Honourable Chairperson Minister for the Public Service and Administration Cabinet colleaguesChairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and AdministrationMembers of the Portfolio CommitteeChairperson of the Public Service CommissionHonourable Members of the HouseThe Portfolio Leadership in the Ministry of Public Service and AdministrationOur distinguished GuestsLadies and Gentlemen
We are living in an interesting time in South Africa. Never in the history of our democracy have we witnessed a stronger need to fasten the manner in which we deliver services. Our democracy is at the height of its teenage years, and as with all teenagers, it is a pivotal time of questioning and rebellion. The public service is the institution charged with the management and redistribution of this teenager's resources. As such, never has there been a more opportune time for us work with vigor in ensuring that these resources are properly redistributed.
I would like to convey my greetings and thank you for affording us the opportunity to address this house on this very important day, the day for the presentation of the Budget Vote for the Portfolio of Public Service and Administration.
During last year's identification of strategic priorities and subsequent introduction of the Outcomes-based approach as a manner of governance, the Ministry for Public Service and Administration was allocated the responsibility to coordinate the implementation, monitoring and reporting of Outcome 12: "An efficient, effective and development oriented public service and empowered, fair and inclusive citizenship".
What we do as government is premised on the Ruling Party'sElection Manifesto and further enhanceand guided by the outputs of outcome 12, Cabinet Lekgotla, the State of the Nation Address 2011 and the recent Budget Speech of the Minister of Finance 2011 and other imperatives arising from the assessment of performance of the Public Service.
Chairperson; during our last Budget Vote Address to this House in 2010, the Office of the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration made the following commitments:
Financial Period 2011/2012 Priorities
Honourable Chairperson, the President has called upon the public service to work harder and smarter in addressing the needs of the citizens. We want to assure the house that the Ministry will continue to implement the abovementioned programmes with renewed vigour. With regard to our priorities, I would like to pay special attention to the following given the time constraints:
Interventions in the Continent
Yesterday, Parliament celebrated Africa day and in support of all the effort to improve the conditions of living of the people of the Continent, RSA is engaged in a number of post conflict interventions in the following countries:
A review of the Public Service Regulations is also currently underway which focuses on all the gaps for the institutionalisation of a number of service delivery mechanisms as well as a framework for community development and public participation. The Code of Conduct for the CDWs will also be reviewed in relation to the conflict between the Public Service and political activities.This year we plan to work with more vigor in ensuring that the CDWs are linked with the existing community structures such as school governing bodies, community policing forums, ratepayers' associations, traditional institutions, citizen assemblies and religious bodies.
The Department of Public Service and Administration will facilitate the process of the location of the CDWs to a National Department or Office of the Premiers for funding and monitoring and evaluation purposes.
The DPSA will commence with the implementation of the Process Map to Parliament that include the review of the draft Public Administration Management Bill as part of a process to implement the single public service. Consultative workshops within government will be held to finalise the draft revised legislation. Further consultations will be made in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC).
Local Governance, Citizen Participation and Access to service Offerings
SITA has also deployed satellite connectivity to Thusong Services Centres. A process to validate equipment deployment and facilitate site signoff is presently being undertaken.
We are currently working with the Department of Basic Education, Health and Communications to develop a blueprint for the connectivity of schools and clinics. A conceptual framework for the implementation of e-government has also been developed.
Taking into consideration what the President saidin his 2011 State of the Nation Address when he said that "we are building a developmental and not a welfare state, the social grants will be linked to economic activity and community development to enable short term beneficiaries to become self-supporting in the long run".
There are approximately 3100 Community Development Workers (CDWs) employed in the public service, working in over 2000 municipal wards across South Africa. CDWs are the only public servants in South Africa who are required to work in the municipal wards where they live and whose work-related activities straddles the three spheres of government.
In supporting thiswe will together with the Minister of Social Development ensure through the work of the CDW that we identify children who have no access to the early childhood programme to be part of the early childhood development programme. The importance of theprogrammeis the development of cognitive and other skills for children which will create ground for a well-rounded human being who will be capable of meeting the challenges of life in education and social spheres. I am confident that the Minister of Social Development budget speech will unveil a grandplan on early childhood development.
The Department will also develop a campaign related to 'Campaign on Know Your CDW' for the Financial Period 2011/2012.
The CDW programmehas play a critical role in making the following positive development impacts:
Notwithstanding the positive development impact of the CDW programme, government is aware of specific challenges facing the programme that may hamper the impact of the programme with regards to the acceleration of service delivery to citizens. One of the challenges is the complex relationship between CDWs, Ward Committee members and Ward Councillorsand the discrepancies in remuneration, accountability and reporting line.
