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Premier is dragging feet in appointing Free State Head of Department for Police, Roads and Transport

Factionalism, infighting and political power tensions within the ANC in the Free State are clearly the reason why no permanent appointment has yet been made for the office of Head of Department in the Department of Police, Roads and Transport.

The Department has been characterised by political and administrative instability, mismanagement and corruption for years.

The MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, Mr William Bulwane, admitted on Thursday during a Portfolio Committee meeting in the Free State Legislature that the matter is lagging between his Department and the Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela.

Bulwane is the second MEC for the Department since 2019.

A third consecutive acting Head of Department, Ms Masego Tsabalala, has now been appointed after the former permanent Head of Department, Mr Sipho Mtakati, was dismissed in May 2021.

It is clear that the ANC's faction fights relate to gaining control of the Department's funds as it is the province's biggest source of income.

Ntombela, who dismissed Mtakati, is responsible for making a new permanent appointment. Her dawdling is adding to the province's instability, which is costing it dearly.

Two other management positions in the Department, namely the chief financial officer and the chief director of road infrastructure, are also not filled by permanent appointments.

The FF Plus asked to see the Department's written requests to the Premier, so that Ntombela can be held accountable for it.

The party will also demand in the Free State Legislature that she explains why she is dragging her feet in making permanent appointments.

The Auditor-General (AG) warned in her report on the Free State government last week that a lack of political and administrative leadership is negatively affecting the province's finances.

In the 2020/21 financial year, the Department's irregular expenditure amounted to a staggering R1 billion.

And at present, courts are handing down judgements on various uncompleted road projects while the roads keep crumbling due to a lack of proper maintenance.

The Free State does not deserve an ANC government that would much rather put party and faction interests above service delivery and the interests of the province's people.

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