SPEECHES: Keynote address: Ms Faith Muthambi, MP, Minister of Public Service and Administration on the Launch of the European Union – National School of Government Public Service Training and Capacity Building Programme and the Opening of the 19th Public Sector Trainers’ Forum (PSTF) Conference, Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand, in the Gauteng Province

Date: 16 Oct 2017

Acting Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration and Planning, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Hon RM Lesoma.

Dr Arno Schaefer, from the EU standing in for the Ambassador,

Chairperson of the Public Service Commission, Adv RK Sizani.

Northern Cape Provincial Commissioner, Mrs Moira A Marais-Martins.

Delegate from DIRCO, Mr NE Shongwe

Officials from the National Treasury who overlook the budget for the EU Support Programme, Ms Nathalie Vereen and Mr Robin Toli.

Organised Labour – PSA Deputy General Manager, Mr Tahir Maepa

Heads of MPSA departments and entities

PSTF Executive Committee (EXCO) (Ms Brenda Ntombela; Dr Thabo Mashongoane; Prof McLennan)v

International Speakers v

Dr James Nkata –Uganda Management Institute;

Dr Brian Cawley- Ireland and

Dr Fabrice Larat- France

Representatives from the various media formations

Invited guests

We are gathered here today under the theme “Enabling Vision 2030 through Human Resource Development” – Vision 2030 being the National Development Plan that is meant to ultimately place our people in a better South Africa that is free of poverty, inequality, environmental degradation and able to take its rightful place as a prosperous nation in Africa and world.

The EU-NSG support programme

South Africa’s development vision is being affirmed and taken forward by the European Union through a multi-annual support programme directed towards the National School of Government. The EU support programme is aimed at supporting the NSG to position itself towards the building of capacity to create a public service that is representative, accountable, efficient and responsive to the needs of all citizens under the ideal of a capable developmental state. The EU support Programme will benefit the NSG immensely because its objectives include to the “professionalization of the public service towards improved service delivery – with the following key results areas: [Results Area 1] -Strengthening information, communication and Technology (ICT) systems for the NSG; [Result Area 2] -Strengthening research and curriculum development at the NSG; [Result Area 3] -Improving training and development at pre-service, induction, and leadership levels [Result Area 4] -Strengthening the NSG strategic partnerships at domestic, regional and international levels.

His Excellency, Ambassador Cornaro – I can assure you that through this support programme, the EU will not only be impacting on the public service and the people of South Africa but to the public services and people of other countries in Africa as well. The EU-NSG support programme symbolises that cooperation between the continents of Europe and Africa is possible where the legacies of colonialism, apartheid, conflict and dispossession are addressed. The prosperity of the African continent and the well-being of its citizens is a crucial aspect in the context of people-centred development. Agenda 2063, as developed by the African Union Commission (AUC), envisions that “capable democratic and developmental states and institutions will characterize the continent”. According to the AUC:

  • Africa will be a continent where the institutions are at the service of its people - strong institutions in place to enhance citizens’ participation in economic development and governance management,

  • Competent, professional and neutral bureaucracies based on merit will serve the continent and deliver effective and efficient services, and

  • Institutions at all levels of government will have the capacity to prioritize, design, implement and monitor development activities in an accountable manner, and with full participation of the people”.

Programme director - our National Development Plan (NDP) notes that South Africa’s global competitiveness can be forged through international partnerships. The NDP also encourages the establishment of international networks for learning and sharing of knowledge and best practices. In order to enhance its role to contribute towards African capacity development, the NSG through this EU programme, has already started to forge these kinds of strategic international partnerships.

Firstly, a partnership with the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA) of France will result in the development of an African Governance Programme (AGP) - a post-graduate qualification that will teach governance in Africa focusing on (i) continental institutions (such as policies, treaties and peer review mechanisms for good governance, (ii) regional integration and regional platforms, peer review mechanisms and (iii) conditions for good governance at national levels – e.g. constitutionality, democracy, and citizen participation).

Secondly, the African Management Development Institutes’ Network (AMDIN) – which is a network of government Management Development Institutes (MDIs) across the African continent will benefit from this support programme. AMDIN was established to create a platform to promote mutual partnership, peer support and collaboration in developing leadership and management capacity in response to the needs of the African people and their governments. The National School of Government plays an active role as a member, Secretariat and Treasurer of AMDIN. The Network is regarded as the implementation agency for the African Union Commission (AUC) and capacity-building initiatives. AMDIN has recently signed an MOU with AUC to legitimise its status as the implementation agency for capacity building programmes. One of the responsibilities that was given to AMDIN by the AUC was to lead a research project on “the State of the Public Service in Africa (SOPSA)”. The project was recently completed and the results will be presented during the next meeting of the Committee on the Public Service which is a component of the AU before being presented at higher structures of the African Union.

AMDIN has also been tasked with popularising the African Charter for the public service with the purpose of capacitating the Public Servants in the African Continent on the African Charter. The NSG, as the Secretariat has opened discussions with the World Bank, to partner with AMDIN in its efforts to build capacity within the individual MDI’s of member states. It is my view that better capacitated MDIs on the continent would give rise to the delivery of effective and efficient public services.

Programme director, please allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate the teams from the European Union (EU), our National Treasury, and the NSG for conceptualising this Public Sector Training and Capacity Building Programme.

