SPEECHES: Budget Vote Speech, Minister for Public Service and Administration (Acting), Mr Nathi Mthethwa, 13 May 2015

Date: 14 May 2015

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

Honourable Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee;

Former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo and the current Chairperson of the Presidential Review Commission;

Acting 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 Gentleman,

Exactly sixty years ago, in June 1955 in Kliptown, Johannesburg, the foresight and wisdom of ordinary South African citizens, we consolidated our foundation for our world admired Constitution. We are reminded that this powerful policy lodestar, which was collectively conceived by our forbearers so many years ago, promised that: "All people shall be entitled to take part in the administration of the country".

In this year 2015, Year of the Freedom Charter, President Zuma has committed that, I quote: "as government we will go back to basics to improve the lives of all South Africans.' Government's achievable quest to become a high performing public service, as well as our, commitment to improving the lives of all its citizens and emancipating the potential in each individual, intensified as we entered the third decade of South Africa's democracy.

Equally profound Ladies and Gentlemen, is the fact that our Government is hosting Africa Month celebrations throughout the month of May in commemoration of the formation of the OAU (Organisation of African Union) in 1963. Africans from the continent and in the diaspora have descended on our shores to join us in these celebrations. Having placed Africa at the centre of its foreign policy, our government is now challenged to place the African agenda at the centre of its international engagements at a multilateral level amongst others ,as well as in other international institutions. As the Public Service, we will also be partaking in the Africa Public Service Day in June 2015, under the theme of: " The Role of the Public Service in Women Empowerment, Innovation and Accessible Service Delivery".

On the other hand, our South African citizens are also calling upon government to equally prioritise service delivery to them, through an administration that is responsive to their aspirations and basic needs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This Budget Vote is presented at such a difficult moment for this portfolio and public service at large, with the recent tragic untimely passing on of our well respected and dedicated colleague, late Minister Collins Chabane, who had already assumed such an onerous task in redirecting the public service machinery. With his feet firmly rooted in the reality of the needs and conditions of our ordinary people,the late Minister Chabane committed to this house and to the people of South Africa at large, that the face of the public service was going to change, with an objective to create a public service with a soul. Last year, the late Minister Chabane committed to work with all stakeholders at the coalface, to bring quality services to our people, by including and imploring all public servants to provide transformative solutions, in improving government operations together with the Centre for Public Service Innovations (CPSI).

David Osborne, reminds us that the road to improve public service is never an easy one to follow, I quote his caution:

"There is no recipe you can follow to reinvent government; no step-by-step progression to which you must slavishly adhere. The process is not linear, and it is certainly not orderly. Things rarely go as planned; re-inventors must constantly adjust their approaches in response to the resistance and opportunities they encounter." [ Close quotes]

As part of our ongoing recruitment strategy to make the public service a career of choice for youth and women, we have invited 8 eight young girls in the gallery above, from the following schools, Kulani High School based in Kwalanga and Intshukumo High School based in Gugulethu .

Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in welcoming these bright sparks, in whom the future of the public service lies.

This is in line with taking a Girl Child to work.

In pursuing an appropriate developmental public service machinery, our emancipatory solutions are embedded in the extent to which the public service can set and steer a national public administration plan infused with the vision of the National Development Plan.

We are cognisant that as we present today's Budget Vote for the Ministry for Public Service and Administration, it is at a time where many more citizens are expecting government to respond to the socio-economic challenges highlighted within the NDP by embarking on radical economic transformation through a development-oriented administration. Government will ensure that all outcomes within the NDP are effectively addressed by: providing quality basic education to all; providing safety and security in all communities; a public service driven by quality healthcare to communities; a public service which is an enabler for economic growth and job creation; a functional local government administration that provides utilities to communities; a society where there is social cohesion and respect for national symbols and a public service which is imbued with common values that places our citizens at the centre of our socio-economic development as a nation and ensures sustainable livelihoods.

