Put your differences and ideologies aside, and work together to serve the farmers of the province. This was North West agri MEC Desbo Mohono’s very direct message to the staff in her department while consulting with them about the next financial year’s work.
The minister has embarked on a road show to talk to staff members in all of the province’s districts. She hopes to address their concerns but also to make sure service delivery is not hindered in any way, particularly while farmers are fighting off foot-and-mouth disease. She also hopes for the department to improve its services to the community.
“We are a team and therefore we need to work as one,” she said. “This silo mentality that I am seeing will not take us anywhere.”
Departmental specialists, administrative personnel and extension officers were among the departmental staff who accompanied Mohono on the roadshow. She reminded officials that even at a district level, all staff members are important and that the farmers of the province were relying on them for services.
“You are the coalface platform for the department’s interaction, liaison and support to farmers and communities. We therefore expect you to work closely with farmers and communities.
“I appreciate the work that you are doing. However, I wish to remind you that your primary responsibility is not only to ensure that we are safe from diseases, but also to educate our farming communities about the importance of animal health.”
A call for collaboration
Mohono reminded employees that, especially in veterinary services during an FMD outbreak, informing and educating farmers and community members will not only contribute to the improved health of their animals but also to improved food security. “Be our ambassadors on the ground. Farmers and communities will only gain comfort if you continue to support them.”
The department reported afterwards that staff generally welcomed the minister’s visits. Mohono promised that the engagements were not going to be a once-off event, and that she would do another visit in six months’ time to monitor the implementation and progress of departmental plans.
Mahlaku Malebati, an animal health technician based in Ganyesa, expressed his appreciation for the MEC’s meeting with staff. “I am going back to my workstation re-energised and inspired. Thanks to MEC Desbo Mohono for affording us this platform to discuss important issues that sometimes hinder our performance.
“I am hopeful that whatever has been discussed here will be implemented.”
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