Appropriation Bill : Debate on Vote No 8 - Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy, Palama, Vote No 9 - Public Service and Administration, and Vote No 10 - Public Service Commission
TUESDAY, 30 JUNE 2009
PROCEEDINGS OF EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in the Old Assembly Chamber at 10:07.
House Chairperson Ms M N Oliphant, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
Debate on Vote No 8 - Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy, Palama, Vote No 9 - Public Service and Administration, and Vote No 10 - Public Service Commission:
The MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION: Hon Chairperson, hon members of the House, Cabinet colleagues, hon chairperson and members of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, the portfolio leadership in the Ministry of Public Service and Administration, the leadership of our trade union movement present here, the hon Minister for Public Functions from the Democratic Republic of Congo Minister Botoro Bodias, our distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is always expected that when we have debates of this kind, we should also reflect on figures in terms of rands and cents.
For our combined budget of R596 million, the year-to-date expenditure is 16%, 13%, and 25% for DPSA, Palama and PSC respectively, which gives us the end-of-year projection of 96%. The message from this is that we are therefore sure that we will spend our budget by the end of the financial year.
We are on a journey for good governance and effective service delivery to consolidate our long-held view of realising a developmental state in a proudly South African style, responsive to the needs of our people. Our main focus is to ensure the realisation of a long-held desire of creating a better life for all South Africans, for a better Africa and for a prosperous world. We have been on this journey for the past decade and a half, and on this journey we have achieved more of the things we set ourselves to do and, of course, we have plans to continue to do more.
The Public Service is our guiding map on this journey of rebuilding our country, our Africa and our world. We have since learnt that public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be complete dedication to the people and to the nation, with the full recognition that every human being is entitled to courtesy.
As we will elucidate later in terms of details as to the footprints of our service delivery records, we want to state upfront that we acquitted ourselves well - close to the realisation of the goals we set for ourselves, given that we operate and operated in an environment polluted over many years of apartheid rule that ran an agenda of a fragmented public service, whose main mandate was to implement the oppressive policies of that evil system.
I cannot help but agree with Professor Sangweni, who recited his poem “Our Journey” at his farewell function a few days ago, when he said:
I cast my eyes to from where we have come,
I stand amazed at what we have done,
So little did we know,
The bright legacy that we would grow.
A few days ago, as part of Africa Public Service Day, we celebrated our achievements as a nation over the past 15 years of democracy in our country. It was an exciting moment to note that more has been done, and, importantly, that we committed ourselves confidently that we have plans to take the process of service delivery forward.
Even today, we will account to the nation through this august House in terms of effective governance and service delivery, and we say to Parliament: Hold us accountable for the issues we commit ourselves to doing today.
You may agree with me, Chairperson, that it was not a simple task for us, but we championed our course nonetheless. We can take a cue from this in that, sharing with his fellow commissioners at his farewell function a few days ago and in his poem “Our journey”, Professor Sangweni said the following:
Our path was one of strife,
A common goal we had to drive,
Expectations of us were high
From our vision we did not shy.
The question we have is what the secrets are that account for the implementation of programmes we set for ourselves as a nation. The answer to this question lies in the Xitsonga idiomatic expression, which goes: “Ximinta ntsengele xi tshembe nkolo.” [Whatever you do, whether good or bad, you should be able to bear the consequences thereof.]
A few days ago, as part of Africa Public Service Day, we celebrated and acknowledged the critical and sterling role public servants in this country have played – and continue to play – in the transformation, reconstruction and development of the country and the Public Service. We also paid homage to the significant role of an effective and efficient Public Service in building our society and the economy. We must remember that democracy and successful governance are built on the foundation of a competent civil service.
We have gone a long way in addressing the social needs of our people by providing decent shelter, water, electricity, health care facilities, schools, social security services, houses, roads infrastructure - the list is long. But more still needs to be done, and we have plans to do more.
We would not have done these things and we would not do more if we did not have responsive, dedicated and committed public servants who are motivated, willing and capable of carrying out our developmental mandate.
Our public servants share experience as they pull along together as they champion the course for effective service delivery. We say in Xitsonga:
“Ti tlhomana mincila ti korhokela tiko. Hikwalaho hi vulaka leswaku loko hi ku ximita ntsengele xi tshemba nkolo, hi vula leswaku mfumo wa humelela eka pfhumba ra wona hikokwalaho ka vatirhela-mfumo. Ntsengele a yi nga ta swi kota ku tlimba minkolo ya mfumo loko vatirhela-mfumo va tirha hi ku hetiseka.”(Translation of Xitsonga paragraph follows.)
[They jerk up one another to deliver services to the nation. That is why we are saying that whatever you do, whether good or bad, you should be able to face the consequences, and we mean that the government is successful in its initiative through the effort of the public servants. There won’t be any major stumbling blocks on the part of the government if the public servants are performing their tasks effectively and efficiently.]
We will not fail to deliver the quality services that we identified for ourselves if our public servants are ready to internalise their obligation to implement, to the best of their abilities, the policies of the government.
Today we can safely pronounce that over the past 15 years, working together with our people and supported by our public servants, we have firmly laid the building blocks for service delivery, and we march along the path of service delivery for all.
In punctuating our record of service delivery and rolling out our future plans for effective governance today, we will focus on the work of the Department of Public Service and Administration; the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy, commonly known as Palama; the Centre for Public Service Innovation; the State Information Technology Agency, commonly known as Sita; the Public Service Commission; the Government Employees Medical Scheme; and the Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority.
I will mirror this punctuated work in seven areas of focus, namely: policy-making, capacity-building, quality service delivery, improvement of conditions of service, partnership for participative governance, further transformation of the Public Service, and international participation.
For 15 years, our government has set policies that are meant to strengthen the state to be in a position to deliver in terms of our mandate, thus we have policy documents for dealing with all line-function activities of the government, with a view to promote the following basic values and principles of our administration, applicable in all three spheres of our government, organs of state and public entities.
These values are the following: promoting a high standard of professionalism; promoting efficient, effective and economic use of resources; ensuring a development-oriented Public Service; ensuring that services are provided impartially, fairly, equitably and without bias; building a responsive and participatory Public Service; promoting an accountable public administration; and promoting an inclusive Public Service, denoting a sound demographic reflection.
Subsequently, further policy documents and enabling legislation were developed to give effect to these constitutional provisions, such as the promulgation of the Public Finance Management Act, applicable at provincial and national government level, as well as the Local Government: Municipal Finance Management Act. These pieces of legislation replace the apartheid-drawn Exchequer and Audit Act, and they provide uniform legislative instruments to ensure the sound management of financial resources of our government. Of course, these pieces of legislation marked the introduction of the intervention to improve financial management.
A priority for us going forward on this journey of sound financial management is to ensure that all public servants come to terms with the provisions of these pieces of legislation, and the instrument of measure for the realisation of this priority is government departments reflecting no qualifications when they are audited.
Through Palama and other interventions, such as those recently announced by the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, we have programmes meant to respond to this situation as part of tailor-made courses available for our public servants across the spheres. It is necessary to indicate that the compulsory performance agreements that each public servant should have, will, where applicable, include an item on financial management.
In order to implement the constitutional provision for providing services impartially, fairly, equitably and without bias, and also to be accountable and participative, we introduced a policy document for effective service delivery, called Batho Pele, simply meaning putting people first.
After 15 years now, we know that the challenges we face in dealing with policy matters are in their implementation, and our plan to respond to these challenges is to make an effort to understand the nature of difficulties in the implementation process.
The Public Service Commission has conducted a lot of investigations as to the compliance profile of government departments, and in subsequent reports, the commission pointed at certain observations that departments should do and they put them forward as recommendations.
The Batho Pele policy is no exception to this reality. Unfortunately, some departments do not comply with the recommendations of the PSC. It is time that we enter into an agreement that enforces compliance. This we can achieve if we attach a timeframe for the response to the commission’s report. And I believe that hon members here will internalise that as their responsibility to ensure that when the Public Service Commission produces and submits the report to Parliament, that the report is implemented in terms of the recommendations.
We will engage in a multistakeholder arrangement on this matter of compliance with policy. This will include an assessment on the state of implementability of the policies, and we will report progress by the end of the current financial year.
Palama’s massified induction programme makes an effort to orientate the new entrants into our Public Service, so that they understand the culture of our Public Service right from the beginning. The massified induction programme is offered in all 11 official languages, as well as Braille. So far, some 22 500 new public servants have been trained and this is 75% of our target.
In our effort to deal with issues related to strengthening the capacity of the state to deliver in terms of its constitutional and electoral mandate, our recruitment so far focuses on getting those public servants who have the necessary professional requirements for appointment. We read from the year-to-year State of the Public Service report that, at least at senior management level, we have public servants who have an average of two senior degrees. This is commendable. This state of capacity should be reflected in the actual programme of service delivery, but I’m not sure whether this is always the case.
Through its training interventions, Palama also contributes towards further deepening the capacity of our public servants to respond with equal strength to the service delivery challenges. If we couple this with the innovations that the Centre for Public Service Innovations determines from time to time, we may say that we have a well-arranged Public Service capable of delivering in terms of the mandate for a developmental state. In terms of the Skills Development Act, the Public Services Sector Education and Training Authority is firmly in charge of providing skills development interventions.
But our experience of 15 years indicates to us that we should not be complacent, hence our move to identify as a priority the issue of capacity-building, and on this score we will reflect on progress in this matter during the current financial year.
In that reflection, we will pay attention to exactly what constitutes the required merit in our Public Service, but we will not be limited to this. Is it the issue of the chains of degrees that public servants have? Is it the issue of the level of exposure on democratic governance situations? Is it the issue of which institutions our public servants have received their qualifications from? Is it the level of consciousness on the broad objectives of the government of the day? Is it all about a sense of patriotism? To me, it is a combination of so many factors and all these questions are relevant. By the end of the current financial year, the Department of the Public Service and Administration will have further sharpened the recruitment tool that will include all the necessary factors to be considered.
We will also continue with the further transformation of Palama to be positioned to deal with management capacity development in such a manner that we will be assured of the best and relevant interventions ever. In this regard, we will finalise the work started by my predecessor by November this year.
