Governance and Administration Cluster briefing on Programme of Action
17 Feb 2011
Ms Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Minister of Home Affairs and Chairperson of the Governance and Administration Cluster gave a statement on the Cluster’s duties and role following the State of the Nation. The Minister highlighted the creation of Thusong Services Centres which would promote citizen engagement and participation. The cluster would work to fulfil goals set out by the President in light of the State of the Nation Address through a number of policy initiatives and proposals.
Q: How many jobs did the public sector create? Which fields did the public sector create jobs in? How much money was the government likely to recover from the investigations being carried out by the Special Investigations Unit?
A: Minister Baloyi replied that the scope of the public sector was wide and that specifics would be given in the Department’s budget vote. There was no specific amount of money set for recovery, the SIU would be given room to recover however much had been stolen.
Q: How many municipalities were under the Local Government Turnaround Strategy (LGTAS) and how did they move out from out of the strategy? Would the intervention in the Eastern Cape Education system fall under the LGTAS programme? What is segmentation?
A: Mr Africa responded that the Department of Co-operative Governance had launched a programme called Project Consolidate which sought to address a number of issues including the municipalities which were under the LGTAS programme.
A: Minister Zuma indicated that the question pertaining to the Eastern Cape Education system could not be answered as that responsibility fell under a different cluster group.
A: Mr Africa explained that segmentation was the division of municipalities so that they could be dealt with on an individual basis according to what sort of issues affected them. Segmentation would be better than cluster grouping municipalities due to the fact that different municipalities faced different problems.
Q: How many disciplinary cases were before the anti-corruption unit?
A: Minister Baloyi replied that the Department would provide more clarity on how many cases were before the unit on 23 June 2011.
Q: What is the vacancy rate in the public service and can they be filled in six months?
A: Minister Baloyi replied that the Department was in the process of addressing the issue of vacancies.
Q: The business sector had been critical of the new permits system to be undertaken by the Department of Home Affairs, what was Minister Zuma’s view of this criticism?
A: Minister Zuma replied that she was aware of the criticisms from business but that the system as it was now was better than what it had been previously. Permits were now issued centrally by the Department of Home Affairs whereas in the past it had been issued by other Departments such as Trade and Industry which created confusion and chaos with the system. The Department was dealing with a backlog of applications for permits but was in the process of dealing with that so as to make it easier for students and potential business applicants to get permits without too much hassle.
Q: Did Mr Africa think that Project Consolidate was a success?
A: Mr Africa replied that when Project Consolidate had been launched in 2004, it was termed as such precisely because the Department was at an appropriate stage in the transformation of local government where the primary task was to consolidate and stabilise what it had established in the first few years. There were two primary objectives: to roll out targeted hands on support to the 139 municipalities and secondly, the Department needed to engage in the process of policy refinement. Firstly when it comes to hand on support, for the first time since 2000 the Department managed to mobilise a range of social partners particularly from the private sector to come in to assist in dealing with the challenges in local government and it managed to deploy these professionals, experts, project managers, engineers in a range of areas and was able to see improvements in those areas.
Q: What was being done to address the large amount of Acting Directors General in various government Departments? What were the outstanding issues in relation to PERSAL wasn’t the system old and outdated?
A: Minister Baloyi replied that there were cases where having Acting Directors General had been instituted in Departments with good reasons. The following departments have Acting Directors-General: Arts and Culture, Water Affairs, Public Works, Trade and Industry, Higher Education, Labour and Communications. Regarding the revamp of PERSAL, the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) intervention introduced was being rolled out to deal with issues that were otherwise areas of weaknesses with regard to PERSAL. There was a plan which entailed rolling out IFMS in the project target period of five years. The Department was fast tracking the rollout of IFMS so that it could deal with the challenges posed.
Q: Would the
A: Minister Baloyi replied that the
Q: In the meeting that Minister Zuma was to hold with her Zimbabwean counterparts, would she able to garner the figures on how many Zimbabwean’s in the country were still awaiting passports?
