Acting Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Mr TW Nxesi

VOTE 7 National School of Government

VOTE 11 Department of Public Service and Administration

VOTE 12 Public Service Commission

National Assembly of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa,

12 May 2022

  • Honorable Chairperson and members of this House.
  • Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Dr Chana Pilane-Majake.
  • Ministers and Deputy Ministers.
  • Honorable Chairperson and Members of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration.
  • Acting Chairperson and Commissioners of the Public Service Commission.  
  • Chairperson and Board of Trustees of the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS).  
  • Chairperson of the Public Sector Education & Training Authority (PSETA).  
  • Chairperson of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) National Governing Council.  
  • Heads of institutions within the portfolio of Public Service and Administration
  • Esteemed guests.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen.

On 4th April 2022, President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed me to act as Minister for the Public Service and Administration. This followed the appointment of my predecessor, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo, as Executive Director on the board of the World Bank. Allow me to extend my good wishes Ms Dlodlo on her appointment, and to thank her for providing strategic leadership to Public Service and Administration during her tenure.

The Ministry of Public Service and Administration is constituted of four entities:

  1. The Department of Public Service and Administration (Vote 11) is led by the Director-General, Ms Yoliswa Makhasi.
  2. The National School of Government (Vote 7) is led by the Principal, Prof. Busani Ngcaweni.
  3. The Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) – which generates its own income and is not covered in the budget vote, led by the Principal Officer, Dr Stan Moloabi, and
  4. The Centre for Public Service Innovation, led by the Acting Director, Ms Lydia Sebokedi.

The Public Service Commission is an independent institution, for which I shall also table its budget (vote 12), established in terms of chapter 10 of the Constitution. The PSC is currently chaired in an acting capacity by Prof. Somadoda Fikeni and administratively led by Adv. Dinkie Dube.

The Deputy Minister, Honourable Pilane-Majake, will table the budget in respect of the Centre for Public Service Innovation.

Our apex priority for this current administration – as a country and the Department – is to build a capable, ethical and developmental state. As articulated in the MTSF:

  • A capable state is one that has the required human capabilities, institutional capacity, service processes and technological platforms to deliver services to the people.
  • An ethical state is one that is driven by the constitutional values and principles of public administration and the rule of law, focused on the progressive realization of socio-economic rights and social justice as outlined in the Bill of Rights.
  • A developmental state is one that aims to meet people’s needs through interventionist, developmental, participatory public administration – leading an active citizenry through partnerships with all sectors of society.

Honorable members, this year marks 25 years since our government adopted the Batho Pele principles, championed by the first post-apartheid Minister for Public Service and Administration, the late Dr Zola Skweyiya. In his foreword to the Batho Pele White Paper, Dr Skweyiya pointed out that “the transformation of our Public Service is to be judged, rightly, by the practical difference people see in their everyday lives”. These principles remain relevant today.

The DPSA has the task of creating conditions, policies and procedures as well as norms and standards that promote a capable, ethical and development-oriented public service to strengthen service delivery.

Flowing from the 2019-2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework, the Department adopted five priority programs to realize the MTSF:

1. The revitalized implementation of Batho Pele

2. Full implementation of the Public Administration Management Act

3. Stabilising the Public Service

4. Fighting Corruption, and

5. Effective implementation of public service policies.

In relation to the effective implementation of Batho Pele, Cabinet has approved the Batho Pele Revitalisation Strategy to promote a people-focused public service.

The Public Administration Management Act (PAMA) is aimed at harmonizing all three spheres of government to ensure uniformity and synergy and its implementation will go a long way towards the realization of a capable state as envisioned by the NDP.

Central to the stabilization efforts will be the effective and efficient management of public service finances.

The fight against corruption is ongoing. Corruption and other aspects of poor governance and weak institutions have substantial adverse effects on economic growth.

Effective implementation of public policies is about service delivery. Public policy is the translation of public needs into action. We are committed to an integrated approach, which fosters partnership of all government institutions across the spheres, collaboration of institutions within the Public Service and Administration portfolio and thorough engagement of labour, civil society and business as we endeavor to improve service delivery.

All the work we do as Government relies on having a cadre of dedicated, skilled and hardworking public servants who are responsive, innovative and committed to helping realize the Government’s objectives.