Whereas there is a need to inject new life into our Public Service, with the expectation that such a move would also boost the capacity to deliver, we have identified some barriers to entry into the Public Service, more especially when it comes to those graduates who come from tertiary institutions and do not have the necessary experience that is called for whenever recruitment is done.
We introduced the internship programme to provide space for the graduates to gain some experience in the Public Service. The priority in this regard is the effective management of the programme. The other barrier to entry into the Public Service comes into play when we have graduates who, some people say, are not employable as they do not have the key subjects necessary for consideration. We are proud to announce today that Palama has developed a training programme intended to respond to remove these barriers through a top-up programme to enhance the employment potential of these graduates.
When it comes to quality service delivery, the Batho Pele policy is instructive. And, I believe, hon members are aware of the eight principles of this policy. Our record of 15 years of service delivery is at the core of our central message that together we have done more, and that together we still have to do more.
It has always been a contract between the government and the people in dealing with issues of service delivery. Through izimbizo, we managed to have the executive interact with the citizens and give them feedback on government performance. The issue we identified as a priority was that of our having a detailed follow-up programme on all issues raised at the izimbizo, irrespective of which executive authority had such a peoples’ forum.
Before I was appointed a Minister, I used to complain that there was no effective follow up on what the people raise at the izimbizo. I also complained that Members of Parliament were not taken on board when Ministers conducted their gatherings. What I can say today is that we have expanded the scope of an official who deals with executive support to the Minister in order for him or her to be in charge of the public participation follow-up programme, and the parliamentary liaison officer’s scope is also expanded to include follow-up on issues raised in Parliament as well as in Parliament’s public-participation programmes such as the People’s Assemblies and the NCOP programme of taking Parliament to the people.
We have improved the accessibility of services to the people through the establishment of the Thusong centres, which we earlier called multipurpose community centres. In this arrangement, we provide accessibility to services through co-ordination of structures.
Our plan this year is to further strengthen the effectiveness of these Thusong centres by ensuring Internet connectivity. The State Information Technology Agency, Sita, runs a programme to accelerate this service. With this connectivity, citizens will be guaranteed access to information at the click of a button.
Our plan is to ensure that all existing Thusong centres are connected to Internet facilities by the end of the financial year, and that, going forward, there is co-ordinated planning to ensure that each Thusong centre is connected as it is established.
We took the position to improve governance and service delivery through the use of Internet technology, hence the projects e-government and e-cabinet, and so on. Once concluded, these interventions will further strengthen our use of technology. We will communicate our plans on Sita’s accelerated turnaround strategy on these programmes by the end of July 2009.
The community development worker programme is a critical intervention that bonds government and the people together. Since inception, we have realised instances in which these foot soldiers of service delivery live up to what is expected of them and soil their hands to unblock obstacles to service delivery. Of course, the programme is vulnerable. There are guidelines for running this programme, but each province has its own arrangement in the location and utilisation of the CDW programme. This, unfortunately, compromises the programme, because, in some instances, the CDWs are used for running the personal programmes of their masters at the expense of what the programme commands them to do. Working together with the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, we have a turnaround plan to attend to this challenge.
The good record of service delivery does not lend us to complacency. We continue to identify areas of improvement in order to maintain our standards, and to develop plans to introduce new ways of doing things so that we maintain the standard of providing service delivery at the same level of public expectation.
We have identified corruption and conflicts of interest as some of the obstacles to quality service delivery. This happens in a situation in which we have created instruments to deal with these tendencies. We have a national anticorruption strategy in our Public Service and we have created a national anticorruption forum, constituted by representatives of government, business and broader civil society formations. So far we have held three anticorruption summits at which we took resolutions to the effect that corruption had to be confronted head-on.
This development comes into effect to bolster such other measures as the Anti-Corruption Act, the Protected Disclosures Act and other instruments. By the end of the current financial year, we will assess the impact of corruption on our Public Service as well as the effectiveness of the interventions we have so far introduced.
Our code of conduct for public servants requires that they declare their interests in business operations, but from time to time we receive reports of conduct outside this prescription. The currently released AG’s report attests to this. We will soon address the nation on that aspect. [Applause.]
With regard to the collective bargaining processes, we have managed to produce an agreement through the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council, in terms of Resolution 1 of 2007, that seeks to effect serious changes in the conditions of service of our public servants, including the introduction of occupation-specific dispensations. This is a four-year resolution, at the end of which we are going to assess the impact thereof and decide whether to deal further with any remaining matter.
Over the past 15 years we have managed the relationship between labour and ourselves, as the employer – a caring employer, of course - in such a manner that reasonable stability has been realised in our Public Service, save for what happened in 2007. We have so far conducted a survey on the 2007 strike and we continue to build bridges informed by the lessons we learnt, the hard way of course, during that strike.
We are now piloting an arrangement in which we restructure our negotiation formations, and we will soon introduce a dispensation in which we are going to synchronise the salary negotiations with the government’s budget cycle.
We are confident that we are on course to rebuild the trust seemingly lost between us and organised labour. A test case is in the way we manage negotiations to conclude bargaining processes on the implementation of occupation-specific dispensations. We set deadlines together.
By the way, today is the deadline for resolving the disputes in finalising the tabling and signing of the agreements. After this weekend, we will have analysed the report from the bargaining chambers and we will address the nation on the final position by next week. [Applause.] Suffice to say, though, that the latest report – latest as of this morning at 09:55 - on the negotiations is positive that today’s deadline will deliver positive results in all categories of professionals, including the health sector. [Applause.]
Soon after that we will also come together to reflect on the approach and the deadline to deal with negotiations related to salaries. I can assure the House that we are not going to have long drawn out bargaining interventions. We will conclude a time-bound programme soon, and communicate to the nation in this regard. The renewed relationship between us and organised labour is further reflected in the agreement to jointly host a Public Sector summit before December this year.
Our Public Service is dynamic and alive to respond to the changing environment, and we can only call on South Africans to appreciate this as it is meant to position the Public Service to deliver quality services for a better life for all the people. The debate on a single Public Service is not dead. By the end of this financial year, we will have tabled a Bill to finally close the debate.
A a hi kokeni hi joko rin’we, swi ta tshamiseka. Ntwanano i matimba! [Let us work together, everything will fall into place. Unity is strength!]
Over the past 15 years, South Africa has reclaimed its place as part of the equal nations of the continent and the world. As we debate here today, the heads of states of the African Union are gathered in Libya to assess, among other things, two countries in terms of the African Peer-Review Mechanism.
As a member state of the AU that acceded to the APRM, we are participating with full status, proudly content with the fact that we went through the peer-review process ourselves and have already submitted our first report of implementing the programme of action that we developed after the review process. Our Deputy Minister is representing us in Libya today as we debate these issues here – because we are the focal point of the country in dealing with APRM issues.
We also participate in several co-operation plans with countries all over the world. We have projects in the DRC through which we implement the policies and decisions of our government. President Zuma made a commitment that we should continue to participate in post-conflict resolution programmes on the continent and in the world. The DRC project is one of them, and we are going to discuss it with Minister Botoro Bodias from the DRC today.
In conclusion, allow me to repeat once again what Professor Sangweni told his colleagues a few days ago at his farewell function through his poem, “Our journey”, when he said:
I cast my eyes to from where we have come,
I stand amazed at what we have done,
So little did we know,
The bright legacy that we would grow.
The journey of Public Service is not my journey alone. It is not his journey. It is not her journey. It is our journey. I ndlopfu ya hina! Inkomu! [We are in this thing together! Thank you.] [Applause.]
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA: Hon Speaker, Cabinet Ministers present, Deputy Minister in absentia, Deputy Ministers present, hon members and guests, on our accession to power in 1994, the ANC inherited a society marked by deep social and economic inequalities, as well as serious racial, political and social divisions.
The former apartheid public service in South Africa failed to live up to what should have been its essential mission and purpose – that of serving the people. The system of service provision that developed historically was both discriminatory and exclusionary, and was based largely on the assumption that communities were passive recipients rather than active participants in the limited services that were provided.
The notion that the public service could or should play an important developmental role did not enter into the apartheid dictionary at all. The purpose of state officials then was to administer, control and, at best, to hand down services, not to work closely with communities in ways that may have enabled them to take control of their own development and empowerment. What I am trying to say is that we come from far; we have really come a long way.
We recall vividly when the public service was a controlled instrument against the mainstream population. It became highly totalitarian, centralised and rule-bound in its operation. The public service then was characterised, in particular, by the development of a vertical top-down management structure in which the lower levels were hardly consulted, and the public service did not account to the masses it was supposed to serve. In any case, it largely served the minorities.
It is in view of this fact that transformation of the South African public service became a pressing priority for government following the transition to democratic rule in 1994. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the fact that the Public Service is the key institution through which government interfaces with the public to deliver services. Therefore it was found necessary to transform the public service in such a manner that it could be oriented towards the vision, values and principles of a new democratic dispensation.
Guided by the principles of national reconciliation, the then new government, as the hon Speaker and members would recall, adopted the Reconstruction and Development Programme as the main policy instrument to reorient and reunite the Public Service in a common purpose in order to overcome many of the political, social and economic problems of the past and to ensure the transition to the new democratic, nonracial, nonsexist, united and prosperous South Africa.
Fifteen years down the line, the South African state and society have not been democratised to the extent that we have laid down our goal. Yes, quite a lot has changed, but we haven’t reached the extent to which we have laid down our goal. In forging to the front with the process of democratisation and societal renewal, the South African Public Service was assigned a most important role to play.
To fulfil this role effectively, the Public Service needed to liberate itself from its colonial apartheid past and to be transformed into a much more coherent, representative, competent and democratic instrument for executing government policies and meeting the basic needs of all the people.
The government’s commitment to this process is unequivocally demonstrated in the fact that an administrative transformation is identified as one of its top strategic priorities to enable it to translate the manifesto along with education, health, housing and rural development.
The President, in his state of the nation address, committed the government to speeding up the establishment of a single Public Service. This task will ensure that all spheres of local, provincial and national government do better when it comes to delivering service to the public. A seamless Public Service that is faithful to the Constitution and loyal to the government of the day is key to the success of our democratic order.