A: Minister Zuma replied that she would hold a press conference on Tuesday of the following week and address those issues after having held a meeting with her counterparts.
Q: Was Minister Baloyi in support of the Department staff getting individual performance bonuses when the Department was failing to achieve its goals?
A: Minister Baloyi responded that he was against individuals getting bonuses when the Department as a whole was not achieving its mandate it made no sense and would not be permitted by him.
Q: Minister Baloyi, regarding the special anti-corruption unit – it sounds like this unit has been established to help speed up the disciplinary processes within the public service. Is that correct? If so, isn’t it a matter that if senior managers simply did their work, a new unit to assist them would not have to established?
A: Minister Baloyi replied that that was correct. The anti-corruption unit, it was true that the unit would, amongst other things, ensure that the Department deal with the finalisation of cases of corruption or misconduct so that people would not be suspended for long periods of time.
Q: DG Africa, late last year the Minister instructed his counterparts to draw up a report of district municipalities that are not viable and needed to be incorporated into larger municipalities. The deadline was the end of January 2011. Has this been done? Which district municipalities have been identified as being financially unviable?
A: Mr Africa responded that indeed such a task was given to our provincial colleagues. The Department was still awaiting information from the provinces on the relevant municipalities. The task was not just to identify district municipalities but any municipality which was not viable. The DG said that the Department would be able to provide feedback on this very soon.
The briefing was adjourned.
Notes for Governance and Administration Cluster Post SONA Media Briefing
The purpose of this media briefing is to provide more details on the pronouncements emanating from the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and to brief the nation on the plans of government for 2010.
The focus of the briefing is on key strategic projects of the Governance and Administration cluster as well as key policy issues driving the work of the cluster based on its outcomes. These include anti-corruption, National Identity campaign amongst others, national macro organisation of the state, Batho Pele programmes, gender and disability programmes, integrated public service and local government turnaround strategy.
The department continues to protect and verify the status of citizens and regulate migration in order to reduce corruption. In this regard, tighter controls and systems have been put in place to ensure that documents are produced and distributed securely.
Soon we will embark on campaigns to ensure that all citizens have their births registered and are issued with their first identity documents at the age of 16 years. We also aim to establish a culture and practice of registering all births. Our counter corruption measures would include building an integrated, modern, secure system and processes while cleaning up and maintaining a clean national population register.
Public Service and Administration (DPSA)
In fulfilling its role of building institutional capacity, specific to fighting corruption, the department will drive the following projects:
* Minimum Anti-Corruption Capacity (MACC) Audit and
* Anti-corruption capacity building programme, aimed at preventing, detecting and investigating corrupt and unethical practices in the workplace.
A total of 108 provincial departments and 36 national departments have been contacted for the minimum anti-corruption capacity audit, we are currently verifying information submitted by these departments. The audit will be finalised by end of this current financial year. A training programme on
Integrated public service
In terms of the norms and standards for all three spheres of government, a working team consisting of representatives of the Department of Public Service and Administration, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and South African Local Government Association (SALGA) will be convened to refine the current draft proposals on the norms and standards for all the three spheres of government. These proposals emanate from the research that was conducted on areas for harmonisation on norms and standards for human resource management between the different spheres of Government.
In addition to this we have also developed a draft Bill on Public Administration and Management that will provide the legislative basis for the further development of more detailed norms and standards on human resource management practices, as indicated in the November 2009 briefing. This process will lead to a set of Regulations that will augment the draft bill.
Gender and disability programmes
The cluster will intensify monitoring and evaluation measures for the implementation of the job access and gender equality strategic frameworks. This will be done with the view to attain 50 percent target of women in the senior management level and two percent target of people with disability in the public service.
We are reviewing the handbook on reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities in the public service and we will then develop a policy on reasonable accommodation and assistive devices in the public service. This will enable government efforts of promoting good governance in the Public Sector through building an effective and caring government.
