The culture must change

13 June 2018  Read: 117


Thapelo Matlala, the newly appointed Municipal Manager at the White House has this week proven the difference a good leader can make to an ailing situation. On Monday morning the news broke of a strike action at the GTM’s Electrical Engineering Department. According to information at the time, the technicians and control room operators had downed tools.

Matlala met with the disgruntled employees at 07:00 that following morning after having met with his legal team. They handed him a list of grievances to which he responded by assuring them that some of the issues could be sorted out immediately, whilst other would take some time. He then issued them with the ultimatum – work or be evicted off the GTM premises.

The employees agreed and within the hour resumed their duties. They also opted to speak directly with Matlala in future rather than through their union representatives. “I am dealing here with a culture that needs to change. There are certain practices that have been allowed to continue in the workplace for far too long and the people have become accustomed to that way of doing things. To change this culture will take some time, but they have to understand that the only way to operate effectively is to operate according to the law.”

Similarly over the weekend, Matlala was personally at the site of a burst water main in Aqua park which caused the entire area to be without water for an entire day. From the site he contacted Bulletin regularly, as late as 22:00 on Saturday evening, to keep the residents informed on the progress of the situation.

“I must agree that we have failed in adequately communicating with our people regarding the reparations on these aged water pipes. We will definitely focus on improving our communications to help our consumers plan ahead for these types of service disruptions.”

By all accounts it would appear that as he enters his third month in the hot seat, Thapelo Matlala, has stuck by his word of driving the change that will transform Tzaneen into one of the most functional and beautiful municipalities in the country.



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