Public Service and Administration: Minister's Budget Speech
04 Jun 2008
Budget Vote 2008/2009 Statement to Parliament by the Honourable Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Minister for Public Service and Administration
Honourable Members of this House;
Colleagues on the Executive;
Honourable Chair and Members of the Portfolio Committee;
Guests in the gallery;
This is the ninth opportunity and the tenth year as Minister for the Public Service and Administration, that I have the privilege to present Votes 8, 9 and 10 to the National Assembly, both reporting back on what we have done with the public money entrusted to us during the previous year, but also requesting, against a well-thought plan, that the Honourable members of this House agree to the proposed budget for 2008/09 in order to allow us to take our work forward.
When I came to the portfolio in 1999 the Department for Public Service and Administration (dpsa) was not yet five years in existence, and the role distinction between the dpsa and the office of the Public Service Commission (OPSC) was still a matter for lively debate within the two bureaucracies; the State Information and Technology Agency (SITA) and the South African Management Development Institute (SAMDI) was only born in that year. Since then we have incubated the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) in 2003 and in 2005 we launched GEMS, the Government Employee Medical Scheme. This year sees the major transformation of SAMDI to a national Academy, a process that has been in the making for more than two years.
Honourable Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to announce to the House the new name under which the Academy will be known. We have settled on the Public Administration Leadership and
In 2004, SITA embarked on a comprehensive three-year long turnaround strategy, called Tswelopele, a Tswana word for ‘moving forward together’. The overarching purpose of this large-scale change programme was to restore stakeholder confidence in the organisation and re-establish it as an efficient and effective information and communications technology (ICT) partner to government. The programme resulted in numerous achievements, including implementing best-of-breed human capital policies and management strategies which include a performance management system and an aggressive gender strategy.
However, in our quest for continual improvement, as we celebrate the progress with essential change processes in some parts of Team Public Service and Administration, I would like to signal the urgency for change in another part of my portfolio, this time focused on the interaction between different components, rather than focusing on a single entity in isolation.
The institutional arrangements between the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO), which is based in the dpsa, the Government Information and (OGCIO), the Government IT officer (GITO) Council & SITA should be improved and aligned in a manner that responds the IT requirements of government, optimises IT infrastructure, improves productivity, improves security and reduce costs. Consequently, I have instructed the Government Chief Information Officer to undertake some essential reviews and advise me accordingly.
The organizational units falling within these votes are varied, and in a way represent a small microcosm of organizational structures and institution building that is found across the entire public sector. They constitute traditional government departments, executive agencies, think tanks and independent oversight bodies. They are bound together in delicately balanced relations of distinct roles and functions, including policy and implementation, yet often interdependent in order to make the whole perform better. It also includes providing checks on, oversight, feedback and input to the work of one another. At the governance level of these organizational units we find as rich a variation. They report to the Executive, Boards, and the Legislature, and they also benefit from the council of Advisory Boards and Panels.
Notwithstanding this diversity within Team Public Service and Administration, what ties us together is our shared purpose and responsibility: to transform the South African public service into a formidable, effective vehicle, capable of supporting the socio-economic development that
To this effect the structure of the portfolio is covering the necessary angles: the dpsa providing the necessary policy frameworks with respect to the organization of the public sector; with respect to human resource management and development; with respect to the very important issues of remuneration and conditions of service; with respect to information and communication technology for the public sector and with respect to macro governance issues, including anti-corruption strategies. The Academy/ SAMDI is responsible for developing the human resource capacity that is available to government through training and other associated initiatives such as mentoring, coaching, self-managed learning and so forth. The SITA covers the very important angle of creating and maintaining the ICT backbone of government in this technology driven era we find ourselves in, while the CPSI have to ensure that innovation becomes an embedded way of working across the public sector, solving problems in creative ways when and where they arise and that such knowledge is freely shared across the public sector so that we do not spend unnecessary resources on re-inventing the wheel, where the wheel has already been designed. In the final instance, the PSC 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.
We take our responsibility in terms of accounting to the legislature and its structures very serious. We also see the Annual Budget Vote Speech as an opportunity to inform the populace at large what we do under this portfolio and we provide an empirical input to the policy and intellectual community that supports our work for further analysis and processing. To this end, as in the past, we have prepared a substantial written document that provide much more detail than what can be covered in this brief verbal input. I invite you to regard the printed document you have received as an integral part of this verbal presentation.
The tenth year offers an ideal opportunity to take stock of the milestones we have walked. I want to use this opportunity as part of such reflection.
