SPEECHES: Budget Vote Speech by the Minister for the Public Service and Administration Adv. Ngoako Ramatlhodi, MP, 11 MAY 2016, Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, Cape Town

Date: 11 May 2016

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

Honourable Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Ms Peace Mabe

Chairperson of the Presidential Remuneration Review Commission, Justice Kenneth Mthiyane

Chairperson of the Public Service Commission, Adv Richard Sizani

Chairperson of the Government Employees Medical Scheme - Mr. Colbert Rikhotso

Directors-General and Heads of MPSA entities

Honourable Members

Distinguished guests

Fellow South Africans

Thank you very much for affording us this opportunity to address the House during the consideration of the Budget Vote of the Ministry for the Public Service and Administration.

The Deputy Minister will speak to the House on the important matters of the work she is doing on behalf of the Ministry, such as her role as the Special Envoy to the Open Government Partnership, work on the National School of Government as well as efforts to intensify innovation in the public service through the Centre for Public Service Innovation.

Honourable Chairperson:

As we celebrated 22 Years of Freedom on the 27th of April, allow me to quote the founding father of our democracy, former President Nelson Mandela, when he said, "We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free." (close quote) We dare not forget those who paid with their lives so that you and I can enjoy the fruits of a free country.

We want to take this opportunity on behalf of government as a whole to pay tribute to one of the heroes of our liberation struggle, Advocate Bram Fischer. As you are all aware, Adv Bram Fischer refused privileges of the elite environment he grew up in, and instead chose to fight for freedom and democracy in our country. He is indeed a hero and a great servant of our people whose immense contribution in the struggle against apartheid is engraved in our hearts.

The year 2016 marks 20 years since the first democratic government established the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to lead the transformation of the Public Service. We are not only celebrating DPSA's establishment but also 20 Years since our country adopted its Constitution.

As you will recall, the democratic government led by the African National Congress (ANC), inherited a fragmented structure of Public Service that was made of, among others, homelands and self-governing states.

The establishment of the DPSA was to ensure that we transform the Public Service, and revamp human resource policies, regulations governing the Public Service, information technology management and policies relating to service delivery.

Since 1996, great strides have been made to have a Public Service that is service delivery-oriented, people-centred and driven by the Values and Principles of Batho Pele - Putting People First. A Public Service that promotes a high standard of professional ethics, a Public Service that promotes efficient, economic and effective use of resources, a Public Service that is development-oriented, a Public Service that is accountable and a Public Service that responds to the needs of the people and encourages the public to participate in policy making - this is the Public Service we built in the past 20 years as mandated by the Constitution.

This is the same supreme law of the Republic that gives rights to citizens to voice their dissatisfaction through various means including protesting against the manner in which Services are delivered to communities. However, the recent spate of violence and burning of schools and other state property in Vuwani in Limpopo can never be justified no matter how aggrieved the community is. As the Ministry for Public Service and Administration, WE ARE OUTRAGED and thus condemn this despicable conduct as it is adversely affecting learning in schools and disrupting delivery of services. As government we are putting into place all mechanims to ensure that learning is restored as a matter of urgency in all affected areas.

Honourable Chairperson:

It is my pleasure to inform the House that on 13 November 2015, the DPSA held the third successful National Batho Pele Excellence Awards. The Awards serve to recognize public servants who are selfless, dedicated, committed and who go the extra mile in servicing the citizens. The purpose of the Awards is to entrench the transformation and professionalization of the Public Service.

In our midst today, we have the 2015 Best Frontline Service Delivery Employee Award winner from the South African Police Service in the Free State Province, Sergeant Mpho Mgogodlana (please rise).

Her award was for the dedication she has demonstrated in living and abiding by the Batho Pele Principles and the Value Statement of We Belong, We Care, We Serve.

In 2014 the Mangaung police station experienced a high rate of crime in Sector 4 which consists of industrial and residential areas. Sergeant Mgogodlana volunteered to make police services visible in these areas. She profiled a database of 200 firms, established a forum for business people, a neighbourhood watch and instituted frequent police patrols which ultimately reduced house burglaries in the vicinity. She utilised the Departmental efficiency Index as a general police monitoring tool for complaint handling. She encouraged the community during sector meetings to lodge complaints if they were not happy with the services they receive.

This is the ideal Public Servant the people of South Africa look up to. Please join me in congratulating Sergeant Mgogodlana on her dedication and achievement.

Honourable Chairperson:

As government, we are not only prioritizing service delivery to our citizens but we equally care about the well-being of the Public Servants themselves, because without healthy and active Public Servants, our service delivery goals cannot be achieved.

As a caring employer, government would like to see all public servants owning a house. Government is implementing the Government Employee Housing Scheme (GEHS) to assist employees - especially lower income public servants, to access home loans and other finance from lenders who participate in the Scheme.