Ongoing implementation of efforts to improve the performance of the public service, municipalities, and public entities requires the development of an interventions framework for government, modernizing of public administration, strengthening of government monitoring and evaluation and other systems, systematizing human resource and organizational development and Batho Pele initiatives – to ensure that the government machinery can contribute to the promise of a better life for all within the Republic of South Africa.   

Strengthening service delivery is not just a technical exercise: it is about transformation:

  • Pillar 1 of the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities refers to removing barriers to access and participation.
  • The Framework on Gender Responsive Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring, Evaluation and Auditing requires institutions to reserve specific budgets for gender matters.
  • South Africa is a party to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) – which seeks to ensure the protection of the rights of women at the workplace.

The public sector wage bill is under severe pressure due to the general constraints faced by the South African economy. This situation has been aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is becoming increasingly important to develop a new remuneration framework for the public sector, including a wage setting mechanism, to better manage the public sector wage bill and ensure a greater degree of uniformity and alignment in remuneration between the various parts of the public sector.

We convened, with unions, a timely Public Service Summit on collective bargaining on the 28-31 March 2022, where all parties engaged in a frank exchange but were able to agree on a number of areas in the final declaration in regard to resourcing, reconfiguration (allied to job security), anti-corruption, the fight against poverty unemployment and inequality, and the principle of centralized collective bargaining.

The National School of Government (NSG) has a mandate to provide or facilitate the provision of education, training and development interventions in the public sector.

The School’s five-year strategy is unfolding in a dynamic manner, coinciding with events like the COVID-19 pandemic, and harnessing the potential of a rapidly expanding digital transformation, responding to the challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, and constrained budgets.

The National School of Government has made significant strides, including the following:

  • 135,000 e-learner enrolments;
  • Rolling out flagship programs in the areas of Effective Governance; Gender and Transformation; Leadership; Induction and Policy and Regulation.
  • Hosting successful leadership development interventions, including the Economic Governance Schools, the programs on Ethical Leadership and Executive Oversight, and the Induction Programme for Boards of Public Entities and Master Classes with international speakers.

Today, I am encouraged that elected representatives and appointed officials are going back to class. In March 2021, President Ramaphosa, together with members of the executive and other officials joined a Master Class. I am encouraged that mayors and state entity board members are being inducted on ethical leadership and executive oversight. I am encouraged by the thousands of public servants, including our teachers, who are completing courses on Ethics.

Honorable Members, professionalizing public administration is one of the key imperatives for building state capacity. 

The President, in the State of the Nation Address, indicated that we are now at an advanced stage of the finalization of the Professionalisation Framework with an emphasis on pre-entry, recruitment, selection, induction, continuous learning and career progression of public servants. Indeed, I wish to assure you that the Framework has now been finalized for consideration by Cabinet. It proposes radical public sector reforms which will include:

  • More decisive action on consequence management, especially in dealing with mediocrity, unethical behavior, corrupt and criminal acts committed.
  • Instruments to undertake integrity testing before any individual joins the public sector.
  • Stabilizing the political-administrative interface across the public sector. With regard to the tenure of HoDs, we shall consider increasing the period of tenure to ten years, subject to performance.
  • Repurposing the role of the Public Service Commission for insulation of recruitment and selection practices from partisan influence and manipulation for appointment of Directors-General and their deputies.
  • Review and strengthen recognition of prior learning for use in the public sector.

The Public Service Commission remains a critical entity of the Department – committed to establishing sound and good governance in the Public Service – based on principles of accountability, participation, responsiveness to the needs of the people, transparency and the rule of law.

In relation to the goal of “development orientation”, the PSC has found that the South African planning system tends to be geared toward reporting and auditing rather than resolution of development problems – necessary to combat poverty, unemployment, and inequality.

The PSC’s 2021 State of the Public Service Report reveals a lot of variability in capacity and performance across the public service with major deficiencies in many departments existing side-by-side with pockets of strength and excellence. The Report makes proposals on the need to build institutional capability.

The PSCannually conducts announced and unannounced inspections of service delivery sites to evaluate service delivery from the perspective of citizens and identify service delivery challenges that can be addressed immediately.