We do not require the re-opening of a discussion regarding the ethical framework within which we ought to undertake such a self reflection. It already exists and has been formalized for the entire globe 60 years ago when we committed as the united nations of the world to accept the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to promote the adherence to it within our countries. It provides a common ethical standard to which we aspire in which the freedom of individuals and the equality in dignity and rights of all people are recognized and protected in a framework of the Rule of Law, where all are equal in the face of the law, without fear of prejudice or favour; principles mirrored in our own Constitution.
We are in the wake of one of the most testing periods we as a nation experienced in the existence of our young democracy. Notwithstanding, the significant progress we have made during the past 15 years in terms of public service delivery, and notwithstanding continually strengthening the social safety net for the poor and destitute, we have not yet succeeded to break the back of poverty, and the dehumanizing living circumstances associated with that. Obviously this provides a fertile breading ground that can be exploited even further for a gamut of agendas and causes by those without scruples and utilized for agitation on a variety of fronts.
In the past weeks we have seen the boiling over of frustration and anger – either spontaneous or helped along -- that found expression in some of our poorest communities turning onto people from elsewhere on the continent and in the process killing; causing immeasurable fear, anguish and disruption in other people’s everyday existence. As a nation we share the collective embarrassment these actions have caused. We collectively share the damage done to our track record on the continent and in the international community. As government, both now and in previous terms, we share the collective responsibility for not having driven the service delivery improvement agenda even harder!
I believe that what we have seen and experienced during the past few weeks are speaking to a number of issues which the Universal Declaration for Human Rights provide for: rights of people within their national borders and beyond if the circumstances merits it; socio economic rights, including issues of social security; rights to work and employment under just conditions of work; equal pay for equal work without imbedded discrimination that feeds off the desperation and vulnerability of some; rights to hold and express opinion and to form free association of likeminded people. The list is much longer.
As is the case of many initiatives in our young democracy these are fundamental ethical issues that we need to debate and internalize in our practices until they are second nature to our thinking and doing.
What I find encouraging though, amidst the negative associated with these outbreaks of xenophobia, is that, as in so many instances internationally and regionally during the past few years, it is in circumstances of crises, natural or human-caused - that the role of effective public action becomes undisputed. It is in these emergencies that resources, energy and labor from across all government components are mobilized in a short space of time and directed to achieve the task at hand. It is in moments like these that business, community organizations, individual citizens and the international development partners become equal partners in trying to prevent the escalation of a human tragedy. Instinctive cooperation and collaboration becomes standard behaviour, where under normal circumstances these are, for some inexplicable reason, inordinately hard to achieve. Extra hours are selflessly put in by public servants and volunteers alike. We have also created a sms number through which public servants can make R5-00 contributions per SMS sent to the cause of re-integration, relocation and providing humanitarian support of displaced migrants. The number will be broadcasted broadly, but for those who are impatient, let me share it: 36282
I firmly believe that public administration is a very important part of the construction and maintenance of human rights. The Universal Declaration makes the connection in Article 21 (2) when it expressly elevates the equal access to public service to a fundamental and inalienable human right. The very foundations of post-Apartheid administration we sought to establish and that is enshrined in our Constitution is the struggle against racism; discrimination and for the recognition of equality. Our own Batho Pele principles are fundamentally informed by a humanistic philosophy, placing people central and foremost in the governance experience. In the domain of socio-economic growth the theory has developed adequately to make it clear that public service is a critical factor in achieving such growth, and thoughts that development can be purely achieved through market mechanisms are flawed and has not achieved the desired result without the presence of strong and effective governments and capable government machineries. In addition, there is a broadly held view that public administration is the embodiment of a civilizing mission, where such a mission is essentially contained in five elements. These are:
1. the ability to improve personal security and safety;
2. ensure community survival;
3. improve the quality of life for all;
4. provide for the needy, specifically those unable to provide for themselves; and
5. promote the socialization of future generations into pursuing the good life in a society.
Bearing in mind this civilizing mission, it becomes apparent that it is not purely co-incidental that the 60th year celebration of the existence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights coincides with the 60th year celebrations of Public Administration in the UN system. Human Rights and Public Administration is inextricably linked. When we carry out a review of the Public Administration achievements and challenges, the benchmark we should measure ourselves against should be lodged within such a human rights framework.
The past ten years has essentially been about transforming the South African public service. It was an effort of realizing the transformation of the South African public service from one of serving the
In many instances as a progressive government we collectively took policy decisions, much to the disdain of those who wanted the continuation of their first world aspirations in a third world setting, to pursue positions and design interventions that would bring wide spread relief and benefit, rather than exceptional service to an exclusive few.