Our South African public service has not been able to fulfil all the ideals of our citizens as highlighted in the National Development Plan - but we are tirelessly working towards improving our capability in this regard.

Ethical, integrity, as well as, maladministration issues, continue to challenge the development of a professionalised public service. It is important that public servants respect and dedicate all their time to their employment contract. The limitation placed on public servants doing business with government is our endeavour to promote and practice good governance.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I remind you that as a Public Servant, You are a Servant of the Public and not that the public is your servant! As the public service, our progressive employment policies and practices expect employees to reciprocate, by coming to work on time and by serving the public in an exemplary manner- we expect nothing less!

Efficiency and Effective Systems through Service Delivery Improvement

As government we are cognisant of the role that modernising through e-government systems is the route to fast-track service delivery. The Management Practices Assessment Toolkit (MPAT) driven by the DPME, has highlighted weaknesses in basic building blocks in organisational functionality within most departments. Our Operations Management Framework has responded to these concerns through mapping business processes and standard operating procedures, as well as, conducting Organisational Functionality Assessments of selected departments. A strategy for providing resultant support to poor performing departments has been drafted for consultation with stakeholders in the public service.

Ladies and Gentleman, I believe that public service is a calling! I, and all other public servants, do so because we want to serve our people!

It is for this reason that we are driving a campaign to continually instil the Batho Pele values in all public servants, especially our frontline staff. The DNA make-up of our public servant must consist of men and women with impeccable ethical conduct, including a high work ethic, display high morale, humility and pride, associated with being a loyal public servant. We must be beyond reproach as public servants. Our administrative culture must create an organisational culture, which embeds a civic culture reflective of an Ubuntu value system.

It is for this reason, and in partnership with National School of Government, that we will begin the process of changing our bureaucratic patterns of thinking and our attitudinal behaviour. These are our ideals for reviving our Batho Pele Strategies going forward.

The complaints about the deficiencies and defects of government must inspire us to develop new ideas and practical innovations collaboratively with Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), in how we must work to improve service delivery.

I hereby invite any citizen to forward such suggestions and ideas to my department.

Having institutionalised unannounced visits to frontline service delivery points during Public Service Month, over the past eight years, we have started yielding positive turnaround results. Selected hospitals, home affairs offices and police stations, have demonstrated improved service delivery when implementing systems and process changes. We have also observed an employee workforce that is better equipped to embrace the Batho Pele principles more readily and demonstrate a visible change in attitude.

As part of our commitment in rewarding professionalism and service excellence, as well as improving the morale of deserving public servants, we acknowledged outstanding men and women in the public service through this our 2nd Annual National Batho Pele Excellence Awards ceremony which was successfully held on 14 November 2014 in Gauteng.

Ladies and Gentleman, we are today joined by two such recipients. Please join me in calling upon, [please rise] Ms Duduzile Ndlovu from the Port Shepstone Regional Hospital, in KwaZulu Natal who was awarded the Best Frontline Public Service Employee of the Year 2014; and Ms Maria Maghrieta Goodier from the Department of Health, Ruyterwacht Community Health Care Clinic, in Western Cape awarded Best Overall Batho Pele Public Servant of the Year 2014. We once again applaud you for your resilience and your resolute commitment not only to enhancing the lives of our ordinary citizens, but also excelling in your respective duties. I thank you and hope that you will remain lifetime Batho Pele ambassador's and an example to all other public servants to strive for this noble accolade. [You may take your seats.]

Productivity Measurement and Performance Management

As the public service we need to start doing more with less, as taxpayers want to see efficiency and effectiveness in spending. We are cognisant that productivity in the public sector is just as important to economic performance of South Africa. Within this financial year we will address gaps in efficiency and effectiveness of measures through improving our performance measurement instruments.

Our focus going forward is to strengthen both the HOD evaluation system, as well as the performance management system for all employees to ensure service quantity outputs and service quality outcomes are met and that government gets value for money.

