Executive Chairman and members of the National Youth Development Agency
Executive Mayor of Kimberley
Senior Government Officials
Leaders of business and other social partners
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my great pleasure to address the National Youth Convention today, a platform which presents us with the opportunity to share information on policies, programs and challenges in youth development activities organized by the National Portfolio of Public Service and Administration, during the time that the youths of our country continue to lead processes through programmes meant for the enhancement of the status of the youth and the wellbeing of society as a whole.
This Portfolio embraces the activities of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA), the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS), the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), the Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA) (to some extent) and in an extended relationship, the Public Service Commission (PSC).
It is therefore proper that the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has called for this Convention to engage on issues of policy and programs as a building block for the development and strengthening of the Integrated Youth Development Strategy for the period 2011 to 2015.
Since the advent of democracy in 1994, various policy instruments intended for youth development have been put in place in various Government programmes in all the three spheres of the Government of the Republic of South Africa.
The Portfolio for Public Service and Administration has been a constant companion in the journey towards the advancement of the youth, and we have developed a number of policy interventions that are key enablers in this regard.
Amongst others are the following:
1.HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE: STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK VISION 2015
The purpose of the Framework is to build an efficient and effective public service through policies, structures and operational processes for developing capable and high performing people.
The framework provides for the promotion of learnerships and internships as part of a strategy for capacity development, in terms of which non-graduate youth and graduates are exposed to do practical work on programmes of their choice or as guided by their academic achievements.
It emphasizes the centrality of economic growth and development initiatives of government, which include rural development and skills development.
It further recommends the establishment of coordinated approaches among stakeholders to ensure effective promotion and implementation of skills development initiatives offered within the Public Service, to prepare the youth for employment either within the public sector or at the private sector.
The Framework underscores the promotion of opportunities for graduates and unemployed youth to gain practical experience in the workplace, enhance their productivity potential and breaks the barrier to enter the public service due to the lack of practical experience.
Informing the Framework is the National Skills Development Strategy, which seeks to address low level of youth and adult language and numeracy skills to enable additional training.
The internship programme is an annualized programme, with participants only given the exposure for that twelve months programme, and since inception, the programme has enrolled quite a number of participants, which individual Departments may account for, given timelines.
In order to respond to these challenges, the Portfolio of Public Service and Administration is developing a new programme for the entire public service to internalize its obligations to realize the objectives of the policy, and this is meant to be achieved through the following interventions:
Despite all the challenges associated with the policy, it is Government position that it remains a good policy and that we must find ways of strengthening its implementation. I believe the NYDA will not find it as a strange call for me enlist you as one of those partners in the journey of skills development through the internship programme.
2.INTEGRATED YOUTH, SKILLS AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
It is one of Government's priority for 2009 to 2014, to place emphasis on improving the nation's skills base and profile, and rural development.
The Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) (2009 - 2014) emphasizes the importance of broadening access to post-secondary education and providing learners with tools to make informed choices regarding education and career opportunities.
It is within the MTSF that the Integrated Rural Youth and Skills Development project was aligned.
In August 2009, President Jacob Zuma launched a pilot strategy for rural development in Muyexe Village in the Greater Giyani Municipality - Limpopo Province. The targets for the pilot strategy for rural development include amongst others:
The initiative has been implemented in 3 provinces; namely Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Cape.
Alongside these initiatives that are mainly run by Rural Development, the Portfolio of Public Service and Administration joined the implementation programme, established Implementation Task Teams to add its voice in the project.
In terms of this programme of the Portfolio, Career open days have been held in two rural areas in this province, the Northern Cape, in April 2011; namely Riemvasmaak and Vrede.
Consultation with various stakeholders to ensure participation and support is currently underway and some stakeholders, including the Graduates Development Agency (SAGDA) have already pledged support.
The Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority will be providing learning programme opportunities to youth of the three provinces in five (5) training areas, namely Tourism, Public Administration, procurement, agriculture and mining, prioritized in each Province on economic lines as guided by the Province's Local Economic Development Strategy.