I believe we have already achieved much we can be proud of, and has prepared the terrain, often painstakingly, for endeavours that will only pay off in years to come, provided such preparation are not neglected or reversed. Both in this portfolio and across the broad terrain of government we have tremendous successes. Some are already established and bearing fruit, others are in the incubation stage, but all indications are that they have immense potential. Amongst these I regard GEMS, the Government Employee Medical Scheme, as a prize example, but by far not the only one.
Within only two years of its establishment GEMS is now the largest restricted membership medical scheme, the second largest scheme overall, and boasts growth in 2007 in excess of 400%. The Scheme covers over 250,000 public service employees and 680,000 beneficiaries when you include family members – that is double the figure I quoted in my Budget Vote speech a year ago. More than 1 in 5 public service employees are GEMS members and in some provinces, like the
With due regard to equity and access, over 53% of GEMS members did not access the medical subsidy beforehand and, significantly, over 20% of those employees who were uncovered in 2006 when the Scheme started enrolling members are now covered on GEMS. By the end of December 2007, more than 69,000 employees on levels 1 to 5, the lowest income bands, were members of GEMS.
This is but one example of our achievement within a relatively small and unknown part of our Team Public Service and Administration.
Obviously the goals we have set in 1994 were virtually impossible to achieve, given the limitations of our resource bases, including human resources; organizational capacity; infrastructure; systems, but also financial resources. This was aggravated by our initial impatience, thinking that such transformation is to be accomplished in a record space of time. Obviously I learnt the hard way that public sector transformation is not for the fainthearted, nor for the impatient. I can only knowingly smile when I think back to my initial targets for my first 100 days in office, and the short term thereafter. In fact, with greater understanding came the insight where I can now unequivocally state that public sector transformation is, in fact a never ending effort. I concur with some long-time observers and students of the field when they pointed out a couple of years back, and I quote: “Public service reform never goes out of style”, and together with the distinguished Prof. Demetrios Argyriades I can just ponder over a possible answer for his astute observation, and I quote:
“Considering the risks, complexities and costs of most reform agendas, their slow implementation and very mixed results, we may be justified in pondering the frequency, ubiquity and undiminished appeal of public service reform”.
However, I believe the answer lies in the nature of the subject matter. As Bertolt Brecht phrases it, and I quote:
Public administration will always be required to respond to changes in its context and environment, otherwise it will become obsolete. An analysis of dominant models in public administration has shown that every different model, every major stage of public administration, has been designed to address one key dimension of the nature and role of the modern state.
I believe that by aiming high - by being audacious - we have achieved more in a short space of time, than if we set out to achieve modest goals that would not have resulted in us “straining every sinew”, as the President chose to put it so aptly during the State of the Nation address at the opening of parliament for this session.
Augmenting the challenges associated with the impossible task that faced us, was the change in mood that swept across the globe regarding the suitability of governments to perform any task best and the erosion of popular trust in public institutions. Associated with this change was massive pressures, locally and internationally to curb government expenditure on public sector salaries and to reduce the size of the public service. This happened right at the point when we needed the strongest public sector capacity we could harness in the interest of our development agenda.
The renowned international Public Administration scholar, Gerald Caiden argues this point very cogently. He writes, and I quote:
“Unfortunately, many of these august international bodies have instigated global policies that kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Their experts have preached antigovernment rhetoric and advocated the downsizing of the administration state as a universal mantra.”
He then proceeds to point out that the poorer countries and communities need to strengthen, not weaken their administrative states (his emphasis, not mine) if they wish to narrow the disparity gap. He concludes the argument by stating, and I quote:
“What is desperately needed in the poorest countries is a strengthening of their public sectors without which they will continue to fall further and further behind the rest of the world.”
A strengthened administrative state has been the mechanism that the countries of the West have used in their own pasts when they faced the reconstruction challenges of
What strikes me in the work of Caiden is the fact that different stages of development might require different administrative models – a fact easily forgotten in the international knowledge community where knowledge imperialism continues to suggest that as developing countries, or as the African continent, we should aspire to adhere to models more suitable under other prevailing circumstances, lest us not be classified as typical losers, or laggards.
Looking back, I am relieved to think that by no later than 2002, if not earlier, we had clearly recognised the dangers posited by the market model of government, or the so-called New Public Management Paradigm, for our development agenda. I am happy to report that from that point onward we were extremely cautious of policy influences in our public sector transformation agenda that came as unprocessed “made abroad, ready to wear” solutions. We chose from that point to opt for homegrown solutions, and a more feasible and gradual, but more enduring transformation agenda. And on the international platforms we were fortunate enough to had access to, we broadcasted this position. Again, now years later I can declare that initially it was not necessarily a popular stance to take, neither one devoid of risk to be isolated in future from the international think tanks in the subject matter.