The implementation of the Government Employees Housing Scheme commenced on 27 May 2015 following the signing of the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) Resolution 7 of 2015.

To date, a Project Management Office has been established in the DPSA and is responsible for the operation of the Scheme. Also, a dedicated Call Centre has been set-up to support employees who wish to enroll with the Scheme.

The Scheme will improve the socio-economic conditions of public service employees by supporting, educating and advising them on housing options and opportunities, and increasing their home-ownership, thus reducing asset poverty.

I am pleased to announce that the enrolment of Public Servants into the Scheme has already commenced, and that roadshows are now being conducted in all provinces to ensure that employees receive as much information as possible about the Scheme.

Honourable Chairperson:

In 2006 our government established the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS). The Scheme continues to make a difference to our people at large. In the years the Scheme has been in existence, it has been a pioneer in the medical industry, garnering impressive acclaim and recognition. As the second largest medical scheme in South Africa, GEMS remains the fastest growing medical scheme with more than 1.7 million lives covered.

As at the end of March 2016, the Scheme had covered close to 700 thousand principal members and 1,7 million beneficiaries overall.

In terms of accessibility; GEMS has made considerable inroads in covering lower level employees, with 45% of levels 1 to 5 employees now covered by the Scheme. Approximately R1 in every R5 spent on private healthcare is spent by GEMS, and approximately R1 out of every R10 spent on healthcare (private and public) in South Africa is spent by GEMS.

The Scheme's key priorities going forward include :

  • Reducing medical scheme costs through strategic sourcing and specialist networks;
  • Promoting Member retention; and
  • Introducing workplace-based exercise and health programme for public service employees

Honourable Chairperson:

After extensive consultations, the Public Administration Management Act was signed into law by the President in December 2014. This was a complex process which ran over a number of years, but was a necessary step in our quest towards ensuring seamless service delivery by all spheres of government within the values of public administration enshrined in our Constitution.

During this last financial year, we focused on the development of the first set of regulations to give effect to certain provisions in the Act. As a start, we prioritised the development of regulations dealing with the important matter of prohibiting public servants from doing business with the state. I am pleased to report that we have completed these draft regulations and that we will soon be releasing them for public comment.

As the Public Service we need to start doing more with less, because taxpayers want to see efficiency and effectiveness in public service delivery. We are cognisant that productivity in our public sector is just as important to the economic performance of the country. During this financial year, we will address gaps that exist in our performance measurement instruments.

In this regard, amendments to the Public Service Regulations dealing with performance management in the Public Service were published for comment during the 2015/16 financial year. These Regulations will be promulgated during this financial year and departments will be required to amend their policies and systems for implementation during the 2017/18 financial year.

To emphasise the contribution of public sector productivity to the overall economic performance of South Africa, the DPSA has also developed a public sector productivity measurement instrument through an extensive consultative process with stakeholders in and outside government. Amongst the many benefits of this measurement instrument is that it strengthens the service delivery value chain by identifying possible blockages in service delivery operations within departments.

To date, we have tested this measurement instrument in the provincial Departments of Basic Education in the Mpumalanga Province; Health in the North West Province; and Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs in the Limpopo Province.

The findings emanating from these pilot studies have enabled us to engage these departments on ways to further improve on their current levels of productivity.

In 2014/15, the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) started with specific initiatives to explore ways to improve service delivery. This led to amongst others, the development of an Operations Management Framework and Methodology. In the main the framework and methodology links departmental strategic plans with their operations through a service delivery model, the design of the operations through mapping the necessary delivery processes, developing standard operating procedures and service standards. Focus is also placed on day-to-day operations planning and control; and on how to analyse and improve operations on an ongoing basis.

Honourable Chairperson:

Since the development of the framework and methodology, the DPSA has engaged in an advocacy programme as well as building capacity in selected departments to enable implementation of the framework.

Those departments are: the Departments of Education, Health and Human Settlements, Social Development, and Transport in both national and provincial spheres, as well as the national Departments of Labour Minerals, Energy and Trade and Industry.

In the 2016/17 financial year we will continue to assist selected departments to implement the Operations Management framework and methodology in order to improve systems and processes which ultimately lead to continuous, improved service delivery to the citizens.

Perhaps some might ask why we seem to be focusing a lot on these methodologies and tools. This is a very conscious decision on our part. The transformation of public service delivery as required by the Batho Pele principles cannot simply be achieved through promotional and advocacy work on these principles. Instead, attention should also be paid to operational back-office processes that support service delivery.

Honourable Chairperson:

To address issues related to the abuse and management of incapacity leave and ill-health retirement benefits the Policy and Procedure on Incapacity Leave and Ill-Health Retirement (PILIR) was developed.

The PILIR generally assists Departments in the professional investigation and management of incapacity leave and ill-health retirement applications. It also assists Departments in the application of the current sick leave dispensation and the management and investigation of potential ill-health retirements.

