Special Reports

Service delivery is vital to success

Comment: Bryne Maduka

A successful, though challenging year, has put in place key initiatives to support a better life for all

Learners from schools based in the north of Johannesburg joined their counterparts in Protea Glen, Soweto, to develop a park

COMMENT 

Bryne Maduka

The imperatives as defined in the growth and development strategy, integrated development plan and the business plan, set the tone and path for which Johannesburg City Parks (JCP) operates and executes service delivery.

The city is changing course and JCP's operations in the period under review (the 2011/2012 financial year) has focused on getting the basics right in providing service delivery through the maintenance of all our facilities, particularly in townships, changing our focus to connecting with customers by responding rapidly to their complaints and giving feedback timeously.

JCP has further demonstrated that service delivery is vital on our list of priorities and to this end JCP has maintained facilities that are outside of JCP's core mandate, such as informal settlements, provincial roads and national roads.

This resulted in positive media coverage and increased staff morale. However, it has placed excessive pressure on the allocated resources.

Strategic interventions were implemented to narrow the gap between the planned and actual maintenance, in particular the implementation of mega and mini blitz activities. Each of the seven regions of Johannesburg identified hot spot areas in consultation with the ward councillors, where resources were redeployed to address the maintenance of backlogs and customer complaints.

The mega blitz programme was a major success in the quarter through the participation of other municipality-owned enterprises, the community, ward councillors and the media to execute these blitz programmes in the regions.

Customer complaints teams addressed all customer complaints received. Called "swat teams", their focus was solely to address all customer complaints backlogs.

These interventions gained popularity through social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, where customers posted positive remarks. The intention was to get back to basics, connect with the community through visible service delivery at ward-base level, and change any negative perceptions which may have been created about the organisation.

This resulted in a major reduction of customer complaints logged, resulting in a 88.7% customer complaints resolution, as opposed to 82% in the comparative period in the 2010/11 financial year. In line with the integrated development plan's targets, maintenance of all our flagship facilities was maintained at 100%.

The annual general meeting held on April 24 2012 resulted in the chairperson of the board, Mr Bahula, being retired together with two other board members, namely Mr V Ramsingh and Ms T Johnson. A new chairperson of the board has been appointed, Ms B Madumise, together with two new board members namely Mr M Simelane and Dr M Diaho.

JCP is confident that the newly appointed board directors with their professional skills set will add value to the organization and drive the organisation to better service delivery.

JCP has a sound financial status and maintained its high level of financial governance in order to be compliant with the Municipal Finance Management Act.

As proof of this, the auditor general has done an assessment of our key controls for the third quarter with no adverse findings, which shows commitment to sound financial management and good governance.

A healthy community lifestyle is about both physical and mental wellbeing. JCP offers a unique experience within its parks with the innovative outdoor green gyms that have been launched in Diepsloot Park Region A and Petrus Molefe Park in Region D.

JCP plans to roll out at least twenty outdoor green gyms throughout the city of Johannesburg in line with the growth and development vision of creating healthy communities.

Our food garden programme is another focus area in support of the growth and development flagship programme "A City Where None Go Hungry".

JCP has partnered with Engen, Total SA, BMW, 94.7 Radio Station and the St Johns High School to develop food gardens at the Kanana Primary School in Alexandra, the Abraham Kriel Orphanage in Emndeni, Soweto, the Realogile High School in Alexandra and various other schools in impoverished areas.

In the next financial year, JCP plans to rollout two food gardens as part of the capital expenditure programme - one in Orange Farm and one in Diepsloot. These food gardens will have an initial estimated food production to feed 50 households.

Job creation and poverty alleviation remain a core focus area. A capacitated and dedicated expanded public works programme unit has ensured the use of local labour on all capital projects together with contracted service providers.

Emphasis has been placed on partnering with small to micro enterprises (SMMEs) with a view to developing their managerial skills and business acumen.

Job creation through the development of small and micro businesses continues to be a topic of much debate. However, very few sustainable initiatives have been developed and implemented.

In support of the City of Johannesburg's job creation initiatives, JCP hopes to secure a partnership with the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller to develop skills, implement an incubator hub and related monitoring mechanisms in order to ensure the sustainability of SMMEs.

