SPEECHES: Budget Vote speech of the Minister for the Public Service and Administration Mr. Collins Chabane, Thursday, 17 July 2014, Cape Town

Date: 18 Jul 2014

Honourable Chairperson of the House

Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo;

Honourable Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee,

Chairperson of the Public Service Commission

Chairperson of the Government Employees Medical Scheme

Directors-General and Heads of Entities of the MPSA Portfolio;

Distinguished guests and Friends;

Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure to present the first budget vote of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) in this 5th administration of the African National Congress (ANC) led government. I sincerely want to thank the people of South Africa for giving us a further mandate to accelerate the improvement of their lives during the next five years and beyond.

I am also deeply humbled to present this budget vote only four days ahead of the 47th commemoration of the passing away of the 8th ANC President and the first African recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Chief Albert Luthuli. Mvumbi as he was affectionately called was a fundamental militant, disciplined and uncompromising freedom fighter who had a genuine love for South Africa.

Tomorrow our country will also unite in the 67 minutes for the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela day campaign. This will be the first time we do so without the founding father of our democracy. As we celebrate the life of Madiba it is an ideal opportunity to build on his life-long belief that we must serve our people every day.

Honourable members, it is the lives of these two giants of the anti-apartheid struggle Chief Luthuli and Madiba, and many others, that we want to emulate to produce high calibre public servants as we start the second phase of our transition from apartheid to a national democratic society.

Constitutional mandate

This budget vote provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our constitutional mandate to deliver public services that are governed by democratic values and principles. These include amongst others, high standards of professional ethics, effective use of resources and public administration that is development-oriented. The services we provide must be impartial, fair, equitable and without bias.

We are therefore proud to indicate that as we celebrate twenty years of democracy, our government has been able to amongst others, reform legislation and policies, restructure state institutions, decentralise public administration and strengthened inter-governmental relations in order to provide integrated services to our people.

We have established a single government system which consolidated the fragmented apartheid governance structures into a system that places our people first. However, we also acknowledge that more must be done!

Therefore we are proud to say that our democratic public administration system will strive to deliver all our developmental objectives as outlined in the National Development Plan. Together, these efforts keep us on the trajectory to realise our national strategic objective of building a united, democratic, non-sexist, non-racial, just and prosperous South Africa. This, honourable members, is indeed a good story to tell. As DPSA we are proud to be part of developing this good story!

Honourable Chairperson, I will be covering the core mandate of my portfolio while Deputy Minister Dlodlo will add greater detail to the work done by our portfolio organisations.

The National Development Plan asserts that the public service is central to the effective delivery of its developmental objectives. To address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality as identified in the National Development Plan, the state needs to play both a transformative and developmental role. To this end, the public service has to re-invent itself to deliver this important task. For us to succeed we require well-run and effectively coordinated state institutions with skilled public servants who are committed to serving our people.

Together with relevant stakeholders, the Department of Public Service and Administration will - during this financial year - focus on programs that will ensure that public servants are capacitated to ensure the success of the National Development Plan. We will begin to look at the critical task of reinventing how we work as a department and how we work as public servants. This process will start in September and October this year. However, this is not a short-term task and will require input from all departments, labour, academic institutions and civil society.

A bloated Public Service

Honourable Members, it is important that we deal with the issue of the quality of services we provide compared to what is perceived to be a bloated public service. Recent media articles have mischievously linked this to the establishment of new departments and ministries.

Let me assure this house that the Department of Public Service and Administration in partnership with other stakeholders including the Presidency and National Treasury has established a task team that is currently looking at the establishment of new departments. We will do our utmost to ensure that the creation and resourcing of these departments is done in an accountable manner. Where applicable, we will consider identifying and transferring various units doing related work - and currently existing in other departments - to the newly established departments. However, where certain professional skills and experience are required we will create the necessary space for departments to source and appoint high quality people.

Improving public services

Honourable members, to protect our hard earned democracy, we remain determined to root out corrupt practices within the public service. We are of the opinion that our best defence against corruption is transparency, accountability and the knowledge that any person involved in corrupt activities will be prosecuted. We therefore call on all public servants to prioritize serving our people responsibly and with honour.

