Under the theme "Building a developmental state through an efficient, effective, responsive and capable public service"
15 May 2012
Chairperson and Honourable Members of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration
Acting Minister for the Public Service and Administration, the Honourable Mildred Oliphant,
Members of Parliament and Cabinet colleagues
Chairperson of the Public Service Commission and other Commissioners present here
Ladies and gentlemen
All protocol observed
The untimely passing of Comrades Roy Padayachie, Sicelo Shiceka and Florence Nyanda ("Mam Flo") has robbed the nation of some of the cadres who served the African National Congress and our people with zeal, loyalty and diligence; and upon whom we had placed our hopes for the future of this country and the realization of its transformation and developmental agenda.
I hope all of us present here, together with the rest of the country, will take comfort in the knowledge that these comrades made their contribution while they lived. The grass must now grow over their graves to heal the wounds inflicted on the nation by their unfortunate, untimely and tragic demise.
Building on the thrust of Outcome 12: "An Efficient, Effective and development-oriented public service, and an empowered, fair and inclusive citizenship", we made some measurable commitments to this Honourable House last year. Please allow me to reflect on these.
We committed to ensuring effective employment entry into the public service and cadre development - an ideal that resonates with the conscious efforts to make the public service an employer of choice, to transform it to best serve the interests of our people and to construct a capable developmental state.
In this regard, I must report to this Honourable House that the portfolio has seriously considered its approach towards developing a public service cadre whose attitude, orientation and skills will best serve the developmental agenda of the state. There has been a review of the business processes and methods of training with a view to achieving this objective.
Our training academy, PALAMA, has trained a total of 1,251 unemployed youth graduates and inducted new public servants in the ethos of the public service in partnership with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). This training is intended to enhance employment and entry opportunities into the public service for these graduates. We hope to report to this House on the further extent of progress in due course.
House Chairperson, the National Development Plan has called on us to "build a capable state". In building this capable state, Vision 2030 implores us to "make the public service and local government careers of choice" by "initiating a formalised graduate recruitment scheme to attract talented graduates into government". Our response to this call has been swift. Today I am happy to announce that we have finalised development of a Matrix of Qualifications for career pathing in the public service. This Matrix of Qualifications, which we have developed jointly with the South African Qualifications Authority, the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations, and the Public Service SETA, will over time become the prerequisite for employment in the public sector, and inform promotion and progression within the public sector.
We will be releasing the document for public comments during the course of the year, and envisage implementation over the medium term.
On fighting corruption in the Public Service, PALAMA rolled out training programmes to 734 public servants and anti-corruption practitioners focusing on anti-corruption and ethics management.
Work was undertaken to transform PALAMA into a School of Government. In this regard PALAMA has undertaken benchmark analyses to better contextualise a School of Government within the South African environment. The analysis focused on the broad conceptual issues and specific areas to inform the business model and requirements to support its successful implementation such as a learning and development framework; funding model; infrastructure; strategic partnerships; systems and business processes; and the impact on current legislation and policy frameworks.
We informed this Honourable House of our plans to ensure effective human resources management practices, norms and standards. I am happy to report that during the past year specific interventions towards effective human resource management in the public service have been developed and they focus on, amongst others, leadership development. In 2011/12 a total of 1,482 officials were trained in executive development programmes. Capacity building has also been extended to the legislative arm of the State, with 181 MPs and MPLs trained during this period.
During the period under review, the Public Service Commission (PSC) supported processes aimed at strengthening the quality of Public Service Leadership. The PSC facilitated the evaluation of the performance of HoDs and provided advice to Executive Authorities on the quality of the performance agreements.
The compliance rate for HoDs filing their Performance Agreements (PAs) with the PSC as required by the SMS Handbook stood at 92% for this past financial year - a significant improvement which we hope to increase to 100% during this financial year.
SITA is now in its third and final year of its turn-around strategy, which is captured under the theme "SITA Today, SITA Tomorrow, SITA to the Future". Since the Ministry's last address to the House, we can now report that SITA has a full complement of Executive Management. Inclusive of the SITA turn-around strategy has been the review of a number of policies and the adoption of a new organisational structure, which is now being populated.
To ensure that the Ministry leverages information and communication technology (ICT) as a strategic resource and enabler a number of projects were implemented under the SITA turn-around strategy. SITA managed to achieve a 97% reduction in its tender backlogs, and reduced its turnaround times for tenders from up to two years to 116 days, moving towards a target of 90 days. In the last financial year SITA ensured cost savings of approximately 13% translating to R250 million in the acquisition of ICT goods and services for and on behalf of the Public Service.
The Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) was introduced to replace outdated legacy systems that lacked inter-operability. The IFMS aims to provide centralised solutions to standardise technology and achieve economies of scale, and also to ensure greater efficiency in national and provincial government by improving the quality of data, access to data, elimination of manual processes and greater integration. In this financial year, IFMS will be rolled out to a minimum of 15 sites nationally.
