25 April 2012
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee for Public Service and Administration,
Honourable Members , and
Senior Departmental Officials
Let me, before responding to the specific recommendations made in the Report, reiterate our broad strategic perspective of transforming the public service into an effective, efficient, responsive, accountable and development oriented public service. This will provide the context within which we will address the matters that the Committee has raised.
We have adopted, as the Ministry for Public Service and Administration, Five Strategic Focus Areas, that are drawn from the Delivery Agreement for Outcome 12 and the plans of all the portfolio institutions reporting to the Ministry. These Focus Areas are:
We have adopted these Five Strategic Focus Areas so that we could realize an effective, efficient and development oriented public service whose success would be measured by the following attributes:
In addition to the Five Strategic Focus Areas are the following four Campaign programmes:
Chairperson, let me now turn to recommendations made by the Committee.
We cannot agree more that there is need to fast-track the cleaning up of Persal and the implementation of the IFMS. The instruments to do the work are already in place, in particular the Strategy and Guide on the cleaning up of Persal as well as implementation support that is being provided to departments. The implementation of the IFMS will also go beyond the pilot sites to other departments including expansion of the modules that are being offered. We will prioritise the resuscitation of the oversight structure between the DPSA, SITA and National Treasury so that there is strategic direction in the implementation of the project.
Although the DPSA is relatively compliant on the 2% disability target with a score of 1.97%, there is need to devise a clear implementation plan on how the public service as a whole will move towards realizing the target of 2% representation of people with disabilities within the public service, in particular at the Senior Management Service level. We will in the coming two months work in collaboration with the Department of Women, Children and People with Disability, to devise a workable plan that will help us achieve the set target.
The Public Service Commission derives its mandate from the Constitution to play an oversight role on the performance of the public service. Its independence is clearly enshrined in the Constitution. As the Ministry, we work to strengthen the powers of the Public Service Commission as an independent institution. Currently we only have budget transferring relationship and there has been no interference on our part with the work of the Commission. The allocation of their budget through our Vote is a Treasury directive. The Committee may wish to raise the concern with National Treasury.
We cannot agree more, Chairperson, that there is need for the Public Service Commission to be adequately funded so that it could discharge its Constitutional functions. However, as you know, budgetary allocation is a Treasury function, and we would gladly welcome the Committee’s intervention in raising this matter with National Treasury.
We also agree that we need to speed up the connectivity of Thusong Services Centres. To date the DPSA together with SITA have connected 96 of the 123 Thusong Services Centres. As part of bringing government services closer to the people, we will be focusing on connectivity to schools to provide a platform for educators to be able to deliver lessons to other learners especially where there is shortage of qualified teachers. We are exploring bringing Thusong Service Centres to train stations and discussions are going on with PRASA in this regard. A management Framework for Thusong Services Centres and ICT connectivity will also be formulated.
Chairperson, a number of recent service delivery failures has been attributed to amongst others the lack of adequately skilled public servants. Consequently, we have embarked on a capacity building programme that locates skills planning and development within the broader context of human development strategy which links with the other institutional, operational and performance interventions we have embarked upon. To date there is significant progress on training initiatives. We have through PALAMA trained amongst others, a total of 1192 unemployed youth graduates on Breaking Barriers to Entry into the Public Service in partnership with the National Youth Development Agency, and a total of 18 846 new public servants have gone through PALAMA induction programme. Our plan is to put PALAMA at the centre of training in the public service and transform it into a school of Government. We will strengthen collaboration between PALAMA, PSETA especially on the issue of Workplace Skills Plan that should inform PALAMA’s planning, the DPSA and the Department of Higher Education. Lastly, we intend to revive the inter-departmental Task Team that was charged with facilitating the collaborative effort of driving the skills agenda in the public service.
Issued by the Ministry for Public Service and Administration
For more information, contact:
Mr Dumisani Nkwamba 012 336 1704/ 082 885 9448/ firstname.lastname@example.org