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

Public Service and Administration Acting Minister, Mr Thulas Nxesi yesterday in Cape Town at a press briefing released the National Professionalisation Framework that seek to ensure that public servants have the right qualifications, technical skills and be properly inducted into Batho Pele principles.

The National Professionalisation Framework was approved by Cabinet last week.

Acting Minister Nxesi said building state capacity towards a capable, ethical and developmental state remains the foremost priority of the 6th administration.

“The professionalisation framework takes a public sector wide approach as we work towards a single public administration that applies to the national, provincial and local government, as well as State-Owned Entities (SOEs) and seeks to ensure that only qualified and competent individuals are appointed into positions of authority in pursuit of a transformed, professional, ethical, capable and developmental public administration.

“Public officials should have the right qualifications, technical skills, and be properly inducted into Batho Pele principles,” he said.

The framework aims to achieve the following:

The tightening of pre-entry requirements as well as effective recruitment and selection processes that inform meritocratic appointments at middle and senior management levels.
Undertaking workplace orientation and induction programmes that promote a healthy organisational culture.

Effective planning, performance management and appraisal systems, including performance standards and assessment instruments for different categories of employees.

Performance management can also be aligned with professional body or association registration.

Public servants undertaking continuous learning and professional development. This will include, as well, the professionalisation of certain categories of occupations in the public sector.

Managing the career progression and career incidents of public servants and heads of department.

Conditions of appointment of Directors-General and Heads of Departments.

To stabilise the political-administrative interface challenges experienced, Mr Nxesi said Cabinet has resolved that the Director-General in the Presidency, Ms Phindile Baleni will be designated as Head of Public Administration (HOPA).

In the provinces, he said this function will be designated to the Directors-General in the Office of the Premier.

“The HOPA will assist the President and Premiers in the management of career incidents of Heads of Departments and serve as a mediation mechanism in order to stabilise the political-administration interface.

“This is part of overall efforts to improve the retention of HODs and create stability at the HOD level, with the objective of improving capacity of government to deliver on public services.

Cabinet has therefore resolved that the tenure of Heads of Department be increased to ten (10) years, subject to rigorous processes for recruitment, selection, training and development, performance management and reviews, and consequence management for non-compliance,” he said.

Acting Minister Nxesi said this is aimed at ensuring administrative stability in public sector institutions which is critical to service delivery.

With regard to the performance assessments of Directors-General and Heads of Department, Cabinet resolved that the Public Service Commission (PSC) should play a role in performance evaluation of all HODs to strengthen objectivity and introduce a comprehensive approach that should link the performance of the individual to that of the institution they lead.

A revised performance management framework for HODs will be presented by the Minister of Public Service and Administration (MPSA) to Cabinet by end of November this year. He further said the MPSA will issue guidelines on the implementation of the decision.

Pre-entry, recruitment and selection

According to Minister Nxesi, the pre-entry to senior management course (Nyukela) will be extended to employees in the Defence Services, State Security, Police and Correctional Services, Local Government, and Boards of SOEs.

“The Nyukela course will also be extended to middle managers in the public sector including staff appointed into political office such as Special Advisors. Executive Authorities will remain responsible for the recruitment of the HoDs, DGs and DDGs,” he said.

The PSC will develop a database consisting of a pool of experts where the Executive Authorities (EAs) and Municipal Councils will source out experts with relevant technical expertise and knowledge of the sector, department or institution to form part of their selection panels.

This, according to the Minister will enable the EA and Municipal Councils to run a rigorous selection and recruitment process supported by experts who can technically assess the suitability of the shortlisted candidates.

Recruitment will include the formalisation of integrity assessments as mandatory and tightening occupation-based competency assessments and pre-service entry exams for entry into the public sector.

The release of the framework coincides with the response by President Cyril Ramaphosa to the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud.