Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Government to restructure Ministry of Lands and Housing

Government is preparing to change the structure of the Ministry of Lands and Housing (MLH) as part of on-going efforts to improve land administration in the country.

Improvement in Land Administration Procedures and Capacity System (LAPCAS) Project Manager, Bareng Malatsi, has confirmed the planned restructuring process and said a study is being carried out to determine the best structure of the Ministry. The study is expected to produce the structure containing the new organisation, including main characteristics and tasks. The study will also define the basic principles for the new organisation.

Malatsi said government will evaluate the mandate of various land institutions in the Ministry and mergers will be proposed where necessary. He said the Ministry’s many organizations with their own mandates and priorities have resulted with scattered resources and time consuming processes in land administration.

The project manager noted that a strategy document has called for a uniform set of process in handling land issues across the country and this is expected to help government to establish one stop shop for all land services.

“The restructuring process is expected to make the ministry more responsive to client needs and afford the organisation the opportunity to do more work with the same resources being made available to the ministry. This was borne out of the realisation that a lot of land delivery time is spent, or wasted, in between organisations,” said Malatsi.

He gave example that, when people change land use for business purposes, it took a lot of time to complete the procedures to have the land eligible for usage.

He said with the new structure ministerial management is expected to adapt organisations to changes in business environment.

“We live in different times from the past so our responses have to suit the times. Solutions that worked in the past do not necessarily work today.”

It has also emerged that government will also review staffing with workload and improve balance between core and support staff.

It has also further emerged that there is a disproportionate relationship between core and support staff and weak relationship between manning and workload. The Ministry is also plagued with a shortage of professional staff and difficulties to retain qualified staff.

The project manager also indicated that in order to cut the costs of operation in the Ministry, government is considering privatization of some activities in the land delivery process and also outsource as many non-core activities as possible to ensure managers increased attention to core matters. He said government will also, among others, investigate opportunities for raising revenue through taxes.

The proposed study to determine the new structure of the Ministry has also indicated that MLH and Ministry Local Government servicing resources will be managed as one organisation, possibly as a parastatal.

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