When it comes to fighting corruption strong leadership is critical! As a department we are strategically located to create an enabling policy environment for the rest of the public service to combat corruption. To this end, we have noticed that the National Anti-Corruption Forum - comprised of civil society, business and government - has not been meeting. As a result the Public Service Anti-Corruption Strategy has not been monitored effectively. To remedy this situation we have already requested the Public Service Commission to immediately convene this Forum.

I can confirm that the Department of Public Service and Administration will begin to strengthen relationships and increase our interaction with Provinces. Our experiences of the past 20 years of democracy have exposed certain management challenges that must be addressed. We will adopt a pro-active approach in order to prevent provinces or provincial departments from being declared section 100 intervention areas as outlined in the Constitution. To achieve this we will increase our efforts to work more strategically with Premiers and the National Council of Provinces.

We will also begin to look at establishing an intergovernmental structure best suited to identify issues before they become major crises. It is important to note that this effort will be based on establishing an effective and collaborative partnership between ourselves, the Presidency, the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, National Treasury, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the Auditor General and the Public Service Commission.

Batho Pele policy

The implementation of the Batho Pele policy will be enhanced to ensure that the efforts towards improving service delivery bear fruit. The Department of Public Service and Administration will immediately start to strengthen, institutionalise and mainstream the Batho Pele programme, with a direct focus on training frontline officials. This we are confident will also lead to better and more productive relationships between civil servants and the public. These efforts will be further enhanced by streamlining and aligning the individual departmental Complaints and Compliments Systems to the national Complaints and Compliments Framework.

Ensuring the implementation of the Batho Pele principles in the public service, will indeed contribute towards transforming the public service into an effective service delivery machine.

During this financial year we will also host the second National Batho Pele Excellence Awards.

The awards are aimed at recognising and rewarding hard working public servants and to serve as an incentive for all public servants to strive towards excellence in the execution of their duties.

Service Charter

The Department of Public Service and Administration has also secured a negotiated social contract between citizens, the State and public servants.

We were humbled by the signing of a Service Charter for the public service in August last year. The Charter promotes service standards with a call on public servants to meet and exceed them. The Charter also seeks to improve service delivery programmes, and reinforces the commitment of all partners to service delivery improvement for the benefit of our citizens. Honourable members, we will not be wrong to say that we are on course towards reinventing and establishing an effective, efficient and responsive public service.

Strengthening the Human Resources Capacity, Management and Development

Honourable members, the implementation of our performance management and development system (PMDS) of Heads of Department (HODs) and other SMS members is not as yet optimal. Challenges in this regard include the failure to enter into - and sign performance agreements (PAs) on time and the lack of performance assessments and feedback. Our focus will now shift towards finalising the revision of the policy on the performance management and development of HODs and SMS members, and to ensure its effective implementation.

Improved Human Resources capacity in departments is critical for the effective implementation of the National Development Plan. It is therefore essential that Human Resource professionals are not only equipped to enforce rules and implement administrative processes, but also to advise senior management on all aspects of strategic human resources management and development.

Another challenge is the absence of clear and formalised delegations within departments. This creates instability and makes it harder to establish clear lines of accountability. For this reason we will provide proper delegation guidelines that will ensure that junior managers have the authority to make and implement decisions.

National School of Government

The National Development Plan highlights the importance of adopting a more long term approach to developing the skills and professional ethos that underpin a development oriented public service.

This includes building the skills base for both now and the future and to contribute towards employment creation and to ensure that public sector workplaces become training spaces where entrants are adequately supported in order to develop their skills for employment within the public service or the private sector.

To this end the DPSA will be supporting the appointment of youth into learnership, internship and artisan programmes within the public services over the next 5 years whilst providing an opportunity for permanent employment within the public service.

To address challenges raised by the Auditor General with regards to operations management in departments, the DPSA is supporting the implementation of an operations management framework in the Departments of Health, Human Settlements and Education with a particular focus on improving business processes and standard operating procedures for selected services that the departments provide to the citizens.

To further respond to skills challenges raised in the National Development Plan, we committed ourselves to undertake additional reforms in the public service, one of which is the transformation of PALAMA into the School of Government.

We note the experience of public sector transformation projects throughout the world which teaches us that good governance is not an end in itself; But that good governance helps an organisation to achieve its objectives. On the other hand, international experience also teaches us that poor governance can bring about the decline or even demise of an organisation.

Honourable members, international experience informs us that we cannot change our systems, structures and processes and have our public servants thinking and acting the same - as if nothing has changed.