As part of the turn-around strategy of SITA to support the improvement of internal efficiency of the public service, SITA is implementing the following priorities during the 2012/13 financial year:
Better management of grievances in the public service is critical for us as this speaks to the very manner in which we treat our employees - the drivers of public service delivery and transformation. Grievance Rules for members of the senior management service (SMS) have been issued, and these include Heads of Department as well. The Public Service Commission has also conducted a series of workshops where good practices on the management of grievances of employees and precautionary suspensions in cases of misconduct were discussed with labour relations practitioners from national and provincial departments with a view to turning the current situation around. This is the beginning of a long journey towards better management of human capital in the public service. Within a few months from now, we will be able to report on definite tangible spin-offs of this process.
The Community Development Workers (CDWs) programme is an important mechanism for bringing government and the people together and in working towards addressing the many service delivery challenges faced by our people on a daily basis. Through CDWs communities are able to make better use of government services and benefits, foster development in areas like Early Childhood Development, by contributing to improving the quality of life of citizens.
During the past year, we traversed the country to share information with CDWs as part of their revitalisation strategy. Of course we have learnt that there is a need for greater alignment of the work that CDWs are doing across the various sectors, as well as the proper location of this cadreship. To this extent there is a need to strengthen intergovernmental collaboration among the various departments involved in this area.
During the year in prospect, more emphasis will be placed on ensuring that the four focus areas of the CDWs are implemented with greater intensity and that there is proper reporting to ensure effective monitoring for success.
As we work towards implementing these priority areas, the central question is: "How do we ensure that the existing and future human capital of the public service is accentuated in our development agenda so that we are able to implement the goals we have set ourselves?" This question is critical given that the people (public servants) are the ones who are and will be required to drive the transformation of the public service by diligently and successfully implementing policies and programmes on a daily basis.
Some of the questions that we are addressing in order to transform the public service include:
The intangible assets in the public service such as the depth, talents, perceptiveness, skills and a high level of emotional maturity or soft skills inherent within the ideal public service cadre are important determinants of the quality of public services that are delivered to the people.
Our developmental agenda sets out a systematic approach to addressing the pressing socio-economic challenges, ensuring economic growth, creating more jobs and rooting out poverty, deprivation and underdevelopment, with the state playing a central role.
There is therefore no doubt that accelerating training and development of a new public service cadre through the repositioning of PALAMA into a School of Government, is critical in our efforts to develop the human capital of the public service. More focused attention will be given to this area.
Another crucial aspect of developing and enhancing the human capital of the public service is supporting the Public Service Commission so that more than ever before it exercises its constitutionally conferred powers and functions and executes its oversight role without fear or favour. The starting point of course will be to ensure that there is unreserved compliance with the existing legislative prescripts by all public service departments.
As it is known, Hon Padayachie passed on while on a mission to fulfil our obligations to the continent and its peoples. We would be doing injustice to the cause for which he died if we were to abdicate our responsibility to the Continent and the world. In this regard, we will continue to play our part in the African Peer Review Mechanism and the Pan-African Conference of Ministers for Public/ Civil Service, and any other AU initiative to transform the public service.
Our participation in the United Nations system, the OECD and other multilateral systems carries with it positive benefits for our country and its people.
This will continue of course within the parameters of our country's international relations engagement framework.
Considering everything we have said in this Honourable House today, I am certain that the cloud of despair is lifting, and giving birth to a new season of hope to our people. As I look back to how far we have come with dismantling the wreckage of a centuries' old systematic denial of human rights and freedoms, of deprivation and of exclusion, I feel proud of what we as the ANC Government have been able to achieve for our people in the space of 18 years and I rejoice because today is better than yesterday, and tomorrow looks even more promising, notwithstanding the work that still needs to be done.
House Chairperson, please allow me to convey our gratitude to you for having afforded us the opportunity to address this Honourable House.
I would also like to express our sincere appreciation to the members of this House for working with us in the year that has passed and we hope that we will work even more closely this year.
With a significant measure of appreciation, I wish to acknowledge posthumously the support and guidance the late Hon Minister Padayachie provided to the Ministry.
I thank the Acting Minister for the support and leadership she demonstrated since she was assigned to this role. I hope we will benefit from her wisdom and guidance as we attempt to stabilise the portfolio during this difficult period.
To the MPSA family, I wish to express appreciation for your dedication, diligence and commitment to your work. House Chairperson, once more, thank you sincerely for this opportunity and in so saying, I move for the support of this Budget Vote.
Issued by the Ministry for Public Service and Administration
For more information contact:
Mr Dumisani Nkwamba / 012 336 1704/ 082 885 9448/ email@example.com