The makeover of the Public Service is a multifaceted and potentially contentious process. We understand that it is also being undertaken in a context in which other administration policies are likely to have a momentous impact on the single Public Service initiative.
To this end, we must open up our system of government, through the Constitution’s imperatives, in order to allow our people, both inside and outside government, to participate in this policy-making process. That’s democratic inclusivity: working together we can do more.
We have crafted a Bill of Rights that guarantees protection for our people against exclusive government, but, more so, to grant some positive rights that each and everyone is entitled to, based on the fact that they are people and they must come first. The Minister spoke about Batho Pele. That’s where this concept of putting people first comes from.
Re le batho, re le setjhaba, re le mmuso ona wa batho re tseba hantle haholo hore se leng bohlokwa ke hore batho ba be ka pele. Ke kahoo re buang ka Batho Pele. (Translation of Sesotho paragraph follows.)
[As the people, as the nation, as the government of the people we know very well that what is important is that people should be put first. That is why we talk about Batho Pele.]
That’s where that concept comes from.
In the final instance, we have created courts that can deliver judgment on whether or not we keep to the consultative nature of decision-making and they can demand that administrative action be rectified if it’s not.
To avoid such an eventuality in the bigger scheme of state and society, as created by the Constitution, the public administration must form the integral part of the agenda of transformation of South African society within a unitary state.
By now we are fully aware of the fact that the call for a more interactive government is long overdue and that we have to introduce this new administrative framework to avoid a deepening fragmentation of state and to give explicit expression to the notion of a solitary Public Service. I’ m sure now we are in agreement.
The key developmental underpinnings of the single Public Service framework should aim at change-management strategies to unify our country under a common culture of Africanness; that is ubuntu. We believe that Africanness should be central. The strategic thrust of this initiative of intergovernmental relations and co-operative government is aimed at achieving more coherent and integrated planning, budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
There is irrefutable evidence in the country that our Public Service should assume an African ideological outlook based on the value system that distinguishes it from that of a more Western or eurocentric approach. We must be proud of an African organisational behaviour, based on ubuntu, that others will hanker to imitate and embrace in their own management style and bureaucracies.
In terms of research carried out in 1995 entitled: “Towards a Theory of Afrocentric Organisations”, it was found that the afrocentric organisation is based on the philosophical orientation of harmony, spiritual and humanistic people-orientated principles, with basic administration elements that include support for all members, a communal management style and prioritising people over profit.
I should emphasise that it was along these lines that when the President gave his state of the nation address he also declared Nelson Mandela Day. The nature of Mandela harnesses this kind of spirit so that on Mandela Day we are definitely going to act as selfless cadres, as people who are oriented towards delivering services to our people with distinction. This distinctiveness contrasts sharply with the eurocentric organisation model that tends to embrace materialism, hierarchical control, bottom-line profits and antagonism, aspects which are not part of our agenda.
The Public Service has undergone various transformation processes since the advent of democratic rule in 1994. As an institution entrusted with the mandate, among other things, to promote the values and principles of public administration enshrined in chapter 10 of the Constitution, the Public Service Commission has, throughout the period, provided insightful reports on the progress of transformation. Other than promoting sound values and principles of public administration, the PSC had to propose measures to ensure effective and efficient performance in the Public Service.
The mandate requires the Public Service Commission to be bold and courageous in confronting the challenge of community dissatisfaction owing to poor service delivery, something which has quite often led to protests. We can all attest to this as there have been many protests. So this factor plays a role. The PSC has to continually expose a lot of maladministration and practices that are corrupt in order to restore public confidence in the government’s ability to deliver. However, perpetual reports and recommendations alone will not translate into a professional work ethic and commitment amongst public servants.
These perceptions may not always be supported by the actual experiences of the public, but their potential impact on social cohesion and nation-building should not be underestimated. The Public Service Commission, in its latest report on the state of the Public Service released in 2008, makes a vital observation by recognising that there are areas of progress, such as the establishment of various legal frameworks, policies and programmes that guide good governance.
However, the report points out that the Public Service needs to deepen the implementation of its programmes in such a manner that they can impact effectively on the wellbeing of citizens. An important consideration in this regard is to focus on aspects of public administration that are important areas for deepening growth and democracy.
At the beginning of the fourth term of democracy, there is general agreement that the key policy frameworks for transformation have been put in place. An essential follow-up step is to secure the democratic gains made to accelerate change.
The strong partnership dimension characteristic of South Africa’s fight against the spread of corruption must continue with vigour during this period. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms A M DREYER: Chairperson, in the West Rand, in my constituency of Mogale City, gravel roads wind through several townships such as Ga-Mogale outside the village of Magaliesburg and Manziville next to Krugersdorp. At any time of the day in most of these townships, including the neighbouring Diepkloof, jobless residents with plastic bottles and buckets are forming long queues to get some water from those green plastic tanks. Everywhere the lack of service delivery is evident. This situation repeats itself hundreds of times in all constituencies. Despite admirable intentions, the Public Service in municipal, provincial and national spheres is often not fulfilling its basic duties to citizens. [Interjections.]
“Daar is ‘n Afrikaanse uitdrukking wat sê: myle lê tussen doen en sê.” [There is an Afrikaans expression which goes: Saying is one thing and doing is another.]
Let us therefore briefly test the goals of the Department of Public Service and Administration against the actual situation, firstly, in the field of human resource management, secondly, in honest government and, thirdly, in quality service delivery. The department has a mandate to establish norms and standards for human resource management, with key deliverables identified as developing the human resource capacity of the public sector. However, many heads of departments and senior managers simply do not sign and file their key performance agreements on time, or at all. This makes it impossible for the executive – the Minister there – to hold them to account.
In addition, high levels of vacancies across the Public Service already pose a problem, but the fact that the number of vacancies is in dispute exacerbates the problem. The reason for the dispute is that while departments report 30 000 vacancies, the Persal electronic personnel management system for the Public Service reflects 55 000 vacancies. This variance, due to poor record-keeping and outdated data on Persal, is part of the management problem.
Moreover, it takes about 15 months to fill these vacancies, and even longer at senior level; a process about which the Public Service Commission has expressed its concern.
“Inderdaad, myle lê tussen doen en sê.” [Indeed, saying is one thing and doing is another.]
The department also has another mandate, namely for honest government. For example, programme 6, known as Governance, identifies, among others, the implementation of a conflict of interest framework and anticorruption training. The Minister has talked about this. The department has also developed minimum anticorruption guidelines and has incorporated these into Public Service regulations to enforce compliance.
While the DA welcomes the anticorruption regulations, measures and training, it is unclear why this programme, called Governance, receives only 12% of the department’s budget, with a fraction of that for actually combating corruption. In contrast with the Department of Public Service and Administration itself, many other departments receive qualified audit reports year after year, indicating entrenched financial mismanagement. The fact that between 2006 and 2007 cases of corruption reported to the Public Service Commission’s anticorruption hotline increased by 46% shows the extent of corruption in the Public Service.
Furthermore, senior management will often not return their declarations of personal interest. The implications of this problem became glaringly evident in the Auditor-General’s report on corrupt tendering procedures, amounting to R610 million and involving over 2 000 civil servants.
“Weer eens; myle lê tussen doen en sê.” [Once again; saying is one thing and doing is another.]
Thirdly, the department states that one of its aims is ensuring Public Service excellence. It further says that service delivery improvement remains central to the department’s core business, with an emphasis on improving the quality of service delivery in rural, poor and marginalised communities and alleviating poverty in general. Programme 5 deals with service delivery improvement and lists as a medium-term priority the following: Assisting departments to develop service-delivery models using a service-delivery model toolkit. The question is, why does this crucial department receive only 9% of the departmental budget? Does this programme not deserve to have a higher priority?
Dit lyk asof die departement se ambisieuse ideale nie op voetsoolvlak geimplementeer word nie. Gewone inwoners van dorpe regoor die land ervaar dat dienslewering daagliks om hul heen in duie stort. Sannieshof is ‘n goeie voorbeeld hiervan. Toe die septiese tenkstelsel onklaar raak, vloei onverwerkte riool soos riviere deur die strate. In die township Agisanang loop die kinders kaalvoet deur dié riool. Die waarheid is dat die inwoners reeds sedert 2004 oor gebrekkige dienslewering kla. Hulle gaan sien die destydse premier van Noordwes, Edna Molewa en stuur briewe aan die destydse Minister van Provinsiale en Plaaslike Regering, mnr Sydney Mufamadi, asook aan die nuwe Minister, Sicelo Shiceka, maar niks gebeur nie. Moet inwoners regtig eers hof toe gaan om diens te kry? Weer eens; myle lê tussen doen en sê. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[It seems as if the department’s ambitious ideals are not being implemented at grass-roots level. Ordinary residents of villages across the country experience daily how service delivery is collapsing around them. Sannieshof is a good example of this. When the septic tank system broke down, raw sewage flowed like rivers through the streets. Children in the Agisanang township were treading barefoot through that sewage. In fact, the residents had been complaining about poor service delivery since 2004. They went to see the then premier of North West, Edna Molewa, and sent letters to the then Minister for Provincial Affairs and Local Government, Mr Sydney Mufamadi, as well as to the new Minister, Sicelo Shiceka, but nothing happened. Do residents really have to go to court in order to obtain service? Once again; saying is one thing and doing is another.]
I was happy to hear the Minister announce that he has reached an agreement regarding the implementation of the occupation-specific dispensation, or OSD. Over a long period the DA has emphasised the need for adequate remuneration for specialists. We will watch further developments on this front. My colleague Mike Waters will say more about it this afternoon.
Minister Richard Baloyi and Deputy Minister Roy Padayachie, who unfortunately are not here today, have impressed me by starting very professionally. Not once during my previous term, while serving in other portfolio committees, has an ANC Minister attended a portfolio committee meeting or a hearing of Scopa. In sharp contrast to this experience the Deputy Minister attended the first meeting of the portfolio committee. At its second meeting both the Minister and his deputy were part of the briefings.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr M R Mdakane): Order! Hon member, you are favoured with another two minutes.
Ms A M DREYER: In conclusion, I have briefly referred to three crucial departmental objectives for the Public Service, namely managing human resources effectively, providing honest government and ensuring quality service delivery. The DA especially agrees with a statement by Minister Baloyi that a caring government will not be possible unless public servants and executive authorities are prepared to work harder and with speed to deliver.
