Public Service and Administration Director-General, Ms Yoliswa Makhasi

The framework to professionalise the public service requires that only qualified and competent individuals are appointed to strategic position in pursuit of a transformed, professional, ethical, capable and developmental public administration.

These were the views of Public Service and Administration Director-General, Ms Yoliswa Makhasi when delivering her keynote address at the Association of Southern African Schools and Departments of Public Administration and Management (ASSADPAM) Conference held in Durban recently.

“Accountability should go hand in hand with the productivity of the state in that, rules are supposed not to be and end in themselves, but in pursuit of a higher objective. This is the reason why the Professionalisation Framework takes a public sector wide approach as we work towards a single public administration that applies to the national, provincial, local government and (State Owned Entities (SOEs).

“It has as its main objective the need 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 inducted into Batho Pele principles,” she 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 are linked to on-boarding and mainstreamed as an intervention for organisational socialisation;
  • 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/association registration;
  • Public servants returning to the simulator by undertaking continuous learning and professional development. This will include, as well, the professionalisation of certain categories of occupations in the public sector; and
  • Managing the career progression and career incidents of public servants and heads of department respectively.

“The full implementation of these interventions are at the core of the questions that you asked us to respond to today. It is therefore, important that ASSADPAM be at the forefront of deconstructing the so-called misnomer of South Africa having good but un-implementable policies. I call it a misnomer as I believe that if a policy is good, it should be implementable,” she said.

“We, therefore, have to ensure that performance is measured against pre-determined indicators and is guided by a few non-negotiable principles,” said DG Makhasi.

She further invited the association to partner with the DPSA as they embark on the following:

  • Developing measures to provide principled leadership and making the tough decisions that may be required to deliver on our mandate especially towards 2030;
  • Strengthening our ability to co-operate across the three levels of government and work as a single delivery machine in pursuit of the Single Public Administration;
  • Building partnerships between government, academia and civil society so that we work together to achieve our goal of an ethical, capable and developmental state to deliver a better life for all;
  • Develop a skilled and well-motivated public service that is proud of what it does and receives full recognition for delivering better quality services;
  • Initiate and sustain partnerships across Africa for a better continent; and
  • Recognize that there will always be limited funding and resources and yet be willing to commit to doing more with less and doing it on time.

“We pledge to be completely transparent and we will tell the truth no matter how unpalatable and build on what we have achieved. The path of development we have chosen for South Africa is a long term project that will require that we journey together,” she said.

Recently, Cabinet approved the National Implementation Framework towards the professionalisation of the public service. The framework is in line with the commitment made by the sixth administration to create a capable, ethical and developmental public service.