The State Information Technology Agency will be implementing internships aimed at addressing the shortages of ICT skills across the three spheres of Government in these three pilot programmes.
3.EFFORTS TO ADDRESS THE CHALLENGE OF YOUTH WITH DISABILITIES
Youth development in the Public Service is also informed by Conventions and Charters of both United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU). South Africa ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. This Convention, especially in Article 5 (which is about equality and non-discrimination) resonates with Chapter 2 of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution as well as the Integrated National Disability Strategy of 1997. The Disability Strategy outlines priorities that need attention with regard to mainstreaming services for people with disabilities and ensures that the youth with disabilities in particular, like their peers, gain access to youth development programmes.
As a policy Portfolio of Government, the Portfolio of Public Service and Administration developed policies for dealing with issues of disability management which line Departments have to deal with as their practical programmes of delivery.
However, in practice much more still needs to be done. Both the public and private sectors have so far not met the target of 2% of people with disabilities in their establishments. The 2009-2010 Commission for Employment Equity Report found that people with disabilities made up only 0.9% of the total workforce. According to the Report, the private sector employs 34,778 people with disabilities, which is 1% of its total workforce, whilst the public sector employs 6,052 of people with disabilities equating to 0.6% of its workforce.
These figures tell us to do things differently moving forward so that the needs of the vulnerable persons, and in particular the youth with disabilities, are catered for.
Once more, we believe that we will not be making a strange call if we say the NYDA has to be enlisted as a partner in dealing with matters of disability. Our Portfolio has already started a partnership negotiation with some business people to come to the party, one to offer the training expertise and the other one to provide the financial muscles to do so. It is our collective responsibility and we have to go for it.
4.PUBLIC SECTOR ABSORPTION OF YOUNG GRADUATES AND SCHOOL LEAVERS
Programme Director, Ladies and Gentlemen
To make a determination of whether the public service is meeting its targets with regard to the absorption of young graduates and school leavers, the Department of Public Service and Administration is making strides to collect accurate data, with a specific focus on the following:
As part of the drive to absorb young graduates and school leavers, PALAMA is building capacity through partnerships with various stakeholders, paying particular attention to the following:
In support of the job creation drive, we have also developed "Breaking Barriers to Entry into Public Service Programme" (also known as "BB2E"). This Programme, which is managed by PALAMA, seeks to equip unemployed graduates with competencies to access employment opportunities in the Public Service.
PALAMA sought a partnership with the NYDA to implement the BB2E because of the important role the NYDA plays in managing the database of unemployed graduates and from which PALAMA sources the beneficiaries of BB2E.
Remarkable progress has been made since the implementation of BB2E in December 2010. A total number of 1192 unemployed graduates participated in the week-long Orientation to Public Service course. The number of graduates who have been placed in various departments as interns is at least 20 per cent of those who enrolled for the Programme in the 2010/2011 financial year. A special tracking system will be put in place to accurately trace the success of these learners in exploiting employment opportunities in the wider labour market.
The foundation to breaking the barriers to entry into Public Service has been laid and this programme is positioned to be considered as a national programme that prepares a pool of internship programme participants and other categories of youth for employment in the public service and possibly beyond.
An important aspect of the Breaking Barriers to Entry into Public Service Programme is the role of mentors and/or coaches in supporting the development of interns. The intern-mentor relationship is key to enhancing the development of the intern's capacity to exploit employment opportunities in, especially, the Public Service.
The Breaking Barriers to Entry into Public Service Programme is not only designed to enhance the employment potential of graduates, but to develop the new public service cadre.
In 2011/12 PALAMA will introduce in a pilot phase, the Graduate Internship Development Programme. It is hoped that this will be as successful in its piloting as the Breaking Barriers programme.
