Public Service and Administration Minister, Ms Noxolo Kiviet

Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Ms. Noxolo Kiviet, has given her approval to the Directive on the Institutionalisation of the Public Service Charter. The purpose of this Directive is to institutionalise and enhance the impact of the Public Service Charter, which was officially endorsed by the Public Service Coordination Bargaining Council (PSCBC) in 2013.

Although the Public Service Charter has been applicable to the Public Service for over a decade, a review conducted during the March 2022 Public Service Summit revealed several challenges, including difficulties in assessing its impact on the conduct of public servants.

As a result, the 2022 Summit, attended by representatives from Organized Labour and the State, recognised the need to develop a comprehensive Directive to address the challenges encountered in implementing the Public Service Charter. The Directive outlines mechanisms for institutionalising the Public Service Charter and renewing the commitment of the PSCBC parties to its successful implementation across the Public Service.

“The ultimate goal of the Directive is to ensure improved service delivery to citizens. It will guide Government departments in effectively implementing the Public Service Charter,” stated Minister Kiviet.

Starting from April 1, 2024, the Directive applies to all national and provincial departments. However, its wide-ranging scope is enhanced by its incorporation of existing policies, such as the approved Batho Pele Revitalisation Strategy, the Complaints and Compliments Management Framework, the Gender Equality Strategic Framework for the Public Service, and the Employee Health and Wellness Strategic Framework for the Public Service, which are included as annexures to the Directive.

To ensure compliance, the Directive establishes the necessary institutional mechanisms for implementing the provisions of the Public Service Charter in order to achieve the desired impact. For instance, departments are required to establish cross-cutting Service Delivery Forums that, along with Departmental Bargaining Chambers, will monitor the Charter’s implementation according to the schedule outlined in the Directive.

Non-compliance with the Directive will be addressed in accordance with Section 16A of the Public Service Act, which includes disciplinary measures against the head of the department who fails to comply with its provisions and those of the Charter.

“This Directive aligns with the provisions of Section 5(6)(b) and Section 41(3) of the Public Service Act, 1994, for the proper implementation of the PSC and to clarify regulation 56 of the Public Service Regulations, 2016 (PSR),” explained Minister Kiviet.

The Directive also emphasizes the “softer” aspects of ensuring the realization of the objectives of the Public Service Charter. This includes the requirement that all public servants sign a personal pledge to uphold its provisions, as well as the importance of having the right skills for the right job in terms of culture and change management.