But as evidence piled up, our position was vindicated and has now become almost the dominant position, at least on an intellectual level, if not in practice – yet!
I would like to believe that the architecture of the institutional landscape in this portfolio specifically, but also across the public sector, stand testimony to the breaks we have put on a comprehensive neo-liberal infused public sector transformation. I wish to believe that we have, without being parochial and closed to international lessons, worked at growing our own unique solutions, creating a public service landscape that works for
In this respect I would wish to highlight four of our current initiative which I believe are in their own rights pioneering endeavours, constituting real life experiments with new organizational forms from which powerful lessons could be drawn for future replication in the broader South African public service, and with the necessary adaptation for local circumstances, possibly even beyond South Africa. They allow for the creative crossing of traditional boundaries, mobilizing resources well-beyond those available within the organizations themselves and thus resulting in unprecedented reach and impact.
In the first place there is our Single Public Service initiative. In response to the pathologies we had to deal with, given the separate human resource management dispensations and so forth of local authorities and the Public Service at national and provincial level, we were prompted to start thinking creatively. We desperately required a dispensation that would provide a single integrated normative framework; one that would allow for optimal alignment between the systems; policy priorities; organizational cultures and so forth; that government would in effect function as a single public service; and where citizens would reap the benefits of receiving their services under such a single and unified framework. We needed a dispensation which would facilitate mobility and allow for the appropriate deployment of scarce and highly skilled human resources across all three spheres of government. In an overall climate that pushes very hard for greater decentralization, greater managerial autonomy to make decisions that are deemed fit, this move of the single public service is definitely counter the dominant trend. However, I believe, that it is about restoring balance. It is about addressing the excesses from too much diversity, too much devolution in the absence of appropriate capacity, too much arbitrariness and too much discontinuity between the different spheres we are trying to address and even prevent. It is not saying that we are subtly re-writing the Constitutional requirement of three interdependent, but distinct spheres of government.
In 2006, Cabinet approved the work plan and implementation strategy for the Single Public Service. To ensure achievement of the goals of the Single Public Service, Government prepared legislation enabling a unified public administration of the national, provincial and local spheres. An initial draft of the Public Administration Management Bill was completed in June 2007 and a process of consultation ensued. The draft was reworked to take into account input received during those engagements as well as legal advice. A revised draft Bill was published for public comment in April 2008. We have incorporated the changes and the Executive has endorsed the prospective Bill for bringing it to the legislature for consideration. Yesterday, 2 June, the Bill was certified by the State Law Advisor. Some of the consultation processes are still ongoing and we will bring the content thereof directly to this House when we present the Bill.
Our second homegrown solution is the business model that the new Academy, PALAMA, is embracing. This model will allow us to rise to the challenge of massifying public sector training to a scale where it will have meaningful impact, five to tenfold from what we have been achieving thus far. The unsuitability of the previous delivery model to achieve the large numbers that needs training became apparent when we seriously engaged with what was needed to role out a compulsory induction programme for all public servants. Inducting 100 000 public servants annually meant we had to enter the sphere of “business unusual”. PALAMA, instead of opting to build up an internal training faculty big enough to handle such a scope of training (and more), opted for defining its role as curriculum development; standard guaranteeing and monitoring, while mobilizing training capacity found in the broader environment in provincial academies, specialist sector training institutions, FETs, higher education institutions, NGOs and private service providers. PALAMA will create a conducive environment in which a collective of professional trainers can facilitate the actual training in line with what government needs and at a standard that it requires. We believe this approach is developmental, not only in relation to the individuals concerned, but for the broad public sector training industry. As a spin-off of the process followed, we believe these players will become energized, and will benefit from a situation in which they would be working closer with their primary client, government, and gain deeper insights regarding the environment for which they provide training. It is indeed the rich landscape of existing capacity across South African society in the field that affords us the opportunity to embrace this organizational model. Many of our counterparts in the developing world does not have this luxury.
Working in this way, will provide the mechanism for us to role out training of a specified standard to a broad segment of our public service employees, rather than narrowly focusing our efforts exclusively on the management cadre in the hope that a trickle down effect will result in overall improvement of capacity in those we employ.
Our third, and most probably most audacious, but as already pointed out most successful new creation is GEMS. In 2005, when the dominant trend was still to worship everything associated with the private sector and the free market and to belittle any initiative that carries with it the scent of the public sector, we set out to establish a public sector medical scheme that would bring the bulk of public servants and their sizeable number of dependents into the protective folds of a sound, well-run medical aid. We realized by using creative subsidy policies we could ensure that a segment that hitherto was dependent on the public health system, could be given the opportunity to access private health care. While obviously belonging to GEMS is seen as an improvement in the conditions of service of our public servants, with the associated benefits in employer loyalty and so forth, the spin off GEMS goes much wider. It is an inventive way to use the public sector to improve the livelihoods of a much wider group of dependents of public servant, generally in the lower income ranks.
