Public Service & Administration: Minister's Budget Speech
29 Jun 2009
BUDGET SPEECH BY THE MINISTER FOR PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION THE HONOURABLE MASENYANI RICHARD BALOYI, MP
30 June 2009
Honourable Members of the House;
Honourable 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 Honourable the Minister for Public Functions from the DRC, Honorable 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 R 596 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%. We are therefore sure that we will spend our budget by the end of the financial year.
We are in a journey for good governance and effective service delivery to consolidate our long-held view of realising a developmental state in 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
We have been in this journey for the past decade and a half, and in 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 in this journey of rebuilding our country, our
We have since learnt that public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation with full recognition that every human being is entitled to courtesy.
As we will later elucidate 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 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 it, Chairperson, but to agree with Professor Sangweni in his poem “Our Journey”, recited 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 last period of fifteen years of Democracy in our country.
It was an exciting moment to note that more has been done, and, importantly, 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 will say to Parliament: Hold us accountable for the issues we commit ourselves to deliver.
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 on this score 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 that we have is as to what secrets account for the implementation of programmes we set for ourselves. The answer to this question lies in the Xitsonga idiomatic expression, which says: Ximita ntsengele xi tshenbhe nkolo.
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, healthcare facilities, schools, social security services, houses, roads infrastructure, the list is long. But more still needs to be done, and we have a plan 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. Ti tlhomana mincila ti korhokela tiko. Hikwalaho hi vulaka leswaku loko hi ku ximita ntsengele xi tshembhe nkolo, hi vula leswaku mfumo wa humelela eka pfhumba ra wona hikokwalaho ka vatirhela-mfumo. Ntsengele a yi nga ta swikota ku tlimba mikolo ya mfumo loko vatirhela-mfumo va tirha hi ku hetiseka.
We will not fail to deliver the quality services that we identified for ourselves if our public servants are ready to internalize their obligation to discharge of their best abilities to implement the policies of the Government.
Honourable Members, 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 marched along the paths of service delivery for all.
In punctuating our record of service delivery and roll 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 (PALAMA), the Centre for Public Service Innovation, the State Information Technology Agency (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 as well as international participation.
For fifiteen 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 the three spheres of our Government, organs of State and public entities.
And those values are:
Promoting a high standard of professionalism
Promoting efficient, effective and economic use of resources.
Ensuring a development-oriented public service
Ensuring that services must be provided impartially, fairly, equitable and without bias.
Building a responsive and participatory public service
Promoting an accountable public administration
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 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 the Government.
Of course, these pieces of legislation marked the introduction of the intervention to improve financial management.
A priority for us going forward in this journey of sound financial management is to ensure that all public servants come to terms with the provision of these legislations, 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 like recently announced by the Minister of Cooperative 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.
For fifteen years now, we know that the challenges that we have in dealing with policy matters is their implementation, and our plan to respond to this challenge 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 that 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 time-frame for the response on the Commission’s report.
We will engage in a multli-stakeholder 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 Masified 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, plus Braille. 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 state of capacity should be reflected in the actual programme of service delivery, but it is not always the case.
Through its training interventions, PALAMA also contributes in further deepening the capacity of our Public Servants to respond with equal strengths 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 to deliver in terms of the mandate for a developmental State.
In terms of the Skills Development Act, the PSETA is firmly in charge to provide skills development interventions.
Chairperson, our experience of fifteen years just indicate to us that we should not be complacent, hence our move to identify as a priority, the issue of capacity building, and we will on this score, reflect on progress in this matter during the current Financial Year.
In that reflection, we will, but not limited to, pay attention to what exactly constitute the required merit in our public service. 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 partriotism? To me, it is a combination of so many factors, hence the Department of Public Service and Administration will, by the end of the current Financial Year, further sharpen the recruitment tool that will include all the necessary factors to be considered.
We will also continue with the further transformation of our 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 barriers to entry into the Public service, more especially on those graduates who come from tertiary institutions and do not have the necessary experience called for whenever recruitment is done.
