SPEECHES

Speech by the Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration, Hon. Ayanda Dlodlo, MP on the occasion of the MPSA portfolio's budget vote for 2012/2013

Date: 25 May 2012

National Council of Provinces

Cape Town

22 May 2012

House Chairperson

Chairperson and Honourable Members of the National Council of Provinces

Chairperson and Members of the Select Committee

Acting Minister for the Public Service and Administration, the Honourable Mildred Oliphant,

Members of Parliament and Cabinet colleagues present

Chairperson of the Public Service Commission and other Commissioners present here

Ladies and gentlemen

All protocol observed

Please allow me to thank posthumously our fallen hero and Minister for Public Service and Administration, Comrade Roy Padayachie, for having contributed to the cause of our struggle for freedom and for enriching our lives while he lived. Whilst we appeal to his spirit that it should live long, we also wish to assure his family, friends and colleagues that they are in our prayers every day during this difficult time.

Chairperson

In his 2012 State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma set out government's strategic focus for 2012/13 and the coming years. The President reminded the nation that we face the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality, despite the progress that we have made since the advent of democracy in 1994.

As the Portfolio for Public Service and Administration we are challenged to, amongst others, ensure that the public sector meets the long-standing target of attracting at least 2% of people with disabilities into its formal employment ranks; work towards women empowerment and gender equality; strengthen the performance of the state and fight corruption; and work with provinces to improve governance systems and administration.

As the Acting Minister has indicated, the work of the portfolio is also informed by the National Development Plan - Vision 2030 which notes that in order for South Africa to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality, a different approach is required. This approach:

  • Prioritises higher economic growth rates, investment and employment;
  • Raises the standards of education;
  • Ensures a healthy population and effective social protection; and
  • Supports an effective and capable government.

House Chairperson

It is my pleasure to report to this Honourable House some of the achievements we have been able to record in the past year against the priorities that were set by the Ministry. I must state, however, that transforming the public service and making it more efficient and effective is a mammoth task that cannot be accomplished within a short space of time; it is and will in the foreseeable future remain work in progress and will be characterised by various milestones which will be recorded in our Annual Reports and intermittent reports to the oversight bodies established by Parliament in holding us to account.

Whilst there are many interventions we have introduced in the past, there certainly is a need to introduce even more until we reach a point where citizens' needs are met and their quality of life improves significantly. The portfolio will therefore be seized with implementing the five strategic focus areas referred to by the Acting Minister.

The uppermost priority in the construction of a developmental state is our ability to monitor and evaluate our performance. This requires of us to develop early warning systems to detect poor performance so that we improve in areas where we have been least successful. To this end, we have developed a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to gauge citizen service satisfaction and this framework was consulted on with stakeholders in provinces.

The Public Service Commission has also initiated a close collaborative relationship with the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency as part of enhancing its oversight and monitoring role over the public service.

In order to improve citizens' access to public services we developed signage and branding guidelines of public service centres and the framework on queue management in hospitals, vehicle licensing centres and other service delivery points. We consulted on these with various stakeholders during the latter part of the last financial year. Batho Pele impact assessments were also conducted during the September 2011 Public Service Week in all provinces, focusing on the departments of Health, Education, and Police respectively. We are also currently collecting data that will be used to develop access models for public service delivery centres.

Our approach to maintain a healthy workforce goes beyond only the needs of currently serving employees. As a state that cares, we have now embarked on a process of migrating pensioners who retired before 1992 and who were enrolled on Medihelp to GEMS with a full subsidy with effect from 01 April 2012. By 31 March 2012, 14,577 pensioners had successfully registered on GEMS.

Chairperson

The Community Development Workers (CDWs) programme is an important vehicle for bringing government closer to the people and in working towards addressing the many service delivery challenges they face on a daily basis. Through CDWs communities are able to make better use of government services and benefits, fostering development in areas like Early Childhood Development and by contributing to improving the quality of life of citizens.

We have travelled the length and breadth of the country to share information with CDWs as part of their revitalisation strategy. One of the instructive lessons we have learnt is 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.

This year, 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.

We have engaged stakeholders on the need for a workshop in July this year to create a platform for intensive interactions between CDWs and Government. The President of the Republic, the Minister in the Presidency responsible for National Planning and the Minister of Finance will engage the CDWs on the important tasks that they have to execute emanating from the 2012 State of the Nation Address, the National Development Plan and 2012 budgetary implications respectively. That workshop should yield practical outcomes in terms of revitalising and empowering the CDWs so that they are better able to service the people.

House Chairperson

We committed to ensuring effective employment entry into the public service and cadre development. Part of this effort is meeting the target of 2% of employment of people with disabilities in the public service. The public service has not achieved much in this regard, and it is therefore critical that we do more to monitor compliance with this target across the public service.

The portfolio has reviewed its approach towards developing a public service cadre whose attitude, orientation and skills will best serve the developmental agenda of the state. The review centred around the business processes and methods of training with a view to achieving the desired results.

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 including the further expansion of the programme and the absorption rate.

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. 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 comment 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.

With regard to our plans to ensure effective human resources management practices, norms and standards, I can report that during the past year specific interventions focussing on leadership development, amongst others have been developed. 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.

Chairperson, innovation remains key to the on-going efforts to improve the performance of the public service. There is a lot of work that the Center for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) is doing to encourage innovation and to replicate those innovative projects that have worked elsewhere. The Mpumalanga Water conservation project targeting pre-primary and primary schools will be replicated in a minimum of ten (10) schools in another province. The project will be integrated with the perma-culture schools project for cross-pollination and to ensure sustainable models and holistic solutions for rural schools.

The piloting of the Maritime Inland Water Safety project will be finalised in four (4) dams and replicated across the country in partnership with the North West Province and a number of national departments and entities, including the Departments of Water Affairs and Environmental Affairs, Transport, SAPS and the CSIR. The pilots will generate employment opportunities for local communities.

House Chairperson

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. Revised Grievance Rules for members of the senior management service (SMS) and Heads of Departments have been issued. 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. Our progress represents 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.

House Chairperson

SITA is now in the 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.

SITA has also embarked on a process to re-engineer its customer management capability in order to improve delivery of services to customers. SITA, together with the provincial governments, undertook the development of a performance instrument in the form of a delivery agreement with the intention of monitoring SITA's performance in the provinces, and ensuring SITA's accountability to the provincial governments. To date, the Western Cape and Limpopo Provincial Governments have signed their respective delivery agreements, and are monitoring the implementation thereof. The other provincial governments are still reviewing the performance instrument.

To ensure that the Ministry leverages information and communication technology (ICT) as a strategic resource 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 turn-around 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 250 million rand, 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 for supply chain management 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:

  • Roll-out of the IFMS for human resources at 10 sites nationally;
  • Development of common transversal solutions for Government (ECM, GIS);
  • Improve procurement turn-around times and the integrity of supply chain management processes;
  • Realise cost savings in the acquisition of ICT goods and services;
  • Establish strategic partnerships with State Entities and industry to improve service delivery, to amongst others, Ethekwini Municipality, on broadband connectivity, and on enterprise licensing to others in industry;
  • Enable 10 national government services to be accessed online by citizens;
  • Finalise connectivity to Thusong Service centres;
  • Develop national ICT strategy and plan for the Public Service; and
  • Review Public Service ICT plans.

House Chairperson, all that we have reported today before this Honourable House bears testimony to the commitment we have made as the portfolio to the national task of transforming the public service and better positioning it to serve the needs of our people.

Once more thank you for this opportunity, and I now 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/ dumisanin@dpsa.gov.za


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