In line with the city's institutional review process, JCP and Joburg Zoo will merge and become one entity. To this end, both entities have made significant progress in preparation for the merger, including (but not limited to) establishing one business plan and budget for the combined entity effective in the next financial year.

In a nutshell, JCP is a healthy vibrant company that is focused on executing its services par excellence. Despite all the challenges, the goal is to carry on and change the lives of the communities we serve positively.

As we close the 2011/2012 financial year, it is critical to note that the year has not been without its own challenges such as budget re-prioritization, the Hawks investigation and the integration process with the Joburg Zoo.

Despite all these, JCP has endeavored to excel in its service delivery with a view to change the lives of the communities we operate within.

Good health to the people through green gyms and food gardens are exciting concepts that JCP is going to drive aggressively to take the service delivery agenda to a higher level.

Bryne Maduka is the managing director of Johannesburg City Parks. This is an edited version of Johannesburg City Parks' managing director's report for the 2011/2012 financial year.

Key Performance Areas

Customer perspective Provide proactive and innovative solutions to create customer value

The mayoral priority and environmental sector plan imperative of a clean green city was further augmented by the planting of 30 242 trees planted against a target of 30 000 in the year.

The capital development programme for the 2010/11 financial year was concluded in the fourth quarter with over 13 projects developed.

A total of 2 307 new job opportunities were achieved in the year to date, against a target of 2 000.

Financial perspective The strategic objective of this perspective is to proactively manage and maximise the Johannesburg City Parks capital base and revenue streams.

The following table reflects the audited results for the year. Refer to applicable sections of this report for detailed explanations: impairment of R23.3-million and gross profit shortfall of R18.6-million.

The impact of these was reduced by R4.3-million bad debts and transfer costs recovered, and savings under water, electricity and fleet costs, making the bulk of the favourable variance of R13.4-million under general expenses.

Total company revenue for the period was R541-million, which was R50.6-million less than budget.

Revenue generation from external services has decreased in this year, with R39.2-million invoiced during the year, contributing R44.3-million to the adverse revenue variance of R50 577 above. The gross profit generated by external services amounted to R4.2-million (10% of sales).

The City of Johannesburg subsidy for the year was R457.2-million, and for the previous year R469.6-million.The subsidy for the next year will be R487.6-million, an increase of R30.4-million. Revenue from burials generated R19-million for the year, which is less than budget by R3.5-million. The marketing department generated income from events to the value of R1.7-million compared to a budget of R2.1-million.

Total company expenditure for the period was R573.4-million.This was R18.2-million less than budget, of which, cost of sales was underspent by R25.3-million, and, as expected, was due to lower than budgeted external sales revenue.

Capital expenditure was R1.596-million over budget due to leasehold improvements to buildings occupied by the company.

The company has a healthy cash balance of R210.25-million. Accumulated surpluses at the end of June 2012 amounted to R86.205-million.

Internal business process perspective This perspective's strategic objective is to strengthen the operational efficiencies of JCP so as to deliver an environmentally sustainable development content and impact

At the end of the 2011/12 financial year, JCP had no complaints outstanding for 90 days or longer. This can be attributed to JCP's commitment to service delivery.

Through our supply chain management processes, we achieved 91% for procurement spent on black economic empowerment (operation expenditure) and 63% for procurement spent on black economic empowerment (capital expenditure).

In accordance with the plan, 37 audits were scheduled to be conducted. Of these, 34 audits were completed and reported on, representing 89% implementation of the total annual plan by June 30 2012. The remaining three were deferred due to the on-going institutional review.

The risk containment measures in place are regularly monitored to ensure that they are within the acceptable residual risk rating. Significant movements noted are reported to management and appropriate committees of the board on a quarterly basis.

Innovation and learning This strategic objective is to create the environment and build capabilities within JCP to deliver sustainable and measurable development outcomes.

JCP shifted its focus on HIV/Aids to a more holistic approach in management of employee wellness. Three areas of operation, namely health and wellness, psychosocial factors and mental health and work-life balance were identified to achieve this strategy.

These enable the company to implement sustainable wellness programmes and further de-stigmatise the function of management of HIV/Aids within the workplace.

As part of this approach, a number of programmes were undertaken under the banner of "Quality of Work-life Balance" during the period under review.

Topics relevant to work-life balance are presented monthly through the internal news medium.

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