Minister Senzo Mchunu at the special FOSAD

The challenges facing the Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS) will very soon be tabled at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) to correct the current weakness and gaps. 

The announcement was made by Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu while delivering his budget vote speech on Thursday afternoon.

“The current GEHS remains a challenge…currently, it is only benefiting over 300 000 public servants, where it could be benefiting even a much higher number.

“Although initiated with good intentions, it does not have favourable provisions with regards to loans, terms of repayment and interest rates. It is not designed to accommodate various, problematic financial situations which some public servants find themselves in; it does not address other various needs, such as temporal location as a result of work and terms in relation to other stakeholders are problematic.

“The department has embarked on corrective measures in this regard and the matter will be discussed at the PSCBC very soon to ensure that the current weaknesses and gaps are corrected,” he said.

Budget Allocation

The Minister announced that a total of R526 192,000 had been allocated jointly to the department and the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) in the financial year 2021/22.

The CPSI is a government component reporting to Minister Mchunu and is mandated to drive and entrench the culture and practice of innovation in the public sector to improve service delivery.

The National School of Government (NSG), will be working with a budget of R210 million, while the Public Service Commission (PSC) has a budget of over R282 million.

Single Public Administration

Minister Mchunu said South Africa needs a single Public Administration and a Single Public Service with the broad objective to improve the state capacity and capability in accordance with the National Development Plan (NDP).

He said the single Public Administration does not seek to undermine the distinctiveness of local government as a sphere; rather, it seeks to improve the manner in which the (three) spheres interrelate.

“The creation of a single Public Administration seeks to correct and harmonize unnecessary fragmentations.

“To this end, the Public Administration Management Bill facilitates and transforms systems and mechanisms for service delivery to ensure that there is smooth and seamless service delivery at all spheres of government through the alignment of human resource and governance and related arrangements in the three spheres of government, and should result into improved accountability,” he said.

Public Service Amendment Bill

According to Minister Mchunu, some of the areas currently addressed in the Public Service Amendment Bill include augmentation of the functions of the Director-General in the Presidency to include the functions envisaged by the NDP for an administrative head of the public service; powers assigned to executive authorities and heads of department. Again, an amendment to section 38 to provide an alternate mechanism for departments to lawfully deduct overpaid remuneration from an employee’s salary.

This year’s budget vote theme: “Towards an ethical, capable and developmental State – a critical look at the public service space”