Public Service: Minister's Budget Speech
26 May 2011
Budget Vote speech 2011/12 by the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Mr Masenyani Richard Baloyi, MP, at the event of the National Assembly debate, tabled in Cape Town
27 May 2011
The House Chairperson
The Deputy Minister of the Public Service and Administration
The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration
Honourable Members of the Portfolio Committee
Honourable Cabinet colleagues and Members of Parliament
The Chairperson of the Public Service Commission
Chairpersons of Boards of institutions associated with the Ministry
Senior leadership of our institutions
Leaders of the trade union movement present here
Ladies and gentlemen
We present before this Honourable House, a Budget Vote for the Ministry of Public Service and Administration for the 2011/12 financial year, in terms of which we are giving an account on the performance of the Ministry itself, the Department of the Public Service and Administration (DPSA), the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA), the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), the Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA) and the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS).
In financial terms, the Budget for the entire Ministry stands at R690,1 m, with R384,8 m allocated for the DPSA, R118 m for PALAMA, R151 m for the PSC, a share of R14,8 m of the DPSA allocation to the CPSI and R21 m for PSETA operational activities.
Both SITA and GEMS are self-sustaining and do not require allocations from the Ministry.
The PSETA’s funding under our control is limited to operational activities, while they draw assistance from the National Skills Fund to cater for skills development programmes.
Our work is focused on the minimum of having to realise one of the twelve outcomes in our outcomes-based performance approach, outcome 12, which instructs us to work under the theme: “An efficient, effective and development-oriented public service, and an empowered, fair and inclusive citizenship”.
The maximum focus of this Portfolio has to deal with all those issues that will ensure the total consolidation, stabilisation and activation of the state machinery around the sustenance of the values of our administration, as enshrined in our Constitution, and affecting all the three spheres of government as well as the state-owned entities, namely:
Promotion and maintenance of a high standard of professional ethics;
Promoting efficient, economic and effective use of resources;
Ensuring a developmental administration;
Ensuring that the needs of the people are responded to;
Maintaining an accountable public administration
Enforcing a public administration representative of the people of this country.
The PSC continues to monitor compliance with these values through annual reports on the State of the Public Service.
We know that we still have departments that find it optional to respond to findings of the PSC and, like we indicated in our debate last year, our Deputy Minister is representing us in leading compliance in this regard, through the reports of the PSC.
These constitute the mandate of the Ministry of Public Service and Administration, lest we forget, and for those who only know us as a Ministry of salaries, hiring and firing.
In order to realise these values, we set ourselves to embark on the following activities:
Improve service delivery quality and accessibility
Maintain effective systems, structures and processes
Leverage information technology as a strategic resource enabler
Eliminate barriers of entry into the public service and facilitate effective entry and cadre development
Encourage effective human resource management practices through norms and standards
Promote a healthy and safe working environment for all public servants
Ensure appropriate governance structures
Citizen engagements and public participation
Fighting corruption effectively, and
Contributing towards improved public service and administration in Africa and the international arena.
The Ministry continues to deal with issues across the public service in discharging our mandate. Few examples in this regard include the following:
We are reviewing the Ministerial handbook. This handbook is an instrument providing guidelines on dealing with matters related to the benefits and privileges to which the following categories of public officials and their families are entitled: Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Premiers, Members of Executive Councils, Presiding Officers and Deputy Presiding Officers of Parliament.
The main focus of the review is to standardise the interpretation of the handbook, to amend sections thereof and give more space to concentrate resources in the delivery of services, as well as to provide for categories of those officials and their families that are not taken care of in the current dispensation, such as those officials with disabilities.
We have a draft amended version of the handbook, after thorough consultation with all the interested parties and benchmarking with several countries in the continent and in the world.
We referred the draft amended version to Cabinet for authorisation that we call for public participation in shaping the final version, more especially that there is public expectation that this responsive government will deal with this matter for whatever loophole has been identified. If all progresses according to our plans, we will go public on the issues raised in the review document during the Public Service week next month.
The point we want to stress in this regard is that we are not placing ourselves at a centre of determining the tools of trade and financial support for those officials, but that we are providing for administrative instruments of control so that there is no room for such to be used out of context, intention and spirit for their development.
It is important for us to say so because we know that, as a country, we created a commission that deals with those issues as determining the tools of trade for our public officials to do their work.
We continue to intervene in situations where there are disputes between Executive Authorities and Accounting Officers at national and provincial level so that our resolve on value-laden processes is not compromised at all levels.
Through these interventions, we have managed to influence the transfer of some of the officials who, in the interest of the public and effective service delivery.
We also managed to facilitate early exit of some of the officials for the same reasons although informed by different circumstances.
This is not an easy task, as at often times we spend more time dealing with one case, due to the fact that our first call is to find amicable settlements to such matters.
It should not be forgotten that ours is a government subscribing to the rule of law and the rule of administrative law, in terms of which there is nothing like arbitrary application of sanctions, and that all have a right to be heard and to seek recourse to the courts of this country.
We are proud that in this difficult situation, we acquitted ourselves so well that we have more of these cases concluded administratively and not through the courts of law.
The main point in this regard is that we always strive to have a balance between the Executive Authorities and Accounting Officers so that the political-administrative inter-phase between them is always at the interest of accelerating service delivery, and that where there is a serious and irretrievable breakdown of relationships, the solution should not be counterproductive and compromise values.
I want to state here that the Ministry is including this aspect in our project of repositioning the public service, so that we manage this effectively, and if it will take the amendment of the Public Service Act to do so, we are prepared to champion that course.
Our Deputy Minister is leading this project in a mission informed by the desire to further position the entire public service to deliver in this, our developmental state.
We will achieve this by creating a conducive environment for the public service to be what we envisage, as well as better managing the human resource processes from recruitment to retirement.
Still on Ministry responsibilities, we are vigilantly taking the fight forward to ensure compliance with the values of our administration at the local sphere of government.
In this regard, we will work closely with relevant departments to ensure that the provision of the Constitution is realised that the values of administration find expression in whatever we do at all the three spheres of our government and state-owned entities.
Soon, our Deputy Minister will lead us in unveiling a programme of action to deal with this matter.
The idea here is to give effect to the commitments we made as the government led by the African National Congress, to build better communities through the delivery of better services to the people at that coal-face.
As the classical English saying has it, “strike while the iron is still hot”, we believe that ours is to make a mark to ensure that what remains in peoples’ minds after the victory celebrations for the local government elections recently held, is smart and faster working for accelerated service delivery and clean governance.
We are taking serious the fight against corruption at the public service level.
We established the Anti-Corruption Unit with a view to fight the scourge through all efforts at our disposal.
As we talk about this issue we refer to what entomologists would say in charactering an insect called a wasp. They say that:
A wasp has a lifetime stinging capability unlike a bee which has one.
It has the capacity of transforming itself and evolving to survive.
Once stung by a wasp, you become very scared of it.
A wasp only attacks when confronted or its nest is threatened.
It has the competency of targeting and never misses.
Wasps come in different shapes and sizes, and hit their targets accordingly. We know of wasp-the-elephant, which stings strongly, no matter how big the target is. We know of wasp-the-donkey, which will put on the run even a stubborn target. We know of wasp-the-juvenile which attacks at the fastest speed no-one can evade.
La’va va nga risa tihomu ku fana na mina va swi tsundzuka leswaku laha u nga tshama u luma hi mimpfi kona, ungo ya ntsena loko xolwe a sindzisa. Swi ta va tano eka Mfumo. La’vo yiva, la’vo tirhisa swiyimo swa vona ku tifumisa swi nga fambi hi ndlela, la’vo rhangela hi lunya ro tikisela vanhu hi ndlela yo hlota nseketelo eka ntlangu wa vukungundwana (patronage) va ta tshwela.
Ku hambana eka mimpfi ya hina na le’ya ntumbuluko hi leswaku mimpfi ya hina yi ta luma na vaxolwe, naswona yi na vuswikoti byo landza ni hi masema.
We are going to elaborate on the success stories of the unit during the Public Service week next month to which you are welcome to participate.
We warn all those involved including corruptors, corruptees and environment-manipulators, that they better not find themselves on our list, for it will be hot.
Public Service Induction is one of the key mandatory programmes that PALAMA is currently rolling out.
There is Public Service induction (PSI) for non SMS members and Wamkelekile which is induction for senior management members. PALAMA has converted Wamkelekile to be available on an E–learning platform for those senior managers who cannot attend the classroom phase.