The governance, management, planning and reporting functions have been inconsistent and fragmented across the different spheres of government.The key elements of the re-designed governance and management CDW model are as follows:
The South African Government is committed to improving access to, and the quality of services rendered in government access points based on the Batho Pele principles.
However, previous research conducted on service delivery draws attention to key challenges that encumber government's concerted attempts in achieving equitable, effective and efficient access to public services for its citizens. One of the primary concerns is that the current initiatives are being driven by individual departments and therefore result in considerable duplication of expenses.
Accessibility of services is limited by the current structure and functioning of government whereby the provisioning of a single service as per the mandate of the sphere of government fails to address citizen needs in a comprehensive manner.
For citizens who live in areas that are remote and lack basic infrastructure, services and utilities, access to government services is severely limited. Citizens are required to incur the costs of travelling long distances to reach service points in the nearest local towns.
To respond to these challenges, government must:
In this respect it is necessary that government concentrates related/interdependent government services in a single location and ensures greater 'joined-up government' e.g. Department of Home Affairs, Social Development & SASSA , Health, Local government services etc, and that this service location should be as close to the people as possible.
There have been many ground breaking initiatives aimed at bringing government closer to the people through the development of numerous integrated service delivery and access mechanisms and channels such as the Community Development Workers, the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), General Mobile Units, the e-government Gateway (otherwise known as the Batho Pele gateway portal), Izimbizo, Intermediaries, Call Centres, the Thusong Service Centre Programme, and the recently opened pilot urban mall project in Soweto.
The rationale for the pilot was that it should provide a 'one-stop' interaction with government where departments and institutions will provide professional, fast, friendly services. Horizontal integration (different departments) as well as vertical integration (three spheres) is realised through this process as services are provided at one convenient location, hence taking services to where the people are, rather than requiring of service users to go to a range of different points in different locations.
To further expand on providing citizens with convenient access to services, DPSA and partner institutions will be investigating a collaborative partnership with the PRASA and institutions across government to develop government 'one-stop-shops', Thusong, in train stations. This is important because statistics are showing that the number of people using those facilities could also benefit by government providing services at particular stations for their convenience. Government will also investigate how trains can be used as another vehicle to take services to the people of South Africa, especially in the remote rural areas which are difficult to reach through conventional roads infrastructure.
In June we will engage traditional leader's country wide to request that the traditional offices hostthe Thusong Services model in a bid to make public service products and services more accessible to rural communities that have little infrastructure in their areas.
HR Management and Compliance
In all the work we do, the Department will continue to monitor the implementation of gender, disability and youth frameworks by all departments through the analysis of periodic reports submitted by departments. The enhancement of skills for gender and disability focal points will be done through training in mainstreaming the implementation of the strategic frameworks.
Chairperson, I wish to state that there is a need to look into ways to improve the working relationships between the Political Heads and the Heads of Department. Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that accountability in terms of administrative responsibilities as outlined in the PFMA is not compromised based on the poor working relationship between the Executing Authority and the Accounting Officer which will impact on the performance of the department.
Public Service also needs to deal with the burden of cost to the State occasioned by indecisive and incompetent leadership in the area of Human Resource Management and the handling of labour relations matters. The challenges in the Public Service includethe management of discipline,sick leave, corruption and conflict of interest including the management of integrity of the public servants, HIV and AIDS which also contributes to the loss of skilled staff.
There was a cabinet decision to introduce multiple administrators for the government employee medical scheme as we are lagging behind in the implementation of that cabinet decision but we have undertaken to, in the approvedprocurement plan for 20ll, to issue a tender for the appointment of two more administrators.
The Gems membership currently stands at 556 000 and its set to grow in this financial year to 620 000. We can proudly say that this is one of the performing public service entities and will continue to enhance its product offering so that it becomes the Medical scheme of choicefor all public service members. Pursuit to this work the Scheme has considered its operational infrastructure and work has taken place to identify an efficient and cost-effective administration and clearing house design which would permit the inclusion of additional service provider contracts, leverage economies of scale, promote competition and further BEE, while also enabling smaller providers to render services to GEMS.
Chairpersons, our priorities for 2011/12 are informed by our commitment to place citizens at the centre of service delivery and to deliver services in a coordinated manner in order to achieve clearly defined outcomes.
Our task as a portfolio is a pivotal one as we are charged with managing the transition, evolution and the reform of the public service. This entails transforming and modernizing the public service through the development and implementation of policies and frameworks, to provide implementation support to ensure compliance and to improve service delivery and strengthen monitoring and evaluation.
Thank you.Richard Baloyi