The amount of 10 mil EUROS to be invested by the EU in this programme is very substantial and indeed indicative of the intention of cementing a sustainable relationship between the EU and South Africa.

His Excellency, on behalf of the people of South Africa, I would like to thank the EU for the generosity and friendship that is has shown to this country by supporting our national School with this programme.

The 19th National conference for public sector trainers

Programme Director, allow me to welcome all the human resource development practitioners, trainers, researchers and managers who have come to the 19th National Public Sector Trainers Forum (PSTF) conference to deliberate on key policy and implementation matters that affect the public sector.

The PSTF is a very important platform in the public sector. That we are gathered here today, two decades later since its formation, is testimony to the fact that the original objectives of this Forum are still relevant. Just to recap, these objectives include:

  • advancing the development and growth of Human Resource Development (HRD) practitioners;

  • contributing to the awareness and adoption of quality HRD standards;

  • creating a platform for discussion, implementation and possible review of HRD frameworks; and

  • fostering partnerships with stakeholders to improve HRD practices

This conference should be an interactive learning platform and a catalyst in strategizing how our public servants could be educated, trained and imbued with a positive attitude when serving our people.

Dedication to serve our communities

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that the year 2017 marks the Centenary of the birth of Oliver Reginald Tambo.

O.R. Tambo is known for his personal sacrifice which brought us the freedoms we now enjoy. The dynamism of personality and the multitude of capabilities made him the quintessential “renaissance man” yet he never veered away from a passion to empower others.

Ever socially aware, O.R. Tambo believed in the power of deeds over words and setting a personal example to inspire change. In her seminal biography, Oliver Tambo: Beyond the Engeli Mountains, South African historian, Luli Callinicos, explains how O.R Tambo followed a “difficult” science instead of an “easier” humanities degree at the University of Fort Hare.

His motive, according Callinicos, was not only to help swell the number of few African science students at the time, but also as a way of inspiring and recruiting more to the field.

Today, I call upon to you in your human resource development practice to emulate OR Tambo by tackling the “difficult” aspects in your work that will serve our people in a selfless manner. Let us swell the ranks of the public service with the technical skills and specialist professionals that will serve our people. I urge you to work hard so that this country and the continent do not have to fly their leaders to other parts of the world, such as Asia, North America, and Europe to access specialist medical care.

Let us work hard to ensure that our public schools, hospitals, and social services access points are staffed with public servants that will emulate OR Tambo’s values of service, dedication and love for his people. If our people lack access to quality education, health, and social welfare, then the democratic freedom ushered in 23 years ago remains an impossible dream to millions of them.

The National Development Plan (NDP), the blue print for our country’s developmental path with the goal to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030, notes that the South Africa of today looks very different to the one we left behind in 1994. It recognises the need for a state to have a thriving business sector, strong civil society institutions with shared and complementary responsibilities, and the need to improve the quality of administration of many government activities - one of which is the professionalization of the public service for improved service delivery.

Programme director, one of the unintended consequences of the flurry with which we go about our daily work is that reflection and learning suffer as a result. It is for this reason that platforms such as this PSTF conference are critical spaces for our collective self-reflection, learning, and self-correction. Please ensure that this platform continues to exist for you to keep improving your practice.

Remarks on substantive issues

Programme director - human resource development propel economic development. It is common knowledge now that successful developmental states (such as Korea, Japan and Singapore and others) are distinguished by the fact that they establish capable institutions which give them the capacity to intervene positively to the country’s development trajectory.

The South African public sector needs a system of effective and well-functioning HRD forums at national, provincial, and local spheres of our government. Skills development prescripts, policies, Ministerial Directives (such as those declaring certain minimum training standards or qualifications whether for entry or promotion) should be adhered to and periodically evaluated.

Our human resource development endeavours should:

    • capacitate the youth, women, and people with disabilities with the necessary skills and effectively reduce the current youth unemployment rate which increased from 54.3 % in the 1st quarter of 2017 to 55,9 % in the 2nd quarter,

    • provide the skills required by the green and oceans economy and concretise the paradigm shift from commodity/resource-based to the knowledge economy,

    • produce human resources that are critical, innovative and creative in order to improve our innovation scorecard. South Africa ranked number 53 out of 143 countries in the global innovation index, while our creative outputs were ranked at number 70 out of 140 countries. These rankings indicate that there is room for improvement in our human resource development endeavours.


Programme director, since the PSTF organises our public sector trainers at post-schooling level, it would be helpful if you could deliberate on what practical solutions should the public sector try to alleviate the challenges occurring between training and employment. Our higher education and training system (comprising of Universities and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions) is currently producing a high number of unemployed (unemployable) graduates. This situation must be reversed. In the African continent, approximately 12 million young people enter the job market each year, while the formal private sector is too small to absorb the growing labour force.

The relevant public sector institutions should coordinate its response to the eradication of unemployed graduates from local, provincial and national spheres of government. This response should start from the rural communities (where some of the brightest minds come from) and must involve local traditional leaders and community development workers as well as the townships.

I am happy that your programme for the next three days includes very important topics on how the public service will pursue talent management and career development strategies; use the public sector space to produce technical skills and specialist professionals; interrogate the role of HRD in the declining economy and the value for money principle; and start now to think about the effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in your profession.

I wish you a successful conference.

Ndi a Livhuwa / Thank you

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