We introdused 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 around in a situation where we have graduates who some people say they are not employable as they do not have the key subjects necessary for consideration.
We are proud to announce that PALAMA has developed a training programme meant to respond to remove these barriers through a top-up programme meant to enhance the employment potential of these graduates.
QUALITY SERVICE DELIVERY
When it comes to quality service delivery, the Batho Pele Policy is instructive.
Our record of fifteen 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 that we identified as a priority is that we should have a detailed follow up programme on all issues raised at the Izimbizo, irrespective of which Executive Authority is having such a peoples’ forum.
Before I was appointed as a Minister, I used to complain that there is 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 conduct 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 to be in charge of the public participation follow up programme, and that the Parliamentary liaison officer’s scope is expanded to include follow up on issues raised in Parliament as well as 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 them Multi-purpose community centres. In this arrangement, we provide accessibility to services through coordination 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, the citizens would be guaranteed access to information at a 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 will be coordinated planning to ensure that each Thusong centre will be connected as it is established.
We took a position to improve governance and service delivery through the use of internet technology, hence the projects e-government and e-cabernet. Once concluded, these interventions will further strengthen our use of technology. We will communicate our plans on SITA’s accelerated turn-around strategy on these programmes by the end of July 2009.
The Community Development worker programme is one critical intervention that bonds Government and the people together. Since inception, we have realised instances where these foot soldiers of service delivery live up to what is expected of them and soil their hands to unblock obstacles to effective service delivery.
Of course this programme is vulnerable. There are guidelines for running this programme, but each Province has its own arrangement in the location and the utilisation of the CDW programme. This unfortunately compromise the programme as, 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 Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, we have a turn-around plan to attend to this challenge.
The good record of service delivery does not land us into complacency. We continue to identify areas of improvement in order to maintain our standards, and we also 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 identified corruption and conflict of interests as some of the obstacles to quality service delivery. This happens in a situation where we have created instruments to deal with these tendencies.
We have a National anti-corruption strategy in our public service and we have created a National Anti-corruption Forum, constituted by representatives of the Government, Business and Broader Civil Society formations. We have so far held three anti-corruption summits where we took resolutions to the effect that corruption has 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 asses the impact of corruption in 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 we from time to time 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.
IMPROVEMENT OF CONDITIONS OF SERVICE
Through the collective bargaining processes, we managed to produce through the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council, an agreement through Resolution 1 of 2007, that seeks to effect on serious changes in the conditions of service of our public servants, including the introduction of Occupation Specific Dispensation.
This is a four year resolution, at the end of which we are going to assess the impact thereof and decide to further deal with any remaining matter.
Over the past fifteen years, we have managed the relationship between labour and ourselves as the employer, in such a manner that realised reasonable stability 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 went through, the hard way, during that strike.
We are now piloting an arrangement where we restructure our negotiation formations, and we will soon introduce a dispensation where we are going to synchronise the salary negotiations with the Government 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 the OSDs. We set deadlines together.
By the way, today is the deadline for resolving the disputes in finalising the tabling and signing of the agreements. Over 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. It suffices to say, though that the latest report on the negotiations is positive that today”s deadline will deliver positive results in all categories of professionals, including the Health sector.
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 bargaining interventions. We will conclude a time-bound programme soon.
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.
FURTHER TRANSFORMATION OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE
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 the better life for all the people.
The debate on the single public service is not dead. By the end of this financial year we would have tabled a bill to finally close the debate.
A a hi kokeni hi joko rin’we, swi ta tshamiseka. Ntwanano I matimba!
Over the last fifteen years,
As we are debating here today, the Heads of State of the African Union are gathered in
As a member-state of the AU that acceded to the APRM, we are participating with full status, proudly contend with the fact that we went through the peer review ourselves and we 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 as we are the country’s focal point.
We also participate in several cooperation 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 in the Continent and in the World. The DRC project is one of them, and we are going to discuss with Minister Botoro Bodias from the DRC today.
In conclusion, allow me to once more repeat what Professor Sangweni told his colleagues a few days ago at his farewell function, and 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”
Ladies and gentlemen, 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!
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