Speaking at the post-budget vote stakeholder engagement session in Pretoria yesterday, the Minister for Public Service and Administration, Ms Noxolo Kiviet, called on stakeholders to draw inspiration from Africa Day, celebrated annually on the 25th of May.
The 2023 Africa Day marks 60 years since the African Union (AU) was founded, previously the Organisation for African Unity (OAU). Africa Day symbolises the dream of a unified and prosperous Africa that continues to inspire current and future generations, said Minister Kiviet.
Minister Kiviet said that the challenges that the Public Service and all stakeholders draw strength from “the power of perseverance, sacrifice and dedication that made it possible for the founders of the AU to overcome even the biggest challenges”.
According to the Minister, one of the priority goals of the 6th Administration is building a capable, ethical and developmental public service, which is crucial to tackling the many challenges that South African continue to face daily. However, she explained that building a capable state is a multi-faceted, multi-dynamic and multi-disciplinary process in which all have a role, not just the Government.
“It is a noble agenda that requires partnerships across society. These would include civil society organisations, organised labour, media, research and academic institutions, and religious bodies.
“Whilst we are mindful of our leadership role as Government, we are equally cognisant of the fact that for us to deliver goods and services effectively and timeously, we need to act in partnership and unison with yourselves,” the Minister said.
Minister Kiviet outlined several areas of further engagement based on the 2023/24 Budget Vote for the public service and administration portfolio. She highlighted the need for stakeholder support in the implementation of the National Framework Towards the Professionalisation of the Public Sector, which she said sets out the basis for partnerships, collaboration, and integration of both state and non-state partners.
Specifically addressing stakeholders from the labour sector, Minister Kiviet said the ratio between the Public Service budget and the wage bill remains a matter of concern. In some cases, as much as 80% of departmental budgets go toward salaries while only 20% goes to the actual delivery of goods and services.
“We all need to strike a balance between financial resources dedicated to the wage bill and the funding for service delivery programmes. We are equally mindful of sustaining a healthy fiscus for the country. Therefore, it is crucial that we work closely with organised labour to appropriately manage the public sector wage bill,” said the Minister.
Minister Kiviet committed to further engagement with all stakeholders on the wage bill and other ideas that could contribute to building a capable public service.