Batho Pele Change Management Engagement programme
Batho Pele policy remains government's leading campaign to achieve the desired crucial transformation of the hearts and minds of the public servants. This is a public service culture re-orientation programme that is aimed at aligning the behaviour and attitudes of public servants towards the practice of Batho Pele ethos.
In order to intensify the implementation and impact of this policy, the Minister for Public Service and Administration has launched the "Batho Pele Impact Assessment" which seeks to strengthen the integrated implementation of Batho Pele and the impact thereof across the three spheres of government.
This will enhance partnerships, collaborations and better coordination towards the implementation of Batho Pele and intervene decisively and coherently in the economy and society to address social and economic developmental goals.
Each province has also been given one principle of Batho Pele to implement. The integrated service delivery for the implementation of Batho Pele impact assessment is linked to monthly service delivery themes. The annual Batho Pele Learning network made up of participation across the three spheres has been replaced by the Batho Pele Impact Assessment Network.
National Macro Organisation of the State
The Department of Public Service and Administration is engaging the provincial administrations to share the outcomes of National Macro Organisation of the State project, which gave administrative effect to the reconfiguration of national departments in line with the ministerial portfolios.
The purpose of the provincial visits is also to share lessons learned, including the configuration of affected departments, to promote alignment between the national and provincial spheres regarding processes and departmental configurations and to provide advice on request.
Personnel salary system (PERSAL) clean-up
The Department of Public Service and Administration has committed to develop a strategy and a guide on the management of PERSAL. A series of workshops are planned to popularize the strategy and guideline throughout all of government. This process will be monitored on a quarterly basis by a steering committee consisting of National Treasury, State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and Department of Public Service and Administration Governance Human Resource Management and Development.
Next generation e-government
The Department of Public Service and Administration has begun a process within national and provincial government to:
* Create awareness on progress made with respect to the next phase of e-government implementation
* Build a common understanding of what needs to be done as part of the next generation e-government implementation
* Garner support for the proposed next steps and
* Ultimately, secure commitment to realising our collective vision of enabling e-government and by so doing ensuring service improvement and better government.
Following several national and provincial consultative meetings, an agreement was reached on a proposal to develop a prototype of a transversal e-government platform. The platform would be transactional in nature and would automate and enable the six pro-poor services that straddle the Social and Justice Cluster.
These services are:
* application to register birth.
* application for an identity document.
* application for foster care grant
* application for an old age pension
* applications for a maintenance order and
* application to give notice of death
Review of the disciplinary hearings process in the public service
The management of discipline falls within the authority of individual departments. Problems with the disciplinary procedure can mainly be attributed to the application of the procedure rather than the procedure itself. One of the main principles of the disciplinary procedure is that discipline must be applied in a prompt, fair, consistent and progressive manner.
The procedure therefore provides for two disciplinary routes to be utilised, namely progressive discipline for less serious cases of misconduct and formal disciplinary hearings for serious cases. Long periods of precautionary suspension seem to be the biggest area of concern.
In terms of the procedure, a department must hold a disciplinary hearing within a month of an employee being placed on precautionary suspension. Where the investigation into the case requires a longer period and is complex, the precautionary suspension period can be extended to 60 days.
Unfortunately the MPSA does not have the power to force departments to adhere to the provisions. Departments are constantly encouraged to make every effort to finalise cases promptly.
Many reasons exist as to why disciplinary cases are not finalised promptly. Departments are often unable to finalise their investigations timeously, especially where forensic investigations are involved. In other cases the employee charged with misconduct frustrates the disciplinary process by not attending the disciplinary hearing and then tendering sick certificates. One of the main reasons for long precautionary suspensions is the appeal process.
In terms of the procedure, executive authorities must finalise appeal cases within 30 days. This rarely happens. The procedure was therefore amended to provide that if the appeal is not finalised in that period the employee must return to work and await the outcome while on duty.
