Public Service and Administration Minister, Ms Noxolo Kiviet.

The Minister for the Public Service and Administration (MPSA), Ms Noxolo Kiviet, addressed over 300 public servants in KwaZulu-Natal provincial administration on Friday, 5 April 2024. She touched on issues ranging from the unfolding Public Sector reforms to the professionalisation of the Public Service.

The second of a series of meetings aimed at engaging with government employees directly, Minister Kiviet explained that while the MPSA regularly communicates with the citizens, the media and oversight bodies, there has been little or non-existent direct engagement with the public servants themselves, who are critical in carrying out government programmes.

“I have only been in the position for just over one year and one month, as I was appointed on 6 March 2023. Through this period, we have attained many achievements, which we continue to share with the public, the media, and other oversight bodies like Parliament. However, we have realised that we never share directly with public servants and never listen to how you think we can implement these many reforms designed to change the system and the lives of South Africans,” said Minister Kiviet.

At the meeting, the Minister discussed achievements under her leadership, including issuing revised Public Sector Regulations, the Professionalisation Directive, and the appointment of Ethics Officers. Additionally, she said that the government is piloting a mentorship and coaching programme for young South Africans and enhancing pre-employment processes to ensure the employment of ethical and competent public servants.

Minister Kiviet also took the opportunity to explain the implications of the Public Administration Management Act on the broader reforms of the Public Sector, which covers government entities and municipalities. The Minister said the National Framework Towards the Professionalisation Public Service, which the Cabinet has approved, offers an opportunity for “total public sector reforms” to ensure integration across the three spheres of government and the Public Sector.

“Public Servants are the best ambassadors that we have for government and the work that we do. It is, therefore, important that we provide you with the full information on all reforms we are undertaking,” said Minister Kiviet.

On the legislative reforms that pertain to the Public Sector, the Minister highlighted the adoption of the Public Service Amendment and Public Administration Amendment Bills by the National Assembly, explaining their objectives as follows:

  • Administrative powers are assigned to heads of departments, and the strategic powers of executive authorities are augmented to improve accountability.
  • The designation of the Director-General in the Presidency as Head of Public Service (HOPS) to improve inter-governmental coordination and provide presidential support on managing the political dichotomy.
  • Prohibiting heads of departments and their direct reports from holding positions of authority in political parties.

“If we work together, I  believe we will achieve the initiatives to ensure that public service lives up to the Constitutional injunction and support all South Africans in realising their potential,” said Minister Kiviet.