The DA concurs with the Minister on this statement, but the DA also agrees with President Jacob Zuma. During a TV interview, after his state of the nation address and while discussing government’s goals, President Zuma warned that the problem ... [Interjections.] ... is in the implementation.
Ms L M ODENDAAL: Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Minister in absentia, our Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Ms Joyce Moloi-Moropa, distinguished guests in the gallery, both local and international, molweni, dumelang, avusheni, goeiemôre and good morning!
This is the Congress of the People’s maiden speech on the Public Service in this Old Assembly. I would like to start by quoting from section 195(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, relating to Public Service and Administration, so as to remind all of us what we must uphold according to the Constitution:
(d) Services must be provided impartially, fairly, equitably and without bias ...
(i) Public administration must be broadly representative of the South African people, with employment and personnel management practices based on ability, objectivity, fairness and the need to redress the imbalances of the past to achieve broad representation.
The Congress of the People believes that a sincere effort is required to depoliticise the Public Service across all spheres of government in support of our Constitution and improved service delivery. Nobody should be excluded as a result of political orientation, skin colour, tribe, gender or physical ability or disability. The Public Service Commission should be specifically sensitised to monitor and investigate the many complaints in this regard. This will place an even bigger workload on an already understaffed Public Service Commission, with an associated cost which should be of great concern. However, if the current issue is left unresolved, it will remain one of the serious stumbling blocks on the road to a single Public Service, as is the aspiration of the current government.
The Congress of the People believes that the commission is understaffed and it will support an increased budget to ensure the effectiveness of this important oversight function and governance role which looks to govern all Public Service departments.
The Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy, or Palama, is aimed at developing the skills of junior and middle managers in the Public Service. The target of providing a total of 1,625 million person training days in a single year is admirable, but too ambitious in our opinion. Mechanisms must be developed to measure the effectiveness of the training, using performance review data pre and post training and customer surveys. At the end of the day we are there to serve the citizenry of South Africa.
Consideration must also be given to cyclical refresher training courses, so as to ensure consistent service delivery. If you create an expectation, that is the minimum service which will be expected of you.
The Congress of the People welcomes the initiatives by the Department of Public Service and Administration to increase women representation in senior management and to employ more disabled persons. I must note though, Minister, that you yourself have quite a top-heavy male environment, and I do not say this tongue-in-cheek. I’m sure this is something you will address in time.
Not enough information is available with regard to how a single Public Service will be implemented, and the benefits and implications thereof for organisation, process and infrastructure. People, process and technology are key. People need competency training in order to operate technology. Technology is not always the answer to the people’s problems.
The Department of Public Service and Administration has a legal mandate to oversee the State Information Technology Agency, or Sita. Since its inception in 1999, Sita has been plagued by a high turnover of CEOs and, sad to say, is currently again being run by an acting CEO. This situation creates instability throughout the organisation, with related effects on services delivered. An investigation should be launched into the high CEO churn, so as to establish if the problem is candidate selection, the board - which is significantly depleted - the work environment or the mandate of Sita itself.
ICT is a key enabler in respect of service delivery and the application thereof will to a large extent determine if many of government’s goals are achieved. Current issues at Sita include a slow response, perceived high costs and a lack of meeting service-level agreements to government departments.
We suggest that the role and mandate of Sita be reviewed, as it is not meeting the demands of the end users in the current form. I quote from Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s address to the portfolio committee in her area the other day, that there is a tender on the smart card issue which is holding back Home Affairs. Other ICT functions can be decentralised to departments to enable them to better deliver service to their citizens and to be held accountable for those services.
Priority must also be given to the implementation of an IT service management strategy. This will contribute to the establishment of a service catalogue and a culture of agreeing and measuring service-level parameters. This will go a long way towards improving service delivery.
The CHAIRPERSON (Mr M R Mdakane): Order! Hon member, this is the end.
Ms L M ODENDAAL: In closing, I thank you, hon members. Hon Minister, I look forward to an improvement in the service delivery of your department. Thank you very much.
Mr C T MSIMANG: Chair, Minister, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, I rise to support the Budget Vote for the Department of Public Service and Administration from the point of view of its transformation programme and its commitment to acceleration of service delivery. However, we in the IFP are not satisfied with the manner in which other programmes of the department are handled.
Firstly, the re-skilling of employable graduates treats the symptoms and not the route problem. Having worked at the University of South Africa for many years, I recall that on an occasion we were approached by bankers to develop courses that would answer to their needs, and we developed a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Banking. Again, we were approached by Estate Agencies with their needs and a tailor-made BComm Degree in Real Estate was developed, to site just two examples.
This is a proactive way of eliminating unemployable graduates and DPSA could do the same, whilst Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy continues to re-skill other civil servants, especially on attitudinal behaviour, based on the principles of Ubuntu. While the training in correct attitudes is commended by the IFP as it addresses negative and hostile attitudes often displayed by public servants to their clients we would demand that the DPSA rather focuse on corruption as a priority.
The IFP’s point of departure is clean governance, for instance, reports that over R600 million, which was earmarked for tenders to the general public ended up in the pockets of friends and relatives of the Public Service’s officials, are absolutely unacceptable. Reports by the Auditor-General that in his recent investigation, more than 2 000 civil servants were found to be involved in tender rigging, is abominable. The DPSA does assure taxpayers that they discipline offending officials but the manner of such discipline leaves a lot to be desired. In KwaZulu-Natal, where I come from officials who are found guilty of corruption are either transferred to other departments where they continue happily with their corrupt tendencies or sit around the table with their employer to negotiate sumptuous severance packages for themselves. It must be borne in mind that justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done.
The manner in which the government deals with corrupt officials is not at all reassuring. In fact, the general public outside the ruling party did not interpret government’s disbanding of the Scorpions as a serious attempt to deal with crime and corruption in this country.
Furthermore and finally, we reject the DPSA’s efforts to create a single public service, and the argument that this will enhance service delivery. On the contrary, this will create an over-bloated and cumbersome civil service where the focus will fall on compliance with bureaucratic challenges of the system at the expense of accelerated service delivery. In fact, we see it as a centrist ploy by government to further amass all power in Pretoria, thus undermining the provinces and municipalities in spite of the fact that their distinctive character and autonomy is entrenched in the Constitution. Thank you. [Applause.]
Manana J M MALULEKE: Mutshamaxitulu, Holobye wa Ndzawulo ya Vutirh eli bya Vanhu Hinkwavo, vatirhikiloni, vavhaki va hina. Ndzawulo ya swa Vutirheli bya Vanhu Hinkwavo yi langutela swo tlakusa vutlhari bya vatirhi va mfumo. Polokwane ANC eka ‘Str ategy and tactics’ eka ‘developmental state’ yi ‘adopt’ leswi landzelaka: (Translation of Xitsonga paragraph follows.)
[Ms J M MALULEKE: Chairperson, Minister for the Public Service and Administration, colleagues, our guests, the Department of Public Works is looking forward to finding strategies to increase the sharpness of the public servants. The Polokwane resolution on Strategy and tactics in developmental state, the ANC has adopted the following:]
The ability to translate broad objectives in programmes and projects and to ensure their implementation. These depend among others, on the proper training, orientation and leadership of the public service and on acquiring and retaining skilled personnel.
President Jacob Zuma has recently underlined the significance of the public service in building our society and economy. In his state of the nation address the President said:
Working with the people and supported by our public servants we will build a developmental state, improve from front counter staff in the provision of servicing all government departments.
He further went on to say: “We must be more professional in what we do.”
Minister Trevor Manuel had this to say, “We have to concentrate on building a more competent Public Service administration. The 52nd National Conference of the ANC in December 2007 resolved that the ANC should lead and drive the process of the unification of the public administration in the three spheres of government into a single public service.” In line with the above-mentioned resolution one of the last year Medium-Term Budget Policy Statements priorities is improvement of the effectiveness of the state, investment in human capacity, especially skills. What has been achieved with regards to the above-mentioned objectives?
Hi Xitsonga hi ri, mintirho ya vulavula. [In Xitsonga we say, actions speak louder than words.]
South African Management Development Institute was established and mandated as the training arm of government to professionalise, build capacity, and support career advancement in the public service. It has the statutory responsibility to arrange or oversee management and development training for the Public Service in national, provincial and local government. In terms of the new two-stream strategy it focuses on the 10 000 members of senior management service, and it ensures that the 250 000 junior and middle managers access at least one week of formal professional development per year. Samdi works with departments and external training providers to ensure that students from across government can get the best and more relevant training linked to their jobs within the Public Service.
Samdi offers target inductions to public servants and it has also ensured that it continues to capacitate the Public Service at all levels of responsibility. Skills have improved in the Public Service as a result of the intervention of Samdi, and its training programmes. By 2007 the President had issued a directive that Samdi should look closely at the issues of strategic intervention with a view to sharpening the content of the training that public servants receive in various institutions.
These directives led to the translation of Samdi in 2008 into a learning academy which is now called the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy, Palama, whose mandate comes from the provisions of the Constitution and the obligations they imply for public servants. Its extended role is to assist through expanding the provision of high-quality assessment and training to improve public servants, competence and ethos; to provide assessments and certificates; to interact with other training institutions, either public or private; and to advise the Minister whether a training course should be a prerequisite for appointment or promotion in the Public Service.
Palama’s response to the President’s prioritisation of public service transformation and improvement is driven by our Minister, Richard Baloyi’s four priority projects which are: tackling barriers to entry experienced by unemployed graduates and women who live outside the main centre of South Africa; instilling leadership qualities up and down the Public Service, thus ensuring the sharing of responsibility, skills and expertise across ranks; extending the reach of the massified induction training in order to give all public servants through the basics of their jobs; supporting the reconstruction and development of public service in post-conflict countries on the continent.
Against the backdrop of the President’s very clear directive and in line with our Minister’s priorities Palama stands ready for public servants looking for the training that will help them to be the best they can be. Public Service human resource managers responsible for careers and deployments are looking for the most relevant training for their quality training and skill provision for the Public Service in all three spheres. Ministers, MECs and DGs demand the best training for the people by those who know government requirements in the interest of better service delivery to all South Africans.