To improve the area of discipline in the public service and especially the area of excessively long precautionary suspension periods, the possibility of setting up a disciplinary unit under the auspices of the Department of Public Service and Administration to assist departments in difficult and high profile disciplinary cases will be explored in the new financial year.
New provisions to the disciplinary procedure to prevent long periods of suspension will also be explored. It must be borne in mind that the disciplinary procedure is a negotiated procedure and that any amendments to the procedure would have to be taken through the negotiation process.
Development of the new public sector cadre
In order to ensure that the public sector cadre development initiative is fulfilled, minimum annual training days will be set aside for Public Service Cadre programme. Targeted mandatory training programmes and development will be set as a yard-stick to establish whether or not the Programme is making in-roads. It is envisaged that a single government entity will be established for the public sector. The entity will among others ensure that the programme in question is achieved.
MPSA will ensure the establishment of a comprehensive funding model for public sector training linked to skills development legislation to replace cost recovery approach. Minimum levels of training per annum for public sector officials in specific competency areas will be set. Government will introduce a national integrated public sector training system, covering the three spheres of government as well as streamlining the government-wide institutional landscape for public sector training.
Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs
Local government turnaround strategy
Local government in
* service delivery and infrastructure
* financial management
* relationship between municipal management and labour unions
* spatial conditions and
* local economic development
The assessments led to the compilation of the state of local government in
Further consultations with stakeholder groups led to the development of the local government turnaround strategy. The local government turnaround strategy was approved by Cabinet on 2 December 2009. Following the approval of the local government turnaround strategy by Cabinet in December, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is now in the process of rolling out the programme in the provinces in the following phases:
20 January and 9 February 2010: Provincial support teams undertook visits to municipalities to identify two of the most vulnerable municipalities per province which required urgent assistance from government.
10 February to 31st March 2010: The full roll-out of municipal turnaround strategies for priority or targeted municipalities as well as the completion of municipal turnaround strategies for all 283 municipalities in the country. The consolidation of the municipal turnaround strategy priorities with the integrated development plans and budgets of municipalities is critical in this phase.
1 April to 30 June 2010: Focus on provincially coordinated integrated development plans' analysis sessions to examine draft integrated development plans' and municipal turnaround strategies within them. During this phase the integrated development plans, and the budgets and service delivery budget implementation plans will be adopted by municipal councils.
1 July to 31 March 2011: MECs will comment on the commitments made to the integrated development plans. Implementation of the integrated development plans will go hand in hand with hands-on rapid response support processes, leveraging of stakeholder support and reporting and monitoring.
Operation Clean Audit 2014: To ensure that by 2014, all 283 municipalities and nine provincial government departments in
Clean Cities, Clean Towns campaign: To ensure citizen cities, towns and villages are clean and promoting the creation of wealth out of waste.
Debt collection and public mobilisation: To encourage a sense of responsibility among South Africans by calling on the nation to do the right things to make
Infrastructure and economic development: To accelerate service delivery by initiating programmes and projects aimed at eradicating infrastructure backlogs and ensuring co-ordination of all infrastructural projects in municipalities.
We have also undertaken working visits to first world countries that have particular expertise in integrated municipal information and communication technology (ICT) systems and e-governance.
The department appreciates the response of South Africans to the minister's call to 'come to the party, and be part of making Local Government efficient, effective, accountable and responsive'.
Civil society has responded to the clarion call.
A range of stakeholders have volunteered their professional services to support municipalities for example: South African Engineering Associations, the Institute for Municipal Financial Officers, some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and many other organisations and individuals).
As the process has moved to the municipalities, now we call upon citizens to ensure that you become part of the process
All members of this cluster are committed to coordinating the work of their respective departments in order to ensure an integrated approach to service delivery, governance that is aimed at improving government planning, decision making and the coordination of all government programmes at national, provincial and local government level.
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