The figures GEMS are showing is also debunking some of the less flattering myths around public sector organizations. It has become so efficient in its administration that 93 cents of every rand collected from members are going to health care spending. The norm in the industry is that typically 16 cents in the medical aid rand is going for such non-health care expenditure, thus resulting in only 84 cents in every rand available for what it was intended for.
There were many doomsday prophets when we conceived the idea of GEMS and started to pursue this dream. Many repeatedly stated that GEMS would not be approved, that it would not be created, that it would never enroll members, and that it would not last – I think members of the house would agree with me that these profound announcements have been proved wrong. GEMS is shining!
Our fourth organizational innovation is the Community Development Workers. In 2003, with impetus and leadership provided by the President, we established the Community Development Workers as a new cadre of Public Servants. Their unique contribution is to span the divides between different spheres of government and chasms between different line departments that logically are interconnected but operationally divided. CDWs make it easier for citizens to negotiate the complex maze of government departments in order to access public service, particularly social services and economic opportunities. As such the CDWs is a central part within governments’ Access Strategy and service delivery improvement thrust.
Employed by provincial government but operating in the local government domain, the current 3000 CDWs make an immeasurable contribution. So much so, that government departments have begun recognizing the obvious utility of this special cadre of public servants when they want to communicate complex message to the population.
We also saw in the recent attacks on foreign nationals how quickly these workers became a central part of the local and provincial teams, helping in the registration processes, addressing problems, assisting the security forces by analyzing the situation in challenging situations and mediating conflicts. In this respect I wish to recognize Nelisa Gange a CDW in Masipumelele who stepped in fast, facilitating dialogue and convened meetings amongst various parties that actually resulted in the return of stolen goods.
We are continuing to build the capacity of this very important new cadre of public servants. Amongst other things, we are currently earmarking a group of 72 CDWs to receive further training in
This new way of working across traditional divides in government architecture, obviously initially goes along with some major organizational challenges. I believe that the Master Plan that has been developed at the very successful CDW conference hosted earlier this year, will provide much needed clarification regarding roles and responsibilities of CDWs and stakeholders. This in turn should result in even more effective collaborative efforts than what we have seen already emerging.
The idea of crossing boundaries obviously brings into play the large chunk of work we do on the international front.
Especially in terms of our extensive work on the African continent we can be proud of how this portfolio has been at the service of some of
Gerald Caiden to which I have referred to earlier, comments as follow, and I quote:
“It is in the less fortunate countries where international efforts are most needed to raise the standards of public sector performance. Until that is achieved, not much progress is going to be made elsewhere in these countries whose peoples are going to rebel in any way they can to protest at their being left further and further behind on the global scale. The widening gap can no longer be hidden from them.”
One of the key outputs in terms of our involvement in the DRC is the establishment of a
Since 2006 over 600 Congolese public servants have been trained. In addition, a total of a further 1000 Congolese public servants are to be trained this year, with a target of 1500 in 2009. Strategic assistance will be provided to the newly established ENA to assist with their organisational development in terms of strategic and operational planning, financial planning and management, donor sourcing and management as well as human resource planning and management.
However, as indicated we are not only involved in the DRC, but also on the rest of the continent. The Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development Workshop that was held in
The Academy/ SAMDI also contributes to post-conflict reconstruction elsewhere in the continent. With help from the African Renaissance Fund and international partners, the Academy is expanding its already substantial intervention in DRC, and also helping the public management institutes of
In addition, SAMDI has been hosting the Secretariat of the African Management Development Institutes Network (AMDIN). This network is fast becoming one of the most important vehicles on the continent for capacity development initiatives in African public sectors across the continent. The Network which has hosted its first conference in 2008 in this month is hosting three regional workshops across the entire
In all of these endeavours we have to be mindful of how empowering the processes are that we follow. As the former President of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz put it, and I quote:
“...we often talk about building institutions or building capacity. …that sort of suggests you can come in like an outside contractor and bring some bricks and mortar and you construct capacity. It doesn’t work that way. You grow it. It’s got to be indigenous. It’s got to have indigenous roots… you can help people do it. But they need to do it themselves.”