We have to justify the number of employees recruited to the senior management level and hence are currently reviewing the post provisioning norms in order to ensure optimal utilisation of employees and personnel spend.

We present herewith our plans for the 2015/2016 financial year and account for the voted 2014/2015 funds.

Implementing Strategic-State Capability

Following the announcement of the new Cabinet on 25 May 2014, the dpsa implemented the second National Macro-organisation of the State (NMOS II) project to effect the transfer of functions, renaming and creation of departments.

To support the social vision of the NDP and manage the administrative: political interface, Cabinet approved a delegations framework, as well as a Directive, which clarifies the level of Executive Authorities involvement in human resources management matters, including appointments.

Public Administration Management Act

After an extensive consultative process, the signing into law of the Public Administration Management Act (PAM Act) by President Jacob Zuma in December 2014, brings a culmination of a complex process over a number of years, a successful quest towards ensuring seamless service delivery by all spheres of government within common values of public administration as enshrined in the Constitution. The Act will apply to all departments in the national and provincial spheres of government, as well as municipalities.

The Act provides for powers for the MPSA to set minimum norms and standards in selected areas, including the promotion of basic values and principles contained in section 195(1) of the Constitution.

The two key regulatory institutions which will be set up are, a Technical Assistance Unit for Ethics, Integrity and Discipline management; as well as, an Office of Standards and Compliance for minimum norms and standards for Public Administration. The current National School of Government (NSG) will also be transformed to provide high-level in-house customised capacity development and training within the public sector. As part of the emerging work on the development of the legislative framework, DPSA is developing draft regulations for the various provisions.

Discipline Management

As part of our ongoing efforts to manage discipline within the Public Service, Cabinet approved, firstly the creation of a pool of labour relations specialists and a team of legal experts from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to deal with the backlog of disciplinary cases, as well as, secondly, approving uniform guidelines for precautionary suspensions.

International Commitments

The NSG as part of the Management Development Institutes (MDI) network in Africa participates in initiatives championed under the African Union Conference of Ministers of Public Service in Africa (AU -CAMPS) Capacity Building Champions. The NSG is currently participating in an Africa-wide research project on the State of the Public Service in Africa as the lead institution in the SADC region. This research project provides support and cooperation with other countries in coordinating activities for the completion of a final report by 2015. Pursuant to CPSI's role since 2008 in co-ordinating the All Africa Public Service Innovation Awards (AAPSIA), CAMPS has further requested that we continue playing this crucial role. As part of our ongoing international commitments, through the CPSI we continue to manage the UN Public Administration Network by uploading articles from the SADC region, as well as managing this portal.

Our involvement in both the multilateral structures of the United Nations (UN), as well as, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), has seen us accenting to instruments which measure transparently our efforts in combating bribery and corruption.

Government Employee Medical Scheme Role

Linked to our endeavour to have a healthy productive workforce, GEMS remains central to assisting the public service in fully addressing employee's health needs. This includes the needs of retired employees, affordable healthcare for current members, as well as, requests from non-members, who desire to be part of the scheme. However, numerous innovative support programmes from GEMS provides the necessary support to departments in trying to combat work environment related illnesses. Coupled with this, the public service needs to assist GEMS in combating misuse of the scheme by members.

Honourable Members, these are the objective transformative solutions which will be delivered through organic plans for the year ahead, as we call upon your objective criticism and support, we will include your emancipatory solutions as governed by the values and principles enlisted in our Constitution which requires excellence in providing impartial, fair, equitable and responsive public services.

We therefore implore you to support our endeavours by supporting this budget vote.

As the care-taker Minister for Public Service and Administration in this fifth administration, I have the privileged task, albeit in an acting capacity, of guiding our public service to new heights of professionalised service delivery. A good foundation has been laid by my predecessors; hence I am certain that over the next four years we would have seen significant public sector reforms.

Our objective remains - achieving excellence in governance capacity and we shall collectively succeed!

I thank you.

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