valuations will be located in the finance department, while the economic development unit will be established as a separate department. Reasons for the move include a rapid growth in staff numbers at the economic development unit, the absorption of functions not aligned to economic development and a lack of authority and access to strategic structures within and outside the City.
On its own, the economic development department will take responsibility for oversight in respect of the Metropolitan Trading Company, the Johannesburg Tourism Company and the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market.
Revenue and customer relations department
In December 2003 the mayoral committee approved a Customer Relationship Management Policy, relating to the use of interfaces between the City and its residents. These interfaces were physically walking into a People's Centre or other municipal office, contacting the City telephonically through Joburg Connect and through using the City's official website.
Customer service excellence has also been incorporated into the performance management framework as a key performance indicator.
Despite the above, there is considerable fragmentation in respect of procedures and information systems for customer interface. There is presently no single point of accountability, resulting in gaps in the customer value chain and differing standards of service delivery.
The City's response to this fragmentation in systems is Programme Phakama, through which a revenue management value chain and customer interface value chain are being developed with both value chains seen as core to the City's functions.
To deal with the above-mentioned concerns, the City is to establish a new revenue and customer relations management department, with the objective of integrating customer and revenue issues across the City and municipal entities.
The new department will be responsible for: provision of a single point of accountability for customer relations management; establishing a high standard of customer relations management issues and monitoring performance against set standards; management of Service Level Agreements; provision of a single customer database and centralised reporting; management of physical channels (People's Centres and pay points); management of electronic channels (Joburg Connect); management of Programme Phakama; and ensuring citywide revenue management through critical functions such as credit control.
Corporate support and shared services department
Corporate services is responsible for aiding core and support functions with critical services, as well as quality support services through programmes such as employee wellness, which is focused on issues such as HIV/Aids in the workplace.
The department also provides financial support to eight directorates and ensures a 98 percent fleet availability through effective management of the City's fleet contract.
With legal services being transferred to the Office of the Executive Mayor, the department will be responsible for the following functions: human resources shared services; administration; fleet and contract management; Ohasa - ensuring implementation and compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act; facilities management; and maintenance unit.
Community development department
This department is responsible for a number of key functions, including arts, culture and heritage services; community services, including sports and recreation and libraries; and human development strategy co-ordination, including social services and human development strategy.
The department will play a municipal entity oversight role in relation to the Johannesburg Civic Theatre and the Roodepoort Civic Theatre.
Johannesburg metropolitan police department
At present, the metro police structure includes a matrix approach, with key resources being compartmentalised into specialist directorates. The aim of this structure was to allow a specific focus on key areas of expertise.
The intention was to build specialist areas able to support and provide key services to the core line function within the department effectively. However, the structure has led to cost inefficiencies, duplication of work, lengthened decision-making times, decreased responsiveness and poor integration in the execution of key metro police projects and initiatives.
A new structure has been designed to allow metro police to better focus on their core function, thereby ensuring greater customer orientation. The department will now include operations, licensing and testing, processing and prosecutions, municipal courts, by-law enforcement units and metro police support services, including the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department Academy.
The redesign aims to eliminate the duplication of work and reduce the poor accountability that has emerged as a result of the varied location and ownership of different processes in law enforcement.
Emergency management services
Emergency management services (EMS) renders proactive services, like disaster management, and operational services, including fire, medical and rescue services.
There has been a suggestion from the Gauteng government that all ambulance services be transferred to provincial control. Though such a move will affect the structure of the EMS, the transfer has not yet taken place. The council agenda suggests any changes to the structure of the EMS be done only once there is greater clarity from the provincial government on its plans.
As such, the new structure of the EMS will include proactive services and disaster management; strategic support; operations north and operations south, dealing with fire, medical and rescue issues; and corporate support services.
The structure of the housing department has created a split of functions between central and regional offices, resulting in unclear accountability in terms of operations and budgets.
Once allocated to the regions, the budget becomes the responsibility of the regional director, making budget prioritisation within the core department impossible during the current financial year.
Johannesburg also received multiple queries from the Office of the Auditor-General regarding the central management of the waiting list, while administrative functions take place at regional level.
The new structure will ensure that housing opportunities are delivered through a seamless and integrated planning and budgeting process, taking into consideration the provision of water and sanitation, electricity, removal of solid waste and roads.
To implement the Housing Master Plan successfully, the department will have to deal with issues such as management of informal settlements, management of council-owned stock and provision of free basic services, as well as improve billing and collections.
It will be responsible for policy and research; funding and Service Level Agreements; regional co-ordination; operating and capital expenditure; contracts; programme implementation, monitoring and regulation; and management and support services.
In addition, the department will be responsible for oversight regarding the Johannesburg Social Housing Company.
Infrastructure and services department
Through entities like City Power, Joburg Water and Pikitup, the critical service delivery functions relating to water, energy and waste management are removed from the City core. However, as the parent municipality, there is still a role to be played in terms of oversight.
Restructuring of the national electricity distribution network will result in Jored, the Johannesburg Regional Electricity Distributor taking over from City Power. However, the Municipal Systems Act states that service delivery is the responsibility of the City, which will continue in its oversight role.
In terms of the act, the City will need to develop a Service Delivery Agreement with Jored and a Service Level Agreement with other local government authorities, in respect of the terms and conditions relating to the levels and quality of service provision.
Because of the complexity of the sector and the number of stakeholders involved, the oversight function will have to be done on a daily basis to ensure there is a focus on electricity tariffs and associated consumer implications; the process of ring-fencing; liaison with Eskom in terms of shareholding; liaison with the National Electricity Regulator in terms of the new regulatory requirements; and the re-examination of by-laws in the context of Jored.
