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Staff profile: Enoch Godongwana – Visiting Fellow

- Kemantha Govender

African National Congress veteran Enoch Godongwana has joined the WSG as a visiting fellow until 2021.

Godongwana said that public servants need continuous training as new technologies are introduced because government is going to be run on completely different platforms.

“Delivery mechanisms are going to change and citizens are going to require different forms of services. We are going to have to train a new cadre of people who will be able to ride the changing governance space and be able to deliver services efficiently,” said Godongwana.

“My intention over time is to lecture more frequently. I have guest lectured so far and it was fascinating. This is a school of governance, where we would develop people who will contribute to good governance and I want to share my own understanding and experiences,” said the former Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises.

Godongwana played an instrumental role in developing the Labour Relations Act (LRA), under the direction from then Minister of Labour Tito Mboweni.  Godongwana was part of the union representation.  Government, business and the unions were each represented by six people.

“It took a couple of months to emerge with what is now known as the LRA –  a new labour relations regime in South Africa with new institutions including the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration”, said Godongwana.

He added that it was tough negotiations and that it was important to have highly skilled negotiators who understood each others’ fears.

“During the negotiation processes, you need to ask how do I accommodate the fears of the other parties without undermining my own positions and in so doing you are able to bring the other party closer to the negotiating table,” he added.

Godongwana said during his tenure as MEC for Finance in the Eastern Cape, he put social grants in place and drove the provincial government towards sound financial footing. He considers these some of the greatest achievements in his career.

“Another one was being a part of a team that developed the entire legislative framework for the Public Finance Management Act. I feel proud that I was part of that restructuring of what was previously a very rigid piece of legislation,” Godongwana added.

Godongwana also believes that the debate about how to raise consciousness about government take different forms, adding that some are of the view that civic education should be introduced at school levels. He noted that this can be beneficial to understand the South African governance structure; the importance of participating in the voting system; service delivery and good governance.

He also feels that training of public servants especially those who have not worked in government is vital and a practical component is needed but there needs to also be buy-in from the State.

Godongwana also served as the Deputy Minister of Economic Development and served in several positions within the National Union of Metal Workers of SA. He is also a National Housing Finance Corporation board member and runs a consultancy.