This transformation comes with the task of increasing the induction of the Public Service at junior, middle and senior management levels within tailor-made training programmes for all these levels. Palama is now the facilitator of all training programmes in the Public Service. This facilitation role means that Palama can offer training by itself and outsource services in institutions that it has accredited.
Hi Xitsonga hi ri, rintiho rin’we a ri nusi hove. [In Xitsonga we say, many hands make the work light.]
Ka Setswana ba re, Kgetse ya tsie e kgonwa ka go tshwaraganelwa. [In Setswana it is said, united we stand divided we fall.]
Hi xi ANC hi ri, ‘together we can do more’. Hi khensa ngopfu loko ndzawulo leyi yi swi kotile ku humesa tiCommunity Development Workers, CDWs. (Translation of Xitsonga paragraph follows.)
[In our ANC culture we say, ‘together we can do more’. We would like to thank this ministry for being able to establish Community Development Workers, CDWs.]
The Community Development Workers’ concept was formed in 2003. The Ministry of Public Service and Administration and that of Provincial and Local Government are jointly responsible for co-ordinating and rolling out the CDW programme, ie. the CDW health facilitating participatory democracy within communities. The programme experienced problems in the beginning, but now it is a relatively viable programme.
TiCDW ta laha ndzi humaka kona eMoretela Local Municipality eNorth West ti pfune ngopfu vanhu lava a va nga ri na tipasi lava a va nga koti ku kuma mudende. Ti va pfunile ngopfu leswaku va kota ku fikelela tindzawulo leti a va nga koti ku ti fikelela.
Hi khensa meyara wa Moretela, Asnath Molekwa loko a va amukerile ehofisini ya yena, a va xavela na yunifomo leswaku vanhu va kota ku va tiva loko va nghena emitini ya vona. Hi khensile ku tirhisana na vona.
Eka tikomiti ta tiwadi, Holobye wa Ndzawulo ya swa Vutirhi hi kombela mi veka voko ngopfu eka Department of Provincial and Local Government, DPLG leswaku yi tiyisa voko ku dyondzisa tikomiti ta tiwadi vata kota ku twisisa hi ti ‘Integrated Development Planning’, IDP na ti ‘Service Delivery Improvement Plan’, SDIP leswaku risimu leri yimbeleriwaka hi va DA ri nga na swikireche hi mhaka ya vukorhokeri ri ta kota ku hela. (Translation of Xitsonga paragraphs follows.)
[The CDWs of Moretela Local Municipality in the North West, where I come from, have assisted many people who did not have identity documents to become eligible for pension grants. They helped them a lot in order to access those departments they could not access.
We express our gratitude to the mayor of Moretela, Asnath Molekwa, for having welcomed them in her office and for buying them uniforms so that people can identify them when they enter their households. We are thankful for working together with them.
Regarding the ward committees, the Minister for the Public Service and Administration requests that you support the Department of Provincial and Local Government, DPLG, so that it can put more effort into workshopping the ward committees to comprehend Intergrated Development Planning, IDP, and the Service Delivery Improvement Plans, SDIP, so that the whining and whingeing of the DA on service delivery can come to a halt.]
On international relations, regarding capacity building on the continent, the department continues to give technical support and a sustainability strategy to the Democratic Republic of Congo in conducting a public service census prior to the country’s elections so that every public service project that adds value to the quality of life of that country’s people could be sustained. The department and the government in this country demonstrate with this gesture that political stability hangs on public service stability. The public service in any given country undertakes and implements government projects and programmes so that social needs do not, on nondelivery, become political demands.
Hi ri eka n’wina va DA loko ku ri ni buku ya ntima, mi yi vona leswaku va ANC va ri i ya ntima, na n’wina mi yi vona leswaku buku leyi i ya ntima mi nga kaneti mi ri karhi mi yi vona. Mi nga vula leswaku buku leyi ha yi vona leswaku i ya ntima kambe vanhu a va koti ku yi vona loko va ri kule. A hi tsakela leswaku yi va ya xitshopana. Ku vula sweswo hi ta kota ku tirhisana hi teka vanhu va South Africa hi va yisa laha va faneleke kona. Ndza khensa. [Ku biwa mavoko.] (Translation of Xitsonga paragraph follows.)
[We are saying to the DA that if there is any good endeavour that the ANC is doing and is explicit, you should not deny it. You should not reject the naked truth, but appreciate ANC’s efforts. You can suggest certain modifications on the programmes that are in place. By so doing, we shall be able to work together and take the people of South Africa where they want to be. Thank you. [Applause.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr T S Farisani): Hon members, if I can walk to my right and to my left, it will be about three and a half metres walk and the same to my left. The difference between speaking and whispering is that whispering is meant to be between two people. I can tell you that I am sharing in things I am not supposed to hear because people are whispering loudly. Please assist me in this regard.
Moh M C MOHALE: Modulasetulo, mohlomphegi Baloyi, maloko a mangwe a Kabinete ao a lego gona, bašomišanimmogo le baeng ba rena, Mopresidente wa Repabliki ya Afrika-Borwa, ka polelo ya gagwe ge a bula Palamente, o ile a gatelela bohlokwa bja go šoma ka thata le go ineela ga bašomedi ba mmušo. Ke ka moo re kgobokanego mo bjalo ka maloko a Palamente go kgonthišiša gore se se a phethagatšwa. (Translation of Sepedi paragraph follows.)
[Ms M C MOHALE: Chairperson, hon Baloyi, other Cabinet members present, co-workers and our distinguished guests, in his State of the Nation Address, the President of the Republic of South Africa emphasised the importance of hard work and dedication by civil servants. That is the reason we are gathered here as Members of Parliament to ascertain the implementation of what he had spoken about.]
Our shared purpose and responsibility is to transform the SA Public Service into a formidable, effective vehicle capable of supporting the socioeconomic development that South Africa and her people need and deserve, particularly providing support for the poor in order to close the gap and erase the sharp disparities that mark the livelihoods of the privileged and the underprivileged.
Public administration is part of the construction and maintenance of human rights. Our own Batho Pele principles are fundamentally informed by a humanistic philosophy, placing people central and foremost in the governance experience. Simply put, this means that the Public Service should love, respect, serve, consult with and be tolerant of members of the public.
The State Information and Technology Agency, Sita, covers the very important angle of creating and maintaining the ICT backbone of government in this technologically-driven era. The SA Management Development Institute was only established in its current form in 1999. Since then, we have incubated the Centre for Public Service Innovation, CPSI, in 2003. The CPSI has to ensure that innovation becomes an embedded way of working across the public sector, solve problems in creative ways when and where they arise and ensure that such knowledge is freely shared across the public sector so that we do not spend unnecessary resources on reinventing the wheel.
Added to this, the President, in his state of the nation address, enjoined us to put plans to improve monitoring and evaluation across government, including electronic information management systems. To achieve these objectives, we will build human capacity by: establishing uniform and high entrance requirements and standards of employment; emphasising professionalism, discipline and commitment to serve; and ensuring adequate numbers of personnel to ensure delivery, particularly in the area of frontline personnel in departments such as Education, Health and Police.
The integrated Human Resource Management Development deals with human resource development, employee practice and career management, employee health and wellness and the Public Service Education and Training Authority, Pseta. The strategy serves to improve the competency levels of public servants through internships, learnerships and skills interventions in order to transform the Public Service into a better service delivery agent. Competency profiling, human resources planning and the monitoring of employment equity targets form part of the strategy. The strategy also focuses on the development of leadership and management capacity of senior and middle management.
The Public Service Commission, PSC, is still not satisfied with delays in the filling of vacant posts in the Public Service. Hence, it highlighted discrepancies in its 2008 state of the Public Service report, and key amongst these is the poor implementation of effective recruitment and selection processes. Inordinate delays continue to exist in making appointments. Despite standards being in place, this is largely not met. PSC surveys on monitoring and evaluation systems show that for the samples of departments assessed between 2000 and 2007, only one department met the three months requirement of filling all of its posts.
In 2005, the Government Employee Medical Scheme, Gems, was launched. Within three years of its establishment, Gems is now the largest restricted membership medical scheme, the second largest scheme overall and boasts growth in excess of 400% in 2007. The scheme covers over 250 000 Public Service employees and 680 000 beneficiaries when we include family members. This is double the figure quoted in the Budget Vote speech a year ago. More than 1 in 5 Public Service employees are Gems members. This is something to celebrate when there has been much scepticism about Public Service agencies.
The PSC, a Chapter 10 body, is there to provide honest feedback to Parliament as required by the Constitution on how well our policies are implemented so that we can take the necessary corrective action within the policy and implementation domains where and if it might be necessary. The commission also generates reports on an annual basis on matters affecting service delivery, corruption, observance of personnel practices and the general state of affairs in the Public Service. Parliament also uses the reports to determine areas of follow-up, as well as a basis for legislation and oversight.
To deal effectively with fraud, corruption, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, the PSC has recommended, among other things that departments should also strengthen key internal control procedures such as the conflict of interest regimes. More robust conflict of interest policies should be applied more strongly in relation to sustained high fraud risk areas and categories of employees - that is, production level employees and procurement activities. Such policies include requirements to disclose areas of potential conflict of interest and mechanisms of managing such conflicts of interest. An ideal situation would have been one in which the PSC’s recommendations are not only advisory, but are also mandatory. This approach would help in strengthening the capacity of the Public Service to decisively deal with management issues.
The department presented frequent reports to Cabinet and ultimately to Parliament through the portfolio committee, outlining information on corruption and the efficacy of anticorruption measures. The Public Service Amendment Act is assisting in fighting corruption. It created measures to prevent employees who are charged with misconduct to avoid disciplinary action against them by resigning and accepting employment in new departments where their charges will not be followed up. It is now possible to expedite charges even in the new department because government now works as an integrated system. This would assist in gaining public confidence.
By May of every year and within two months of the beginning of the financial year at local government level, all senior managers should have filled in their key performance agreements, KPAs, with the relevant authorities. The Office of the Public Service Commission was directed to set up monitoring systems in this regard. Heads of departments are mainly responsible for defaulting on the filling of the KPAs despite the fact that this is a requirement that all senior public servants must adhere to. The executive authorities, in their capacity as immediate supervisors, are also to blame for this shortcoming.
