DPSA Director General, Ms Yoliswa Makhasi

Global Affairs Canada (GAC), under the bilateral development assistance envelope between South Africa and Canada, is providing technical assistance to the Government of South Africa through the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to design and pilot the implementation of the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit (PA-EIDM -TAU) as mandated under the Public Administration Management Act, Section 15 (1).

A high level virtual Bilateral Consultation Meeting between Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA was held on Tuesday, 9 March 2021.

The meeting participants was attended by Ms. Yoliswa Makhasi – Director General of the DPSA, HE, Mr. Chris Cooter – Head of Mission, High Commission of Canada, Mr. Andrew Clark – Director for South Africa, Kenya and Somalia, Global Affairs Canada (Ottawa) and senior representatives from GAC, DPSA, National Treasury and DIRCO.

DG Makhasi shared with the meeting DPSA priorities in the area of building a capable state and good governance, also covering a wide range of matters focusing on issues such as the wage dispensation, productivity, levels of professionalism, ICT enabled service delivery and ethical leadership.

She said it is imperative to have a leadership development approach for senior officials to understand their governance role in managing their departments aimed at improving service delivery.

“Invigorating professionalism and morale of public servants is a priority area since the public service is regarded as the engine room of development in any country. The mind-set, ethos, behavioural patterns, and motivation of public servants are critical to deliver on a development agenda,” she said.

With respect to ethical leadership, the DG emphasized that while policies and codes are important to achieving an ethical culture, they are only tools and not a substitute. “Rules can only take an organisation to a certain point and thereafter it depends on the individual’s behaviour and on a shared value system.”

Dr Salomon Hoogenraad- Vermaak, Head of Technical Assistance Unit (TAU) provided an updated report on the work completed to date on the SEIP. The research and design work was completed in 2020. He reported that the following activities will be finalised by end April 2021:

  • Conduct an audit of ethics, integrity and disciplinary management cases pending as of 31 December 2020 in the public service and develop a strategy to address case backlogs in the public service.
  • Develop a three-year roadmap/strategy for the Unit.

The work of the SEIP supports the MTSF and Ministerial targets of the Unit, especially regarding lifestyle audits, on the improvement of discipline management in the public service and to institutionalise the professional code of ethics in the public administration.

HE, Mr Cooter in his update said Canada recognizes and applauds South Africa for the measures been taken to fight corruption. He also acknowledged that there is a large amount of work remaining to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of these efforts.

“Let me assure you that you are not alone in your labours, Canada is here to support your efforts both through this project and otherwise.

“We encourage DPSA to maximize the use of Canadian Technical Assistance through the Strengthening Ethics and Integrity project (SEIP), as well as make every effort to ensure that skills and knowledge are transferred to build the capacity of South African counterparts to ensure sustainability of project results, ” he said.

DG Makhasi thanked the Canadian Government for the longstanding relationship they have with the South African Government and for their meaningful contribution through the Strengthening Ethics and Integrity Project (SEIP) to establish the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit.

All meeting participants expressed their satisfaction with the progress made to date and wished the DG well as she leads the next phases of piloting the Unit’s various services and operations, and move into full implementation across government.