The Water Services Act of 1997 requires every municipality to distinguish between a Water Services Authority function, dealing with issues such as policy, planning, ensuring access to services, oversight of provision, reporting to national and provincial government, and a Water Services Provider, dealing with service delivery. In Joburg's case, the City is the authority and Joburg Water the provider.
However, when Joburg Water was established in 2001 nearly all of the City's water sector competencies were transferred to the utility. Although Joburg Water is the provider, the City has extremely limited capacity to exercise the authority function effectively.
In addition, the council agenda states that the City has limited capacity to undertake research around service delivery options and strategies, draft policy and assert a City perspective when engaging with the national Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and other stakeholders.
As such, the infrastructure and services department will include clusters relating to water, energy and waste management; bulk infrastructure development and co-ordination; and management, regulatory and support services.
The last cluster will be responsible for the provision of general support services, together with an oversight function in respect of City Power, Joburg Water and Pikitup.
Development planning and urban management department
In its current form, the City has a development planning, transport and environment department, which holds an integrated focus on these three critical aspects of service delivery.
Under the new structure, separate departments will be created for the functions of transport and environment, while the City's regions will be incorporated under the newly formed development planning and urban management department.
Within the department itself, there will be five separate units, focussing on development planning, land information management, urban management, regions and management, regulatory and support services.
Concerns about the current configuration of regions that have emerged over the past five years include:
- Regions not being subject to direct political oversight and scrutiny;
- Overall responsibility and accountability for function such as social development, health and housing remains unclear;
- Regions not being able to monitor and oversee service delivery co-ordination effectively and;
- The number of regions, their boundaries and their roles in fostering local development.
As such, there will be a reduction in the number of regions, creating economies of scale, reducing fragmentation and strengthening the development perspective of the City, as contained in the Joburg 2030 Strategy, the Integrated Development Plan and the Spatial Development Framework.
Regional directors will, in future, be responsible for:
- Urban management - maintaining a safe, quality urban environment;
- Service delivery co-ordination - ensuring the monitoring of municipal entities, for example electricity, water, sanitation and roads; and
- Development planning - designing and running special interventions, such as the Soweto Development.
The new model ensures that clear lines of accountability exist at the level of the mayoral committee, the executive director for development planning and urban management and the regional directors.
"In future, regional directors will report directly to the executive director of development planning and urban management, as opposed to the current practice of reporting to the chief operating officer," Brits explained.
Seven new regions will come into existence on 1 July:
- Region A - combines the current Region 1 (Diepsloot) and Region 2 (Midrand and Ivory Park);
- Region B - the whole of current Region 4 (Northcliff) as well as parts of Region 3 (Sandton and Rosebank);
- Region C - the current Region 5 (Roodepoort);
- Region D - combines the current Region 6 (Doornkop and Soweto) and Region 10 (Diepkloof and Meadowlands), ensuring all of Soweto falls under a single region;
- Region E - the current Region 7 (Alexandra) as well as parts of current Region 3 (Sandton and Rosebank);
- Region F - combines the current Region 8 (inner city) and Region 9 (Johannesburg South); and
- Region G - consolidates the present Region 11 (Ennerdale and Orange Farm) along with Lenasia, Eldorado Park and Protea.
At present, there are 15 pieces of transport-related legislation, nine at national level and six at provincial level, requiring the City's focus and varied degrees of implementation.
The possible establishment of a Transport Authority, either on a municipal level or as part of a broader emerging city region, requires Johannesburg to prepare itself to play a leading role in transport matters.
The transportation planning and management unit of the development planning, transport and environment department has already laid the foundation for service delivery in the sector through the Integrated Transport Plan. Of the total of 284 municipalities across the country, Johannesburg is the only one to have its Integrated Transport Plan approved by the MEC and the national minister of transport.
Challenges the City is facing regarding transportation include:
- The implementation of the Gautrain;
- The implementation of the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme;
- The implementation of the National Commuter Rail Plan; and
- The provision of transport during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
To ensure the City is best able to deal with these challenges, the new transportation department will comprise of the following:
- Transport planning and innovation, incorporating business transport and commuter transport;
- Transport infrastructure and system management, incorporating capital projects and system management;
- Transport technology and information, incorporating technology and modelling and information systems; and
- Public transport operations, incorporating public transport contracts and public transport operations.
A management, regulatory and support services unit will be created within the department to help with its oversight functions regarding the Johannesburg Roads Agency and Metrobus.
There is much alignment between the City's planning outcomes and environmental matters, as they have been included in the Integrated Development Plan as well as in other business plans and City strategies.
Johannesburg now has a more mature environmental management function, where capacity is being built gradually. To exercise its oversight role, the department will have to deal with environmental issues across the city, and its separation into a standalone department affords it a greater focus.
Key functions of the new environment department will include environmental policy and strategy; air quality control; conservation and maintaining open spaces; and management, regulatory and support services.
The latter will be used by the department to assist in its oversight function regarding Johannesburg City Parks and the Johannesburg Zoo, and in monitoring the performance of entities and the core in respect of environmental management.
Once up and running, the new department will focus on concerns such as scientific services, climate change issues, reporting of municipal entities regarding environmental compliance issues, strengthening enforcement functions to support sound environmental management and reviewing by-laws to ensure they serve as effective tools for environmental management.
No legal or labour issues are anticipated to arise through the restructuring and all jobs will remain in place. The only real changes might be in the lines of reporting within the administration. City budgets for the upcoming financial year have already taken the changes into account.
Budgets for the new departments have been tabled and they will be operational from the start of the new financial year. Although Brits said recruitment to fill created posts might take longer, people had already been appointed in caretaker capacities until suitable candidates had been found.
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