Acting Public Service and Administration Minister, Thulas Nxesi photographed with delegates at the AAPAM conference.

South Africa is at the forefront of promoting good governance, says Acting Public Service and Administration Minister, Mr Thulas Nxesi during his opening address Tuesday at the 41st Roundtable 3-day conference of the African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM) currently underway in Cape Town.

This AAPAM conference which is being hosted under the theme: “Africa’s Renewal in the Era of Sustainable Development: Shared Responsibility for Strengthening Institutions” intends to propose avenues for investment in sustainable development for the African continent.

Mr Nxesi said the theme correctly describes the need for Africans in the public service to have a shared responsibility in strengthening the institutions.

“South Africa is at the forefront of promoting good governance. This is exemplified by, among others, institutions such as the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Secretariat that is hosted in South Africa, which continues to encourage the adherence to standards and practices that will enhance political stability, high economic growth and accelerate continental economic integration through the sharing of experiences and reinforcement of best practices.

“South Africa will continue to play a leading role in the integration of the African continent. A united Africa will increase market efficiency and reduce the cost of doing business by offering opportunities for trade and investment in Africa,” he said.

“This conference is a good opportunity for senior officials and experts from Africa and beyond to examine and understand their role in strengthening institutions in their various countries,” he said.

Acting Minister Nxesi said the conference flags the need for collective responsibility as the driving force of developmental efforts on the continent, which he further described as a good initiative.

“Well-functioning institutions can promote growth and reduce poverty in Africa by providing a conducive environment for the implementation of the Agenda 2063 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Therefore, African countries should endeavour to establish effective, responsive, and democratic institutions that will promote accountability, transparent governance, and sustainable socio-economic development. This conference fits well with the current critical issues where public servants are all called upon to meet citizens’ demands and the need to improve their lives,” he said.

He said the efficiency and effectiveness of government to discharge its responsibility is largely dependent on the calibre of public servants.

“Indeed, it is well known that good leadership is the foundation of strengthened socio-economic transformation of any country. In this era of globalisation, we need to reshape public service leadership to manage new challenges and act as an agent of change. The strength of good leaders is derived from their ability to continually adopt models that meet the needs of their communities.

“I commend AAPAM for focusing on the need to reward public service innovations. This approach is a great contribution to nurturing the spirit of innovation. It comes as we work towards developing innovative approaches in what we think and do as a culture, our way of getting things done well. I urge AAPAM to continue with the good work of enhancing a professional public service and best practices in Africa and beyond,” Acting Minister Nxesi said.

Introducing the Acting Minister to the conference delegates, the DPSA Director-General, Ms Yoliswa Makhasi said: “The Acting Minister for Public Service and Administration is responsible for establishing norms and standards relating to the optimal functioning of the whole public service.

“Minister Nxesi capably and passionately promoted the Professionalisation Framework through the Cabinet process and is a key proponent of continuous professional development in the public service through the delivery of the identified compulsory programmes.”

She said the department plays a critical role in ensuring that the public service is run efficiently and that there is a return on investment for every public rand that is spent on salaries, benefits, and service delivery. The renewal and rebuilding programme requires strong partnerships with professional associations such as AAPAM. The Department is therefore, committed to this partnership.”

The DPSA and AAPAM have a good relationship and have jointly hosted a series of seminars over the last five years. The annual seminars have always created a platform for all to share and exchange knowledge and discuss cross-cutting areas. South Africa continues to host such seminars and workshops to enhance regional and continental integration and help realize the achievement of the two global goals that is the SDGs and AU Agenda 2063.