The PSC has established that in many instances where heads of departments are not evaluated, this occurs as a result of the failure of the executive authorities to initiate evaluations provided in the framework for the evaluation of the performance of heads of departments. In the 2008 state of the nation Public Service report, the PSC has not clearly identified the filling and signing of KPAs as a glaring problem, except to highlight that there should be a careful examination of KPAs as a management tool in the Public Service.
Notwithstanding the significant process we have made during the past 15 years in terms of Public Service delivery and the continuous strengthening of the social safety net for the poor and the destitute, we have not yet succeeded to completely break the back of poverty and the dehumanising living circumstances that some of our people are in. Service delivery improvement plans of all departments should illustrate intentions to deliver on all programmes mandated to them by legislation. In this regard, the committee on Public Service and Administration worked closely with the PSC to expose entities and departments that provide inadequate service delivery.
The commission produced the state of the Public Service report on an annual basis so that efficient departments could receive recognition while those that are ineffective could be exposed. The portfolio committee would then, in collaboration with line portfolio committees, follow up on the unproductive departments, requiring their accounting officers to provide reasons for their failure to deliver on a service.
The objective of the management of compensation strategy is to ensure that appropriate remuneration and conditions of service policies and practices are developed and implemented in order to attract, recruit and retain a high calibre of skilled employees. The strategy incorporates engaging employee representatives to enhance appropriate labour relations policies across the Public Service and to provide a negotiations framework regarding conditions of service and remuneration. The ANC-led government continues to make strides towards achieving citizen satisfaction on service delivery.
Completing the review on gender balances and representation of people with disabilities ... [Interjections.] [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms C DUDLEY: Chair, hon Ministers, the ACDP is concerned that this department, which serves as the country’s main artery, has a major blockage. Service delivery is dependent on a well-trained and competent Public Service, but regrettably, a skills deficit has been in the making for years. While the previous government experimented with risky policies in the name of accelerated transformation, they also ignored the fact that market related salaries are imperative in order to retain and attract necessary skills.
The ACDP calls on health professionals, who have the sympathy of the vast majority of South Africans, to act responsibly and not make the public and their children pay for government’s short-sightedness. The ACDP expects the hon Minister to make urgent and adequate interventions to address the crisis in the health sector.
Having said this, the ACDP recognizes that Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy, Palama, is presently endeavouring to upgrade the skills of a quarter of a million Public Service managers and enhance the Batho Pele ethos of service delivery.
We appreciate the enormity of the task which hits home in government’s use of words like ‘massifying’, signifying a sort of sausage machine churn out. We also note the academy’s goal of five days of training per year as meeting an international benchmark. Is there an international benchmark for monitoring the effectiveness of attitude training?
Last year, former Minister Fraser-Moleketi said the quality of service delivery plans was not in all instances satisfactory and that there was a need to implement plans at the level of service delivery points like police stations, schools and hospitals. She said the solution would be sustained hands-on support for departments coupled with a systematic enforcement of regulations. Has any allocation been made for on-site problem solving and correction of poor performance?
Lastly, former President Mbeki pointed out that while Palama is an acronym, it is also a Sesotho word meaning “ascend” or “get on board”. With this Budget, sadly, the hill may be too high and the boat may be too small. The ACDP will however support the Budget Thank you.
Moh D F BOSHIGO: Mohlomphegi Modulasetulo, Matona ao a lego gona, bahlomphegi ka moka, maloko a komiti, makhomoreiti, bakgotse le baeng bao ba hlomphegago, ke a le dumediša.
Ka ngwaga wa 1955 kua Kliptown, ka di26 tša June, Congress Alliance e ile ya kopanya mekgatlo ka moka ya dipolotiki go hloma ... (Translation of Sepedi paragraphs follows.)
[Ms D F BOSHIGO: Hon Chairperson, Ministers present, all hon members, members of the committee, comrades, friends and distinguished guests, I greet you.
On the 26th of June 1955 in Kliptown, the Congress Alliance brought all political parties together to form ...]
...the real congress of the people, which adopted the Freedom Charter, which says the people shall govern.
Against the bigger picture of the new South African state that is constructed on principles of democracy and participation by all, the Public Service and Administration was transformed to reflect these values. The understanding of local government has changed dramatically since 1994. One such change has been a move towards local governance and participatory democracy. It is stated in the 1996 Constitution, as an objective of local government to encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in matters of the local government.
In the 1997 document entitled Towards a White Paper on Local Government in South Africa, it is stated that:
Throughout the world, municipalities have come to appreciate that the relation between government and those who are governed is as important as government itself. This is what is meant when people speak of the shift from government to governance. Governance is a way of governing. It takes the views and interests of those affected by government more seriously than in the past. Relationships, partnerships and alliances have therefore become much more important for local government than in the past.
Furthermore, in line with our Constitution, the White Paper on Local Government states that local government must play a developmental role. Developmental local government means a local government committed to working with citizens and groups within the community to find sustainable ways to meet their social, economic and material needs, and improve the quality of their lives. It should target especially those members and groups within the communities that are most often marginalised or excluded, such as women, disabled people and very poor people.
The Constitution further enjoins reasonable steps within available resources, to ensure that all South Africans have access to adequate housing, health care, education, food, water and social security.
To achieve the above, the manifesto of the ANC talks of a developmental state, which will play a central and strategic role in the economy, which will be oriented towards people-centred and driven change, which has the capacity to lead in the definition of a common national agenda and in mobilising all of society to take part in the implementation. Therefore, such a state has effective systems of interaction with all social partners and exercise leadership informed by its popular mandate.
One of the key developments in the area of public administration internationally in capacitating communities to manage their own affairs is the broadening of the number of stakeholders in the governance situation and the more important roles awarded to organs of civil society. This is a trend that we are also familiar with. The people’s contract reflects on this.
Public participation in South Africa builds on the commitment of the democratic government to deepen democracy, which is embedded in the Constitution and above all in the concept of local government, as comprising the municipality and the community.
Public participation involves a range of activities, including, creating democratic representative structures, ward committees, assisting those structures to plan at a local level, community-based planning, implementing and monitoring those plans using a range of working groups and community-based organizations, CBOs, supporting community-based services and supporting these local structures through a cadre of community development workers. The ANC views public participation as a tool to build local capacity and self-reliance.
The ANC regards public participation as an open, accountable process through which individuals and groups within selected communities can exchange views and influence decision-making. We regard it as a democratic process of engaging people in deciding, planning and playing an active part in developing and operating services that are affecting their lives.
In this context, public participation is designed to promote the values of good governance and human rights, acknowledge the fundamental right of all people to participate in the governance system and most importantly is designed to narrow the social distance between the electorate and elected institutions.
In South Africa, in the context of public participation, community is defined as a ward, with elected ward committees, hence ward committees play a central role in linking up elected institutions with the people, and other forums of communication reinforce these linkages with communities, like the izimbizo, the road shows, the makgotla and so forth.
Government, accordingly, also treasures the relationship with the public sector and labour unions as partners who have a particularly important contribution to make development in our country.
We have created organs of people’s government attached to all strategic departments to ensure participation by civil society and to increase access to service; we have created Thusong Centres and appointed community development workers. We have established collective bargaining and participative processes in legislative and governance matters in which our trade union movement finds space to be on board. Of course, we will admit that more still needs to be done to ensure the highest level of civil society participation and implementation of collective decisions emanating from those engagements.
We have since 1994 led government and have established structures that empower people to participate in the activities of government. We are committed democrats who believe that democracy is more than electing representatives to power once every five years. It means empowering people, especially women, workers, youth and rural people, to participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives.
The Community Development Workers’, CDWs, initiative is a very important initiative providing grassroots staff of the municipality who can support ward committees and assist in communication links between communities and the government. The CDWs are being trained at present and they will be trained further in community-based planning, CBP, and implementation skills.
In 2008, the CDWs’ master plan was developed and launched. The aim of the master plan is to position them within government’s access strategy and service delivery.
Rena re le ba mokgatlo wa ANC, re thekga Kabotekanyetšo ye. Ke a leboga. [Magoswi.] [As the ANC, we support this budget. I thank you. [Applause.]]
Me H C VAN SCHALKWYK: Voorsitter, Suid-Afrika verdien ’n staatsdiens wat alle Suid-Afrikaners oor die wye verskeidenheid van staatsdepartemente volgens die Batho Pele beginsels dien. Ons is egter nog baie ver van hierdie ideaal. Daar is verskeie ooreenkomste tussen die Departement vir die Staatsdiens en Administrasie en staatsdepartemente, want laasgenoemde is die gesig wat aantoon hoe gesond dienslewering in Suid-Afrika is.
Indien dienslewering nie na wense is nie, word die gesig geskend. Dit is verblydend dat ons die afgelope tyd ’n groter erkenning by die regering bespeur dat ons met ’n erg verwronge gesig te make het, omdat dienslewering uiters onbevredigend is. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Ms H C VAN SCHALKWYK: Chairperson, South Africa deserves a public service that serves all South Africans over the wide range of government departments in accordance with the Batho Pele principles. We are, however, still very far from this ideal. Various agreements exist between the Department of Public Service and Administration and government departments because last-mentioned is the face that is an indication of how sound service delivery is in South Africa.
If service delivery is unsatisfactory, the face will be distorted. It is heartening that we have recently observed greater acknowledgement from government that we are dealing with a seriously distorted face since service delivery is extremely unsatisfactory.]
Firstly, I want to reflect on the functions of the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy, Palama, before I also address the challenges of the State Information Technology Agency, Sita. Palama’s mandate is to ensure the necessary massification of high quality practical management for junior, middle and senior managers in all three spheres of government. It is common cause that in several areas of state delivery, there is a serious management problem rather than a shortage of money. The shortage of personnel with advanced management training is a major deficiency in the civil service, which detracts enormously from government’s ability to deliver services and to get value for money. This has also led to the appointment of a large number of consultants at an enormous cost.
Leadership is crucial. It is clear that a public service can only be as good as those who lead it. We can have a major improvement in this regard if government can pay more attention to the principles of the DA’s “open opportunity society for all”, whereby senior managers will be appointed and promoted only on the basis of merit and their expertise to do the work of the department concerned.
