It is now two years since the Department of Information Services has been without a director after the redeployment of Bapasi Mphsu to the Department of Broadcasting Services in April 2005 to replace Habuji Sosome.
Kebareng Solomon, the Chief Information Officer at Information, has been acting on renewable six-month contracts. Sources say though she has not been appointed director, "Solomon is effectively in charge as she is the entry point of the department. We also report to her and request anything we need from her."
Contacted for comment, Solomon said she was acting since the departure of Mphusu "until October 2007." She would not be drawn into discussing when the position would be filled and why it was taking long for the director to be appointed. Solomon referred Monitor to her superiors at the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology (MCST).
DPSM Public Relations Officer Matlapeng Kgotlele said they are aware that the post has been vacant for the past two years and has not yet been advertised".
He also confirmed that Solomon (Kebareng) has been acting in the position as stipulated in the General Orders. But he would not say whether Solomon is being groomed for the post.
Kgotlele also said DPSM has not been assigned to recruit for the post, "but I understand that the ministry responsible is looking into the issue". He said the procedure is that ministries forward a request to DPSM to find a person to fill a vacancy (senior management levels only) created, "and we do exactly that."
After finding the right candidate, DPSM then recommends the person to the appointing authority who, is in this case, is the Permanent Secretary to the President.
According to Kgotlele, MCST is doing something about
The Deputy Permanent Secretary of MCST responsible for government media, Andrew Sesinyi, confirmed that "the post has been vacant for the past two years and Kebareng Solomon has been acting". He said the delay is not deliberate as the recruitment process is still ongoing.
Sesinyi said the delay is caused by consideration of factors such as qualifications, experience, performance, competency and other attributes, which have to be made before an appointment can be finalised.
He disclosed that Solomon is one of the candidates being considered for the top post. Sesinyi also revealed that they are searching within the government media house and that "two assessment tests have been conducted so far".
He said when there is a vacancy to fill, especially at senior management level, the process takes a little longer because of the consultations and assessments involved, "even training people from among whom you will choose the right person."
Venson-Moitoi said she is aware that her ministry has been working hard to try to fill the post of Director of Information Services. "I don't know how far they are with their search," she said.
"I don't get involved in the recruitment of staff, that is a purely administrative duty. What they do is to inform me of the person they have recommended." However, Venson-Moitoi said she can refuse an appointment if she has valid reasons.