Adv. Richard Sizane Chairperson of the PSC, Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikonga, Minister for Public Service and Administration, Mr Senzo Mchunu,at the budget budget vote in Cape Town

Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu used his maiden Budget Vote Speech to announce that he had identified five priorities to transform his Department.

“We have identified five key priorities within DPSA that we are going to focus on in the next five years, particularly in the first year.

“These priorities are resistant fault lines, full implementation of Public Administration Management Act (PAMA), achieving higher levels of stability in the Public Service, fighting corruption and policy implementation,” he said.

Minister Mchunu said DPSA budget is the smallest and they intend keeping it that way, adding that in addition to the wage bill, they also intend curtailing overall costs of running the public administration.

The Minister also announced that they would also wage a war against litigation of state institutions and departments.

He also vowed to revive and make drastic improvements about the Batho Pele Principles in the public service.

The principles of Batho Pele were developed with the intention of improving service delivery within government sectors by supporting the transformation of the public service into a citizen-orientated institution.

Batho Pele is also about moving the public service from a rules-bound approach that hinders the delivery of services to an approach that encourages innovation and is results driven.

The Batho Pele belief set has been summarised by the popular slogan: “We belong, we care, we serve.” It aims to ensure that all public servants put people first.

It is based on the eight principles: Consultation; Standards; Access; Courtesy; Information; Openness and Transparency and Value for money.

The precursor to PAMA is a whole discussion at various levels around the need for a Single Public Service. The processes were overtaken by the promulgation of PAMA, which promotes values and principles governing public administration.

“It is our intention to move ahead and implement PAMA in full, specifically to apply all basic principles and values governing public service across all the three spheres of government and in State-owned enterprises.

“The NDP directs us to establish the Administrative Head of Public Service and Office of Standards.

“We are committed to this and we should complete this process within a year as the President directed, if not much earlier,” he said.

The Minister added that they are aiming to promote good relations with public sector unions because they value them as strategic partners in achieving the objectives of the public service.

He said one of their goals this term would be to engage unions and civil servants around a single determinant on salary increments.

“The perception of the public around instability in the form of strikes is that government and unions are failing to manage their differences as employer and employees,” he said.

Reconfiguration of government

Minister Mchunu also announced that they are in the process of playing their role as Public Service and Administration in the reconfiguration of government and with the urgent need to reach completion by the end of the year.

“I want to assure this House that the process will be handled in a responsible manner without any disruption to delivery of services to the people,” he said.

Two years ago, President Cyril Ramaphosa first made the announced about his plan to reduce the size of the Cabinet and the national government departments during his maiden SoNA.

Making the announcement before a joint sitting of Parliament at the time, the President said: “Growth, development and transformation depend on a strong and capable state.”

The reality is that the public service is not bloated in size, but the wage bill and overall cost to run public service is.

“It is also important to note that two thirds of the public service is made up of essential services employees such as teachers, nurses and police officers, contributing to the escalating wage bill,” he said.

Fighting corruption

“Public servants stand at the door that separates clean governance from corruption. They keep the door closed, no corruption. They open the door, corruption sets in and they fail the nation that pays them,” he said, adding that a lot of work has been done to position the Department and government as a whole to fighting corruption effectively.

This includes a host of regulations, amongst them, the establishment of National Anti-Corruption Hotline.