The PILIR Model has evolved over several years from its inception during the pilot study. Following its implementation and based on feedback received from a range of key stakeholders as well as our own observations, we decided to undertake a review of PILIR to validate if the model is effective.

Based on the findings and recommendations of the review report, the PILIR model will be adapted accordingly.

The National Development Plan (NDP), under the topic "Building a Capable and Developmental State," observed the importance of delegation and proposed that greater and more consistent delegations supported by appropriate systems of support and oversight, be developed and staff at all levels have the authority, competency and support they need to do their jobs.

To advance the proposals in the NDP, Cabinet approved the Principles of Public Administration and Financial Delegations and minimum levels of delegations in terms of the Public Service Act in August 2013. Also, the Minister for Public Service and Administration (MPSA) issued a Directive on Public Administration and Management Delegations in August 2014.

The Directive on Delegations applies to all national and provincial departments and government components listed in the schedules to the Public Service Act.

In order to ensure compliance, the DPSA conducted 33 workshops with national and provincial departments to support the implementation of the standardised delegation principles and templates set out in the Directive on Delegations.

As a Public Service, our aim is to promote the minimum levels of Delegations, as approved by Cabinet, from Executive Authorities to Heads of Department and other senior officials so as to promote efficient and effective delegations and a more stable political administrative interface.

During 2016/17 financial year, we will focus on continuous monitoring and annual evaluation of the status of compliance with the Directive on Delegations.

The DPSA is in the process of compiling a report on compliance with the Directive on Delegations as at 31 March 2016 which should be concluded by 31 May 2016.

The report will include recommendations for corrective measures that may be taken which may include aspects in respect of failure to comply with a Directive as set out in Section 16A of the Public Service Act.

Honourable Chairperson:

The Vote we are presenting today also includes the Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC is an independent oversight institution established in terms of Chapter 10 of the Constitution.

The Commission is addressing some of the key issues raised in the NDP such as building a capable, career-oriented and professional Public Service. In this regard, on 23 March 2016, the PSC jointly with the University of South Africa (UNISA) hosted a very successful inaugural public lecture entitled "Building a capable, career-oriented and professional Public Service for a developmental state as stated in the National Development Plan Vision 2030." As Minister for Public Service and Administration, I had the honour of delivering the keynote address at the event and used the opportunity to highlight to a wider audience of participants the values and principles governing public administration, as contained in Section 195 of the Constitution.

Through its oversight reports, the PSC has continued to advise the Executive as well as Parliament on areas of progress and areas that undermine the ability of the state to deliver. In order to address the professionalization of the public service, and in response to some of the PSC's findings, we have issued Ministerial Directives on competency assessment and on compulsory capacity development, mandatory training days and minimum entry requirements for the Senior Management Service. The directive, among others, prescribes minimum entry requirements, such as minimum years of experience.

Following input from the PSC and other stakeholders, the Minister has agreed to amend the entry requirements for Heads of Department or Directors-General to 8 - 10 years of experience at a senior managerial level (5 years of which must be with any Organ of State as defined in the Constitution).

The Ministry for Public Service and Administration will continue to support the Commission to ensure that it carries out its mandate as an oversight body. In this regard, we will work the Commission as it proceeds with the Public Service Commission Amendment Bill. The Bill mainly seeks to streamline the administrative processes for the appointment of an Acting Chairperson and how the term of office of a Commissioner should be renewed to the attention of the Minister. Parliament is processing the PSC Amendment Bill to deal with these challenges.

Honorable Members, within the current economic environment, the PSC has to think creatively on how it can do more with less. The Forum of Institutions Supporting Democracy is working with the Speaker in clarifying the location of the budget of Institutions Supporting Democracy. They are also looking at resource sharing, such as the accessibility of office accommodation to other Institutions Supporting Democracy, to save costs.

In conclusion, Honourable Chairperson:

It is an open secret that the current economic conditions have an impact not only in South Africa but across the world. However, despite limited resources, the Public Service, will not abandon our service delivery commitments. As the Minister of Finance indicated during the Budget Speech in February this, it is time to tighten the belt and work within the means at our disposal.

Former President Mandela once said, "Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do." (close quote)

As the Public Service, we are dedicated to what we do and will seek to do more with the less Working with our citizens and government departments, we will create a better life for all because Together, We Move South Africa Forward.

This is our commitment as a Public Service - We Belong to our people, We Care about our people, We Serve our people.

I thank you.


For further information please contact:

Ministerial Spokesperson and Special Advisor Adv Mahlodi Muofhe on 0829720141/ Mahlodi.muofhe@dpsa.gov.za

Departmental Spokesperson Dumisani Nkwamba on 0828859448/ DumisaniN@dpsa.gov.za

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