In all of our work, both elsewhere in Africa, but also within our own borders, we have to be mindful of the fact that although individuals are important, their presence is temporary and now matter who they are, they operate and are embedded in organisations. It is much more effective and fundamental to concentrate on the building and strengthening of the organizational and institutional base, since the results of these efforts are more enduring, and the effect much wider. This is true in every aspect our work.
When Obiagel Ezekwesili, Vice President for the World Bank Africa Region was interviewed in 2007 about corruption related issues, she put it as follows:
“It is not just about catching the thieves, it is about having the right institutional and structural procedures to ensure that you prevent the occurrence of bad behaviour. It is more cost effective to prevent bad behaviour than to spend money dealing with the consequences of bad behaviour. I put a lot of weight on the institutional reforms, and a lot has happened that people are not aware of.”
Lest you are unaware of this painstakingly slow, absolutely necessary and sometimes utterly low key institution building work we have done, and plan to do in the next year, let me share some of the key aspects with you.
In the next twelve months and the years to come, the Ministry will deliver, inter alia, on the following priorities:
- improve people’s attitude towards improving service delivery;
- enhance and automate business processes; and
- mprove the use of technologies in support of people and processes.
We are committed to the President’s call of “Business Unusual”. The dpsa medium-term strategy, for example, prioritises the following:
- Development of policies and guidelines to ensure that public service is able to recruit, develop and retain skilled professionals and managers;
- Implementation of the new human resource development strategy for the public service;
- Completion and implementation of the Single Public Service legislation, relevant norms and standards, remuneration policy and matters pertaining to medical aid and pensions;
- Providing post-conflict support in the areas of governance and public administration; and
- Implementation of various transversal projects that form part of the government-wide monitoring and evaluation system
- Thusong Centres Connectivity (TSCs) - 50% will be connected in September 2008 (42 TSCs and 15 Community Radio Stations) and the project team is looking at the possibility of connecting all Thusong Centres by the end of financial year;
- The presidential launch of the 100th TSC, Inhlazuka will be held at
, in KZN on Richmond the 7th of June 2008;
- GITOC (WGOSS) to develop an
lab and to identify five additional TSCs where open source solutions can be piloted. Open Source Software OSS
- GITOC Secretariat will facilitate the development of the fully fleshed GITOC portal to be fully functional by end of financial year;
- Using this Council- there is an opportunity for increased collaboration on ICT procurement and use of intellectual property rights across government. Thus, shared approaches to standards, infrastructure, security, collaboration in procurement and the best use of government intellectual property can deliver better value for money.
- SITA FOSS Programme Office and the DG FOSS Steering Committee (chaired by DG DPSA) are about to finalise the Technology Roadmap, and Open Source Migration strategy. The FOSSPO is in the process of building open source solutions that can be deployed in the desktop for trial and test purposes.
- Implementation of e-enablement of service through the audacious implementation of e-government programme.
- The implementation of the Next Generation e-Government implementation is underway. NG e-Government programme will be implemented in phases, starting with the e-enablement of the 6 pro-poor services: (application for ID, child birth certificate, foster grant, pension, maintenance and notification of death) identified from the Justice and Social Clusters. The PMO has been appointed to facilitate the e-enablement of 6 pro-poor services as identified and agreed upon by key stakeholders.
- Also, the DPSA has begun to conduct three main reviews to assess progress and improve the manner we are doing things especially in the use of ICT: the review includes SITA Performance, Government Call Centres and ICT Procurement expenditure. SITA operational review is to identify bottlenecks and improve. A review of call centres with a view to consolidating and bringing about efficiencies for the centre space within government.
- DPSA is in the process of developing the TOR for the development of the government wide Information Security System Policy/framework.
- With respect to the creation of an integrated financial management system, which is a joint National Treasury, dpsa and SITA initiative to consolidate and renew government’s back office applications much progress has been made. The scope of the project covers Financial Management, Human Resource Management, Supply Chain Management, Asset Management and Business Intelligence. The intention is to initially implement the system in two lead sites namely the dpsa and the Free State Department of Education. It is anticipated that the lead site implementation process will commence early in 2010 and continue for approximately a year after which the system will be rolled out to the rest of the Public Service.
- With respect to our very successful policy and procedure on incapacity leave and ill health retirement (PILIR) we are currently still providing support at a central level to departments. However during the course 2008/2009 the preparatory work for decentralisation will commence to ensure a smooth transition from a centralised to a decentralised approach in this respect.