I know that I have to put qualifications when I speak about a public service cadre, lest I expose myself to criticisms by those who either have serious problems with the mention of the word "cadre" for historical political alignment or those who may have their own subjective interpretation of the word, equating it to the "Jobs-for-pals" syndrome.
5. THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT WORKER PROGRAMME
Government has conceptualised, introduced and incubated a programme of Community Development workers. Although it is not exclusively a youth programme, it provides space for youth participation in the area of coordinating service delivery at the community level.
At conceptualisation, this programme was meant to introduce a special public service facilitator, who would take Government to the doorsteps of citizens and introduce a notion of a Government that knows to knock at the doors of the people, talk to them from a point of view of providing information on how to access services as well as facilitating online application of services and person-to-person engagements on addressing service delivery bottlenecks in the communities.
We have now passed the incubation stage and we are rolling out.
Like most interventions, this programme of accelerating access to services suffered challenges in the areas of location and mandate, duplication of services with other similar establishments as well as serious role conflict where Councillors, Ward Committees and other politicians view them as encroaching into their space.
The Department of Public Service and Administration has developed a new programme to respond to all these challenges, and we will appreciate partnerships to accomplish our plans.
6. THE REVOLVING DOOR POLICY
Government introduced a policy providing for space to share experience between Government and the Academic Community, through allowing arrangements where public servants would be available for secondment to the Universities for exposure, and University academic staff to be seconded to Government for practical exposure.
We are giving priority to the roll out of this programme, as, since the development of the policy, there has been no implementation programme and therefore no practical activities.
7. THE PEER REVIEW MECHANISMS
One of the critical issues about our policies and implementation is the fact that as a Government, we ratified and acceded to instruments of good governance in the World, that provide for space for the country to be assessed by our peers on compliance with such standards, as well as giving us an opportunity to assess others. In this interaction, we learn from each other.
The three examples where we are actively participating is in the African Peer Review Mechanism, the Convention to fight bribery as a manifestation of corruption by Government officials in doing business at the international space, under the auspices of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as well as the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
In terms of the APRM, the Portfolio is leading the country as a Focal Point, to submit our third report to the Heads of State and Government of Participating countries in 2013, which will primarily focus on the topic of Xenophobia.
8. POLICIES IN THE PIPELINE
As we move to conclude our input at this Youth Convention, we want to introduce some policies that are in the process of development and where the voice of the youth may help to enrich the debate.
7.1 CONCLUDING THE DEBATE ON THE CREATION OF A SINGLE PUBLIC SERVICE
The main focus of this policy debate is to harmonise the conditions of service for our public service, provide for a mechanism of mobility across the spheres of Government, vertically and horizontally, without the loss of service, as well as provide for uniform application of standards and policies for good governance across the spheres.
7.2 PROJECT: MY PUBLIC SERVANT, MY FUTURE
We are introducing this project with a view of facilitating a debate on a case for reflecting on public servants as agents to facilitate effective service delivery in a stable public service environment in South Africa.
A broader forum is being convened to engage in this case debate, and the NYDA will be accordingly invited.
Through their various contributions over decades, the youth of generations of the liberation struggle in South Africa laid the foundation for all of us to now state with pride that we are free, and together we can hold a National Convention of the youth.
While we have attained political freedom, much more needs to be done so that our country can achieve economic emancipation. This is the challenge we must boldly and unapologetically confront and address - each one of us.
One of the important roles that my Ministry, the Portfolio for Public Service and Administration plays is to help build a strong skills base of our youth through the policy interventions I have mentioned here today, and many others, so that, in addition to them being able to secure jobs in the public service or elsewhere, they too become part of the solution to the challenges confronting us. We believe that working together we can do more!
I thank you for your attention.
Issued by the Ministry for Public Service and Administration
For more information contact:
Dumisani Nkwamba 012 336 1704/ 082 885 9448/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Lebohang Mafokosi 012 336 1017/ 082 312 4641/ email@example.comRichard Baloyi