Training of employees should be evident through improved service delivery, improved decision-making, as well as improvement in the channelling of public funds. The impact of Palama’s work, however, has not yet been experienced at grass-roots level. One wonders why not. Should knowledge of and the implementation of the eight Batho Pele principles not perhaps be more prominent in the training processes? Principles like courtesy and service standards are only practiced by a very small percentage of Public Service workers. Everywhere, the public experiences the attitude of most public workers as utterly rude, deconstructive and anything but helpful. Surely that is not the way to put the people first, which is exactly what the Sotho word “Batho Pele” means. Social skills are as important as any other skill in the Public Service. Attitude training is crucial if you want to put the people first.
Daar lê dus vir Palama, wat dit ten doel het om leierskap en bestuursvaardighede te bevorder, groot uitdagings en harde werk voor.
Op ’n positiewe noot, wil die DA vir Palama gelukwens met vyf agtereenvolgende jare se ongekwalifiseerde ouditverslae. Ons vertrou dat hierdie vlak van bekwaamheid na die staatsdiens sal deursyfer. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Therefore, great challenges and hard work lie ahead for Palama who has, as its objective, to promote leadership and management skills.
On a positive note, the DA would like to congratulate Palama on receiving an unqualified report for five consecutive years. We trust that this level of competence will filter through to the Public Service.]
Sita is an information and communication technology, ICT, agency of government. The ideal should be that Sita would provide for the whole of the Public Service. We know, however, that where Sita is viewed as not being helpful or as unresponsive, the accounting officers of departments can go directly to the industry to procure products and services that Sita is unable to or incapable of offering at the required time, quality and price.
Sita, in recent times, has run a debtors book in excess of R1 billion, of which R342 million is 90 days and more overdue. The debtors’ situation is untenable. It requires urgent attention and the use of creative ideas to minimize the exposure. The DA believes that red tape should be cut and that Sita needs to be released from the requirement for it to seek approval from relevant departments before it can apply for loans or embark on independent fundraising activities.
Dit is uiters onstellend dat daar staatsdepartemente is wat van Seta se dienste gebruik maak, maar dan in gebreuke bly om die rekening te vereffen. Is dit dalk weer ’n geval van departemente se begrotings wat vroeg in die boekjaar reeds uitgeput is vanweë onnodige, hemelhoë reis-, verblyf- en onthaalkoste? Die ironie is dat die regering van die publiek verwag om vir dienste te betaal, maar dit dan self nie doen nie. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[It is extremely alarming that government departments are utilising Sita’s services, and are then neglecting to settle their account. Is this perhaps once more a case of departments whose budgets have been depleted early in the financial year as a result of unnecessary, exorbitant travel, accommodation and entertainment costs? The irony is that government is expecting the public to pay for services but is neglecting themselves to pay.]
Sita must play a vital role in implementing an e-service where all government services can be accessed online by the public. Like one-stop shops, whereby clients can do all their government work or business under one roof, government online is a key way in which citizens would be allowed to access government departments from their computers, no matter how remote the area in which they reside. Coming from the Northern Cape, I know exactly what the advantages would entail for people in remote parts of the country. A properly functioning e-service would expand citizen’s choices and opportunities to access basic services. In this way, they can better their lives.
Let me conclude. It is no use for the government to rely only on the ANC slogan of “working together we can do more”. We must also work smarter. We must give content to working together. In the DA we want to work together in the interest of South Africa by building a Public Service that is efficient and put the people first. But the DA’s vision of merit, choices and responsibility must then be adhered to.
Enkosi kakhulu. [Kwaqhwatywa.] [Thank you very much.] [Applause.]]
Mr E RASOOL: Chairperson, hon Ministers, hon members, chairperson of the portfolio committee, I want to continue where some of my comrades in the ANC have left off. In the state of the nation address - and one of my comrades has quoted the words - President Zuma says:
Working together with the people and supported by our public servants, we will build a developmental state, improve public services and strengthen democratic institutions.
He further emphasises in that speech, that, and I quote again: “A developmental state requires the improvement of public services and the strengthening of democratic institutions.”
Further in that speech, the President details a few key initiatives towards this developmental state: To strengthen the strategic planning and performance management and evaluation of the state; ensure that the three spheres improve service delivery, and, therefore, the need for a single Public Service; putting people first, and for interactive government.
Today, Minister Baloyi gave further shape to that notion of a developmental state by setting out the values that would underpin that Public Service in a developmental state. Secondly, the Minister gave seven focus areas around which the developmental state would be constructed.
I’m very happy that the Minister was able to come here with such a clear speech that is direction-giving, in the midst of all the difficulties and the challenges he has to face dealing with doctors who have historically never been on strike, but are now out on the streets; dealing with the OSD, which has been a vexing issue, together with remuneration challenges and the beginning of the bargaining season.
I think what we could do is to try and find, amongst all our parties, a workable definition of what this developmental state is or should be, or could be. I don’t profess any great knowledge of it, but I think that if the notion of a developmental state was only a catch phrase; if it remained an undefined notion; if it was allowed to mean all things to all people, then it would be reduced to meaninglessness.
We wouldn’t know what we are talking about; it would be frightening to those who feel threatened by it; it could even be a vehicle for opportunism for some who would see in the developmental state a space for their own agendas; and it could easily be reduced into a one-dimensional meaning. Some people would only see race in it; others would only see corruption, and all of those things.
Therefore, I think that what we need to grapple with and where I think some leadership would be required, is in giving body to this notion of a developmental state. What we do know is that a developmental state is a sharp break with the apartheid state. The apartheid state was exclusive, both racially and geographically; was functionally fragmented, with various departments for the same function. It was unequal and hierarchical: If you were white, you got the best. If you were African, you got the worst. It was insensitive and uncaring; it was unrepresentative and repressive. So, we know that a developmental state can’t be any of that.
We must also be able to understand that a developmental state is also an alternative to a neoliberal state, which places emphasis on minimalism. A neoliberal state cuts away the functions of a state, the ability of a state to do things and the reach of a state. It says small government is everything. Less government is better for the people.
It abdicates key responsibilities. It says that it has nothing to do with economy. It would say: Let the markets sort out the global recession - the state does nothing. It’s elitist, because it allows those who have money to get the best health services and those who have no money get no health services.
The same with education: It acts as a purchaser of service, rather than as a provider of service. And so, we can begin to say that maybe this developmental state shouldn’t be any of those things. So, we know what a developmental state is not.
How do we construct a developmental state from what it is not, to what it should be – what it is? I think that, very clearly, what is coming out in all the years of discussion, particularly within the ANC and within Parliament, is that it must be an active state and a state that intervenes; that it doesn’t abdicate its responsibility towards people; that it understands the fact that it needs to intervene in poverty; that we deal with the poverty that is racially colour-coded and poverty that is geographically defined.
So, how does the state organise itself around its activities and its interventions? We know that a developmental state understands that it is a vehicle for public goods, meaning that it has human capital; it can deploy in a certain way; it sets up institutions; it has resources, not least of all, the budget; it has infrastructure that it must use to deliver those public goods to citizens.
The third thing that we know about this developmental is that it is delivery-orientated and not repression-orientated. It’s efficient. It has to be effective. It has to be courteous. Therefore, I think that the notion that hon Odendaal brings to the House about a depoliticised Public Service needs to be debated. I think she may not have been sharp enough in her way of putting the case. She may mean that she does not want a party-political public service. But, I think a public service that is not political, that does not understand and interpret the goals of society, would be a public service consisting of more than three blind mice. And so, they need orientation. [Applause.]
I think it is an important notion for us to debate ...
Ms L M ODENDAAL: Madam Chairperson, I rise on a point of order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): What is the point of order?
Ms L M ODENDAAL: Is it acceptable for one member to cast aspersions on another member’s ability to grasp the issues?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Hon member, I think hon Rasool is responding to some of the issues that were raised by hon members. It is his right to do so, coming from another political party. Hon member, you may continue. [Applause.]
Mr E RASOOL: I could see hon Odendaal was a bit more mature in accepting that there is a debate that is taking place.
Fourthly, I think that a developmental state is also a learning organisation; that it understands that it needs an instrument such as Palama, the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy, which would be able to keep it at the cutting edge of new knowledge and best practice all the time. However, Palama must understand that training and learning is not at the behest of the employee simply for what advances the employee’s career, but what advances the outcomes and objectives of the developmental state. And so, the tail must not wag the dog. And I’m not calling hon Dreyer or anyone else here a dog. [Laughter.]
The fifth point is that a developmental state is modern and technologically sussed. It stays at the cutting edge of particularly what is available in ICT. I think, in understanding its mandate, Sita may have to understand that it needs to provide the state with an ICT capacity that makes the state efficient and modern; it should bridge the state and its citizens with an e-governance capacity that allows us to transact between government and citizens; and more importantly, it lays the basis for an ICT society that our entire society and economy shift towards that.
Lastly, whether some of us like it or not, a developmental state is also representative, both in terms of who it serves and who serves. You cannot have an exclusive public service. You also cannot have a public service that reserves management capabilities for some, and menial capabilities for others, even if the numbers gel at the end of the day.
We agree that a developmental state must be unimpeachable in terms of its cleanliness. It should be corruption-free, fraud-free, and all of those kind of things. But then it also requires, as has been mentioned already, that what demands we make on the Public Service, we must also make on the provider of goods. Those who procure for government must also be bribe-free and be free of paying bribes at the same time.
I want to say ...
Mr W P DOMAN: [Inaudible.]
Mr E RASOOL: Well, there is very interesting stuff coming out of the Erasmus commission today. Go and ask the JSC, the Judicial Service Commission. [Interjections.]
Mr W P DOMAN: [Inaudible.]
Mr E RASOOL: I want to say that a developmental state, therefore, is integrated - as in not fragmented – co-operative in terms of the three spheres of government, all seeking after the same outcomes and the same objectives. I think that despite herself, maybe hon member Dreyer has probably made the most eloquent case for why you need a single Public Service. All the points that she brought on the constituency, valid as they all are, say that you can’t have a vision at a national level, a will at a provincial and incapacity at a local level. [Applause.]