The PSC participated in the Mission to Waterberg District Municipality in 2021, as part of the partnership between the United Nations and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs initiative to support the implementation of the District Development Model (DDM) – a critical program in building state capacity and ensuring improved responsiveness to community needs.

The PSC’s Citizens Forum is a distinctly South African method of engaging citizens and focuses on the delivery of a particular program at a given point. It involves the government working with citizens to propose practical measures to improve service delivery.

The PSC continued to monitor the performance of departments in terms of payment of invoices of suppliers within the 30-day timeframe stipulated in the Public Finance Management Act. Further to this, the PSC in its quest to be responsive to the needs of the citizens and ensure accountability continued to intervene in matters of unresponsiveness by public institutions to provide required services. These interventions include, for example, the SAPS Forensic Services release of a forensic analysis report to enable a grieving family to bury their loved one, the issuance of a matric certificate, and payments of the SASSA COVID-19 relief funds.

During the 2021/2022 financial year, the PSC has continued to contribute towards the improvement of sound labour relations in the Public Service through investigating grievances that could not be resolved between departments and their employees.

The PSC’s final report on the Effectiveness of Continuous Employee Development in the Public Service will assist departments to develop and/or review their training and development policies in response to the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) skills needs in order to support government operations and service delivery.

The National Anti-Corruption Hotline assists members of the public to report corruption and fraud occurring in the public service. The PSC has witnessed an increase in the level of utilization of the hotline – from 872 to 1,563in the 2021/2022 financial year – resulting in the recovery of monies fraudulently obtained and punishing of wrong-doers.

The PSC conducted an assessment of the effectiveness of the complaints management system in the Public Service.  The study found that there is no consistency in the management of complaints in the Public Service and that the monitoring and evaluation of complaints lacks vigour. The PSC has made recommendations aimed at assisting departments in this area of work.

One of the flagship projects of the PSC is the assessment of the effectiveness of government support for service delivery, with a particular focus on Information and Communication Technology as well as the accommodation of government to deliver services.

In supporting Parliament to exercise its oversight role and hold the Executive accountable, the PSC will conduct inspections in partnership with Parliament.

The PSC will contribute to the professionalization of the Public Service, continue to conduct investigations into public administration malpractices, and address the underlying causes of ineffective discipline management in the Public Service. 

The following budget has been allocated to the respective programs and entities:

The DPSA budget allocation for the 2022/23 financial year is five hundred and forty million rands (R540.3m), an increase of 1.6% from the final allocation for 2021/22. 

The DPSA programs have been allocated the following resources:

Program 1: Administration is allocated two hundred and forty-five million, two hundred thousand rands (R245.2m). 

Program 2:  Human Resource Management and Development is allocated fifty-three million, six hundred thousand rands (R53.6m).

Program 3: Negotiations, Labour Relations, and Remuneration Management is allocated one hundred and six million, nine hundred thousand rands (R106.9m) 

Program 4: e-Government Services and Information Management is allocated thirty-two million, three hundred thousand rand (R32.3m). 

Program 5: Government Service Access and Improvement which also includes the transfer payment to the Centre for Public Service Innovation (forty-four million, five hundred thousand rands (R44.5m)) is allocated one hundred and two million, three hundred thousand rands (R102.3m).

The budget of the NSG for this financial year is two hundred and twenty-eight million rand (R228m). As the NSG has to generate additional revenue for financial sustainability, the Training Trading entity has budgeted to raise income from course fees of one hundred and one million rands (R101m).

The PSC budget allocation for the 2022/23 financial year is two hundred and eighty-eight million rands (R288.4m) which is an increase of 0.8% from the final allocation for the 2021/22 financial year. 

The PSC consists of four programs:

Program 1: Administration with a budget allocated of one hundred and forty-three million rands (R143,2m).  Program 2: Leadership Management Practices is allocated forty-eight million, one hundred thousand rands (R48.1m).

Program 3: Monitoring and Evaluation is allocated a total budget of forty-one million, six hundred thousand rand (R41.6m), and

Program 4: Integrity and Anti-Corruption are allocated fifty-five million, seven hundred thousand rands (R55.7m).

In summary, our task is to change the lives of South Africans for the better through an ethical, capable and developmental public service.

I hereby table the budgets of the DPSA and its entities for 2022/23.

Thank you.