This change of mind-set knows no colour or ideological boundaries. It is about changing how we deal with citizens. It is about producing civil servants who understand their role to serve our people unconditionally!

The Department in partnership with the School Of Government has already designed and started a compulsory induction programme for all newly appointed civil servants while refresher courses have been identified for current public servants.

In our 2014 election manifesto we committed to, inter alia, forging a disciplined, people-centred and professional public service, and promoting education and training of public servants. To achieve this we will turn every public sector workplace into a training space with the aim to develop industrious public servants.

To further respond to skills challenges raised in the National Development Plan, we committed ourselves to undertake further reforms in the public service, one of which was the transformation of PALAMA into the School of Government.

The strategic intent of the National School of Government is to ensure 100% coverage of education, learning and development across the spheres of government.

In supporting the President's call for more internship opportunities in the public sector the National School of Government will also intensify its training of unemployed youth graduates through its Breaking Barriers to Entry Programme.

Improvements in the management of discipline

As the custodian for Labour Relations in the public service, the DPSA continues to support departments in the implementation of the disciplinary code and procedure. Through the labour relations forum; the department continues to build the capacity of labour relations practitioners to strengthen the capacity, systems and procedures within departments.

Some of the key challenges around discipline management within the public service include the lack of accurate information on disciplinary cases. This information includes the number and nature of cases per department and province, the time it takes to resolve these and how much these cases are costing the State.

To address these, the Department of Public Service and Administration has developed a reporting template which departments and provinces will use to submit quarterly reports. As a result the department will now have a better sense of the state of discipline management in the public service.

A key focus starting this financial year will be to ensure that disciplinary cases are expedited and finalised within a reasonable period. The Department will also look at ways how we can better deal with issues where officials are suspended with pay for long periods.

The Department of Public Service and Administration will also seek a mandate for the next round of negotiations from the Mandate Committee and table our proposals for next round of salary negotiations with the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council.

Information Communication Technology

In the area of Public Service Information Communication Technology, the department has implemented a number of interventions towards the creation of an enabling environment for ICT to be used as a strategic resource and enabler for improved service delivery. Public Service and Administration will also develop an e-government strategy that deploys Information and Communication Technology as a tool for effective service delivery.

Public Service Commission

Honourable members, the Public Service Commission has been leading by example on clean governance and has received a trophy from the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) for its clean audit reports over the past years. The Commission has introduced the Public Service Barometer Dashboard, which is an indicator-based assessment of the state of the Public Service against the nine values in section 195 of the Constitution.

The Barometer provides the hard data on the state of the Public Service, which will be part of the evidence-base of the Commission's diagnoses of the main underlying problems within the Public Service. This instrument has been useful to Portfolio Committees and provincial legislatures in holding departments accountable.

In the area of Leadership and Management Practices, the Commission will, during this financial year, institutionalise a revised internal grievance management process to fast track the resolution of grievances referred to it by Executive Authorities and employees. In this process departments will also be capacitated to investigate grievances through information sharing platforms such as workshops.

In collaboration with the Financial Fiscal Commission, the Public Service Commission will commence with a multi-year project to review the impact of remuneration and organisational policy changes on the public sector wage bill and productivity in selected sectors. The Commission will also continue to conduct inspections of service delivery sites as part of its monitoring and evaluation mandate, this will intensify reporting of concerns about the quality of government services received by the citizens.

Honourable members, putting in place the Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS) is a key priority and is at an advanced stage of progress. Consultations are taking place with all stakeholders and we hope to finalise and report on this process soon.

As I move towards concluding I wish to thank the Portfolio Committee, our Deputy Minister, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo, the DG of - nand the Department of Public Service and Administration, all Directors General and Chief Executive Officers present, the Chairperson of the Public Service Commission and the Chairperson the Government Employees Medical Scheme.

I assure you that we will continue to work strategically with all of you as we move towards strengthening the quality and effectiveness of the public service we offer to all the people of South Africa

As tasked by President Zuma we will establish a public service that 'knows where the people live, and understand their needs while responding faster' to help them.

We are committing ourselves to re-invent and establish a highly professional public service that is transparent, accountable and devoted towards improving service delivery to the benefit of all our people.

Honourable Members, it is my pleasure to commend the budget of The Department of Public Service and Administration to the House.

I thank you

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