It is difficult to find a government bureaucrat with experience as wide-ranging as that of Phindile Baleni.Her experience places her in a unique position to identify the real challenge for the state — and it is not limited to corruption, but politics and capacity, genuine "organic problems" not foreseen after the fall of the apartheid government in 1994."What thoroughly offends is appointing people who are not suitably qualified for that particular post," she says.It is partly a function of rendering many posts in the public service more administrative than technical in the immediate aftermath of the transition to democracy, she says, where engineers, for instance, were removed and not replaced.Baleni, 53, is the director-general in the office of Gauteng premier David Makhura, a post she has held since 2015, but she has served in various government roles since 1994, both at local and provincial level.She has a firm hand in the energy space too, after a stint as CEO of the National ...

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