The issue of Conditions of Service of our Public Servants is clearly an important issue when it comes to retaining the services of our best public servants, to keep them motivated, but also to avoid any pathologies which are associated with public servants who are experiencing financial problems: excessive moonlighting; higher incidence of temptation for graft and corruption, and so forth. At the same time, we know that the rewards of a public service job is not meant to be the financial package, but the satisfaction garnered from being able to serve in the interest of the public and in many instances the varied nature and stimulation offered by public service jobs. The larger majority of our public servants are dedicated and doing the profession proud. As a nation therefore we should not hesitate to remunerate them adequately for the services they render.
Last year saw an intensive process of wage negotiations. Resolution 1 of 2007, the outcome of that negotiation went much further than only the per centage salary adjustment awarded. A significant part of the negotiations centred on the occupation specific dispensation – the OSD. It is a revised salary structure that enables Government to recruit and retain skilled professionals in the public service by providing a clearly defined career path, with regular salary adjustments linked to performance, improved competencies and experience. OSDs for school and office based educators, legally qualified personnel and nurses have been finalised with agreements in place and implementation underway. The negotiations for social workers has just commenced in the relevant Bargaining Chamber, and the dpsa, with other relevant departments are currently working on the other agreed occupational groupings for special dispensations.
In the specific economic condition we find ourselves obviously the mechanism we have created for cost of living adjustments is an important one to ensure that the salaries of our employees are not eroded by inflation. It does not constitute a restructuring of the salaries of public servants. The prevailing wage agreement provides for an adjustment effective from
The Minister of Finance has given an indication with respect to CPIX when he stated in his budget vote and I quote: “We expect inflation to average above 9 per cent in the calendar year 2008”. We need to be mindful that we cannot be mechanistic in this calculation with respect to public servants, but as public spirited people, we need to agree that the overall sustainability of the economy in general is an important consideration. We also need to recognise that what we are seeing is not necessarily a normal inflation cycle.
Having paid due consideration to all of this, Madam Speaker, I am pleased to announce that the salaries for employees on salary levels 1 to 10 and the total packages of employees on salary levels 11 and 12 will be adjusted by 10,5% with effect from 1 July 2008. Should we have under-calculated the actual CPIX, Resolution 1 of 2007 provides a safety measure. In such an event we will make up any difference by adding it to the salary adjustments that will take effect in July 2009.
Allow me to briefly turn to the very important work of the Public Service Commission. The Commission has made enormous inroads into strengthening our understanding of, inter alia, public service delivery issues. By continually developing their series of publications and sharpening the methodologies and tools used in the process, I believe they empower the legislature in general, and the Public Service and Administration portfolio in particular, to carry out their oversight function and to influence policy in a direction where we can continue to fine tune and improve on the solid framework that has been put in place.
In addition to the above, the PSC plays an important role in our ethical governance initiatives. In 2004 it has established a National Anti-Corruption Hotline. Since then it has referred over 3665 cases of alleged corruption have been referred to government departments. In addition, the PSC developed and implemented a Financial Disclosure Framework in terms of which potential conflicts of interest of senior managers are managed. Reports on the management of conflicts of interest and the Financial Disclosure Framework were produced.
The PSC has also published a report on Financial Misconduct which provides a statistical overview and analysis of the information provided by National and Provincial departments on finalised misconduct cases in the 2006/07 financial year. As at
Important policy development has been the enactment of the Public Service Amendment Act, 2007 which makes the implementation of the PSC’s directives in respect of certain human resource practices mandatory and the collaborative relationship that has been established between the PSC and the Auditor General’s office. I believe both of these empower the Commission to play a more effective oversight role in years to come!
Madam Speaker, one of the key developments in the area of Public Administration internationally is the broadening of the number of stakeholders in the governance situation and the more important role awarded to organs of civil society. This is a trend that we are not unfamiliar with, given the mass base and highly participatory history in the Anti-Apartheid struggle that we fought.
Government accordingly treasures the relationship with the public sector labour unions as partners who have a particularly important contribution to make to development in the country. Accordingly we are keen to strengthen the platform we can discuss a range of issues with the unions that goes much broader than salaries and conditions of service and accordingly transcend the ordinary bargaining arena. This need once again surfaced during the course of the 2007 wage negotiations. Issues such as performance, outsourcing, inflation targeting, minimum wages and macro economic policies were raised by the parties in response to each other’s positions. While we recognise the need to discuss these matters and emerge with a common understanding, it is clear that fora such as the wage negotiations are not suitable for these engagements. In fact it is our view that these discussions should be the precursor to such negotiations.