It is critical to note that the induction programme that PALAMA provides for new entrants into our public service, as well as the re-induction programme is meant to ensure the inculcation and sustenance of the values and attributes of a public service cadre.
Notable also is the fact that PALAMA will soon become a preparatory school for our public servants.
To mention a few, ninety gender mainstreaming training sessions were conducted with 1 866 officials being trained recently.
Furthermore, twenty new PALAMA courses were assessed for gender sensitivity and inclusivity.
Chairperson, we created SITA as an Agency to achieve cost-saving by facilitating bulk buying of Information Technology (IT) services, coordinating partnership between government and industry players, as well as improving IT accessibility by the public.
We will give a targeted record of SITA performance during the presentation of the same budget at the National Council of Provinces in two weeks time, under the theme SITA today, SITA tomorrow, SITA to the future, where we will give an account as to why we embarked on a turnaround strategy, what the strategy entails, what we achieved through the strategy and what we are doing to consolidate the gains arising from the strategy.
On 4 June 2010, we launched the Multi-Media Innovation Centre. The Innovation Centre provides a learning platform for the public sector on innovation implementation, in support of government’s efforts to entrench the culture and practice of innovation to improve service delivery. It is a walk-through centre that, amongst other things, showcases public sector innovation and provides a safe environment to incubate and test solutions that improve or enhance service delivery.
In our budget debate last year, we indicated that the CPSI, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education and the South African National Council for the Blind, has developed an appropriate assistive device for visually impaired teachers that will assist them to function more independently in the education environment.
Today we are reporting that training material was designed and developed and training conducted in four provinces, and that from October 2010 to February 2011, twenty assistive devices were piloted and tested by visually impaired teachers throughout the country.
The project is now ready to be handed over to the Department of Basic Education.
For this Financial Year, the PSETA has planned four critical projects, the Integrated Rural Youth Project in partnership with DPSA, the North West Unemployed Youth Empowerment project, Training Co-operatives project and the Military Veterans project, which focuses on up-skilling veterans in tour guiding or new venture creations.
Ladies and gentlemen, as members of Parliament would be aware, government, as employer, established GEMS to address the historic imbalances and inequities in respect of the provision of conditions of service to public service employees.
These inequities and imbalances were identified in the 1999 Personnel Expenditure Review as well as by the Public Sector trade unions and by the majority of public service employees, who were black and female, and who did not have the privilege of accessing medical scheme subsidies.
Let us also not lose sight of Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) Resolution 7 of 2000 where the employer and labour agreed to investigate the restructuring of medical assistance for public service employees. Besides inequity, the high costs of open medical schemes, the poor governance arrangements in open schemes, and the absent influence over control of the quality of services provided were additional and significant weaknesses identified in the historic system.
Without bias or exaggeration, we are pleased to advise that GEMS has grown exponentially over its five years of operation and now covers over 555 000 members throughout the public service – and over 1 500 000 beneficiaries or 3% of our population.
The GEMS story, ladies and gentlemen, is a story of success in partnership between the government as employer and organised labour, and I am proud to announce that we continue to work together to deal with such important issues as the restructuring of the scheme’s administration as well as labour representation on the Board, in terms of which organised labour will play a role in determining labour representative membership.
Allow me Chairperson, as I conclude, to introduce a topic to be considered as food-for-thought for all of us present here, and I do so as I confirm that it is true that the wage negotiations are on between government and labour at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining council.
As usual, it is not easy. We continue to work hard as government and organised labour to conclude the negotiations without any disruptions to services.
The issue for our homework is that we are starting a campaign called “My public servant, My future”, in terms of which we will accelerate employer-employee contact and information-sharing, reflections on the general issues around the state at which our public servants work and are compensated, the services that our public servants are delivering, the role of civil society, academia, traditional institutions, legislative bodies, institutions supporting constitutional democracy, and others, in answering questions related to the state of our public servants, all with a view to find each other, and possibly contribute in finding solutions that conventional wisdom, systems and practices are not providing.
In conclusion ladies and gentleman, our resolve to deepen good governance transcends beyond our borders, hence our championing of, among others, the following:
African Peer Review mechanism, Post-conflict reconstruction and development in affected countries in the continent, United Nations convention against corruption, organisation for economic cooperation and development.
Mutshami wa Xitulu,
Le’xi nga heriki xa hlola
Issued by: Department of Public Service and Administration
27 May 2011
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