What hon Dreyer does ... [Interjections.] ... She truly says ...
Baie myle lê tussen doen en sê. Die myle sal groter word, indien ons nie die vermoë het om een staatsdiens te kan bewerkstellig nie. [Actions speak louder than words. This disjunction between words and action will increase, if we do not have the capacity to bring about a single Public Service.]
And that is the reason I think hon Dreyer has made a case that no one in the ANC has made more eloquently. [Applause.]
I want to end by saying that the 15-year review shows that the problem and the challenges in South Africa are not about policies; they are not even challenges about resources or about intentions and motives. All those things are there. The challenges lie in our seamless ability to implement – our planning capacity. That is the reason a planning commission has been established.
The challenges are about monitoring and evaluation. And that is the reason measurement indicators and all of those things come into play. The challenges are about the constant upgrading of skills and the human capacity of the state.
I’d want to go further and say that today’s examples differ quite significantly to those of 10 years ago. Ten years ago you’d have spoken about too few of these and too little of that. We would have spoken in quantitative terms.
I think the debate has shifted, as we are all debating the question of how do we improve the quality of the many services that are out there? There are more health facilities than ever before; more schools than ever before. The challenge we face is how to improve the quality of what happens in the health facility and in the schools. [Applause.] If we understand that perspective, then we will use the scalpel, rather than a blunt instrument, to identify who is undermining the state; who is corrupting the state; and who is laggard with regard to implementation?
Those require a scalpel to excise, not a blunt instrument to tarnish the entire Public Service with. I think, hon Minister and Chairperson, that the ANC also wants to say that in supporting Budget Votes No 8, 9 and 10, we should also pass a vote of confidence on all of the many thousands of public servants: teachers, doctors, nurses, administrators everyone, who go about their work every day, on time, honestly and diligently. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION: Thank you very much, Chairperson. I also want to say thanks to all the speakers, because what you said confirms what I said earlier on that issues of Public Service reflect a journey we are all on. And I indicated that it is not a one person’s journey, but our journey. What you said confirms exactly that. What I want to indicate before I touch on some of the issues that have been raised is that in this journey, as the ANC government, we confirm that we care, that we serve, that we belong. We are saying this not only in terms of the policies that we have set ourselves, but in terms of our own readiness to improve in areas where there is a need to accelerate service delivery.
You all spoke so well. Of course, in a debate you don’t miss characters. It is like in a journey. The style of moving along in a journey differs; some will jump-walk, some will sprint, some will move in measured speed, some will lose concentration and some will get lost. [Applause.] But it all remains a journey, and I want to thank you for your style of participating in this journey.
I am not going to respond individually to all the things said here, but it is important to note and comment on some of the things raised.
Hon chairperson of the portfolio committee, Comrade Joyce, when you were debating here, I had one of my ears to you and the other ear to Minister Motswaledi. Minister Motswaledi raised a very important matter. Equally very important is what hon Rasool has indicated that we are actually in difficult times. We are dealing with situations where one’s attention is at all times called upon to attend to some of the issues.
Hon Motswaledi reminded me that the deadline to close all issues relating to negotiations on implementation of Occupation Specific Dispensation is 30 June 2009, which is today. The bargaining council was about to facilitate a conclusion on the debate on the OSD for doctors. He said to me that he needs my voice. I need to say something on how we finally dealt with that issue, and I have indicated that.
Chairperson, I heard you when you were commenting on what the ANC considers a priority. I have translated that into a programme of action that we as government will implement as a priority.
Hon Dreyer of the DA and hon Mohale of the ANC - interesting convergence - raised a very important point. They said that performance agreements need to be signed. We fully agree with that. They don’t only need to be signed; they must be signed. They must not only be signed, but we must make sure that they are signed. If there is no performance agreement then there is no instrument to measure a person’s performance. Therefore, there is no reason a performance bonus can be paid. That is why we cannot talk about pay progression where performance agreements are not signed. It is very difficult. We cannot even mention career progressions. Therefore, it is not an excuse and it is not an option. We want to indicate clearly that disciplinary actions must, and will, be taken against those whose responsibility it is to make sure that performance agreements are signed. [Applause.] And we want to indicate that this is not a threat. Those who want to see how we move when provoked enough, let them not sign performance agreements. Then they will know who we are.
With regard to the issues around the work that Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy does, hon member Msimang indicated that reskilling doesn’t address the root cause. We fully agree. We have never indicated that we are complacent that reskilling alone is going to deal with these issues. As you will remember, Palama, in executing its mandate, is in partnership with about 15 universities that are participating, and some of these people who are said to be unemployed are graduates of these universities. That is why we are very sure and careful that we are not only looking at reskilling.
We have also indicated, like I said in my main speech when introducing the debate, that we are going further in terms of transformation of our training academy so that we’ll see ourselves finally in a position, even if it means in an arrangement like a partnership with NGOs, where we are able to address those issues.
Mr Msimang you raised the issue of the Auditor-General’s report and I indicated in my speech that we are considering that report, and that we will address the nation in no time. But let me indicate that we should not be too hasty to draw conclusions, because at the end of the day you might find that there are things that we still have to attend to, to actually validate the positions that are there and inform as to what kind of action to be taken.
I think hon members will remember that not long ago a report like that was issued only to find that when you look at the reliability of data, for instance with Cipro, there is more that has to be attended to. For instance, if the code of conduct says you need to declare your financial interests, do you declare your financial interests even in situations where there is no financial benefit that accrues? That is some of the situations because dormant companies will be considered as active companies. I am not suggesting that we are going to treat that report as if it is not reflecting the truth. We will address those issues with full confidence. All that it says is that there are serious challenges here, in terms of compliance with the code of conduct, and therefore we will insist that steps be taken where they need to be taken.
I am not sure hon Msimang, but you raised the issue about some areas in KwaZulu-Natal where public servants who are alleged to be corrupt are transferred from one section or one department to another. We will be very happy to be given details about that. If that happens, it will be in violation of the Public Service Act as amended. It is very clear in terms of how we deal with issues.
Well it is true; it might be too early, though, hon Msimang, to disagree with the single Public Service. Actually when we say we will be finalising the Bill, we mean the Bill on Public Administration Management, which is the Bill that deals with providing a seamless arrangement that harmonises conditions of service across the spheres and facilitates mobility of skills from one sphere to another. This doesn’t mean that when that day comes, there will no longer be local government, municipalities, provinces, and the like. But, it is too early to agree or disagree. We are waiting for those who want to raise their issues. We will come to Parliament to address them.
Well, hon Van Schalkwyk said that we are far from Batho Pele. If we had enough time at some stage, maybe we would have indicated how far we are. Having raised that question, maybe her response to that question would assist us to deal with this thing. As far as we are concerned we may not have enough time to explain everything. If you say Batho Pele, amongst other things, says we must be accountable to the people and we must give them feedback in terms of service provision, there are izimbizo taking care of that. If you say we need to involve people when we do planning, go to municipalities. When they do their Integrated Development Planning, IDPs, they go through a process of consultation. If that means we are far from Batho Pele, maybe we need to be educated more about what Batho Pele is. I think we will engage further on that issue because I don’t agree that we are far from implementing that.
You were right, hon Rasool, when you said that some of the issues that make our life a little bit challenging as the Ministry of Public Service and Administration are when people who are appointed to do essential work find themselves actively involved in activities that lead them to neglect even patients. It can’t be accepted. Of course, we know there are people who believe in the Afrikaans idiomatic expression that says: “agteros kom ook in die kraal” [slow and sure wins the race.] Maybe they believe it is a catch-up programme; it is for them to participate in stuff like that.
I am raising these things because while on the one hand we are doing all it takes to finalise and find a solution to deal with issues related to OSD implementation, on the other hand people are taking to the streets and neglect patients. Then you ask yourself, when we speak of professional ethics, which side and chapter of the book are they reading? We will engage on that. We will deal with some of those issues; actually we have started.
Hon Rasool, you were right to say that a developmental state is on course as you have indicated what a developmental state is. But we may not be in a position to go point by point and say you said this, we say this. That was just a confirmation that together we have to assist to make sure that our Public Service is on course, and as Members of Parliament we assist by making contribution because that is what we have been assigned to do.
As the Department or as the Ministry of Public Service and Administration, as we commit ourselves to respond to all the issues raised, to further lead this portfolio in a manner that we attain the objective of a developmental state, we do so, as I have indicated earlier on, believing that we have public servants who are hard at work; who are equal to their task; and who are committed to take us through. They have done that and they have demonstrated that over the last 15 years. Of course, where there are rotten apples we are also there to take them out as soon as we identify them.
We will achieve all these because we have support from the following entities, and I want to comment slightly on this: the DPSA will continue to do internal strengthening because we actually do transversal functions where we assist in areas such as policy implementation, monitoring, co-ordinating organisational designs and leading e-governance programmes. We believe that in these three areas we will be able to move with speed because what we believe in is not only what we say, it is not only what we commit ourselves to do, but it is how far we move in implementing that. We believe that we will move. That is why we want to thank Director-General Prof Levin and your team for leading us in dealing with these issues.
The Public Service Commission also plays a very important role and we want to salute them for being a partner for good governance in this country. Of course, a special salute goes to Prof Sangweni who, I have indicated, is leaving the Public Service at the end of his term, which is today. After he has served his term - you know Public Service commissioners serve a maximum term of 10 years, but Prof Sangweni served a term of 15 years. Well done, Prof! [Applause.] Of course, we may say a lot of things, Prof, but I do not think I can thank you enough for what you have done. My message is in this book. I will hand it over to you. It is all about you. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
In conclusion, I want to acknowledge Palama, the Centre for Public Service Innovation - by the way, they have just got an award for being the best in leading excellence in finding solutions that work, a United Nations award that has been awarded to them on the 23rd. [Applause.] We want to say thank you very much. We also want to thank the Government Employees Medical Scheme, Gems, and lastly the Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority, PSETA. I see the PSETA board is around here. Thank you very much. We care, we serve and we belong. Amandla! [Power!]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Hon members, please note that at 2 o’clock we will be having a Budget Vote on Education in this venue and Budget Vote on Housing will be at E249.
The Committee rose at 12:30