We will therefore once again host a Public Sector Summit in 2008. This summit should be seen as an appropriate platform to initiate dialogue between the parties on a range of matters such as the political and fiscal imperatives that government is confronted by, etc. By so doing we can forge a closer working relationship which is premised on a common set of principles and objectives. This thinking is reinforced by the success achieved in the previous Job Summit held in Polokwane in 2001. The discussions in that instance revolved around transformation of the public service within the realm of the labour relations framework. Having agreed on imperatives of these initiatives the parties were subsequently able to negotiate and agree on a restructuring process at the level of the PSCBC because they had all bought in to the objectives that this process sought to achieve. Accordingly, the view is held that negotiations regarding wages and conditions of service could be facilitated more amicably if there was broad agreement/understanding on the underlying issues (of performance, job security, economic constraints, decent work, etc.) which impact on the positions of both labour and employer parties.
In view of the afore-mentioned assertion, Clause 15 was inserted into PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2007 and provides that the parties should convene a Public Sector Summit in 2008. The list of topics is open-ended and it is envisioned that parties might include other areas if they so wished but the following areas are specifically mentioned in the agreement:
- Outsourcing and agentisation;
- Performance and productivity in the public service;
- Work environment;
- Resourcing of the public service; and
- Minimum wages.
As Team Public Service, collectively and individually, we have been privileged to have experienced first hand the prioneering years of putting in place a public service machinery to serve the needs for our young democracy. The magnitude of the challenge is not for an individual to cope for, but truly for a team. I would therefore like to recognize and thank the following:
- In the very first instance, my family that allows me the space, give me the support, and ever so often challenge me like no others to be in this position, and to always give my best in the service of our country;
- The people of
who overwhelmingly voted in 1994, 1999 and again in 2004 that the ANC should govern; South Africa
- President Thabo Mbeki for the confidence he placed in me by entrusting this portfolio to me since 1999;
- Fellow parliamentarians, and particularly the relevant Portfolio and Standing Committees, under the leadership of Richard Baloyi and Sicelo Shiceka who constitutes an important check and balance on the executive arm and the bureaucratic machinery. In this context I would also like to recognize the late John Gomomo, former Chairperson of the Public Service and Administration Portfolio committee who through his particular style of leadership and acute insight in the area, made a very important contribution.
- The Public Service Commission under the leadership of Prof. Stan Sangweni. Allow me to specially single out Mr John Ernstzen, Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, and Commissioner Squire Mahlangu from the North West, whom both have left their roles recently.
- The SITA Board and its Chairperson, Ms Thenjiwe Chikane and CEO and team
- Trustees of GEMS Board;
- The heads of the respective units that fall within this portfolio: Prof Richard Levin, DG dpsa; Dr Mark Orkin, DG PALAMA/ SAMDI; Ms Odette Ramsingh, DG, OPSC; Mr Llwellyn Jones, CEO, SITA; Dr Eugene Watson, Principal Officer, GEMS and Ms Thuli Radebe, CEO of the CPSI;
- My staff in the Ministry, where I would like to single out Florence Maleka who for many years have been my personal assistant, and who now heads of the Community Development Worker Programme; and finally
- A group of people who are not in the public eye, but who provides insight, engagement, dialogue and debate which sharpens my own understanding: Dr Frene Ginwala, Ms Hanlie van Dyk-Robertson and Prof. Anver Saloojee.
Madame Speaker, I have attempted to do many things in this input, most probably too many. I tried to reflect on some of the key macro trends we tried to respond to during the past ten years, the early years of public sector transformation in South Africa under a democratic government.; I tried to give some sense of what we have achieved since last year’s budget vote, and I tried to give a little bit of an outline for the years to come.
I have attempted to show very clearly that our focus now, and in the future, both in
However, Gerald Caiden throws a challenge at us with respect to such institutions in a democratic set up when he asks, and I quote:
“But what is the point of strengthening the public sector if it falls into the wrong hands?”
This is a question one obviously cannot ignore. But the answer he gives is equally instructive and to be taken note of. His answer provides further motivation for the institutional and organizational type of approach, when he writes, and I quote:
“It is not so much the forms of democracy that have to be in place, but the whole bloodstream of all public administration … that has to flow with a democratic spirit, with a sense of right and wrong, justice and mercy, fairness and fair play, and with due respect for human rights and dignity, public accountability and openness. Neutral professionals, impartial, objective technicians, experts in getting things done can serve any master; but democratic public administration requires principled agents loyal to democratic humanitarian values, protected whistleblowers and dedicated ombudsman offices. ..
I believe as we are moving from here, into the future our goal should be to fine-tune the balance of power between the different institutions in our young democracy. I believe we should continue to focus on creating a public administration machinery which is professional, but above all, loyal to our Constitution and to a universal framework of Human Rights. These instruments will provide guiding lights, no matter what the challenges will be, and focusing on what these stand for will result in the society we have set out to create and the better life for all that we aspire to.
I thank you.
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