Minister of Public Service and Administration, NSG, PSC Budget Speech, responses by ANC, DA & FF+


20 May 2021

Budget Vote

Parliament of South Africa

20 May 2021



Honourable House Chairperson;

Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Hon. Sindisiwe Chikunga;

Ministers and Deputy Ministers;

Honourable Members of Parliament, in particular the Chairperson and Members of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration;

Chairpersons of the Public Service Commission and GEMS;

Chairperson of the Public Sector Education & Training Authority

Chairperson of the APRM National Governing Council;

Directors-General and all Senior Executives;

Our Esteemed guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Fellow South Africans;


Honourable House Chairperson,

Thank you for this opportunity to present the Budget Vote of the Portfolio.

  1. In July 2019, shortly after assuming Office, I presented the Budget Vote of the DPSA, highlighting five key priorities within the department, namely:
  • resistant fault lines in public service administration;
  • full implementation of the Public Administration Management Act (also known as “PAMA”);
  • achieving higher levels of stability in the public service;
  • fighting corruption; and
  • policy implementation.
    1. It was clear that we needed to intensify our efforts in identifying opportunities to make progress on the five priorities but also, more challenges, and address them. Overall, the quality of public service requires consistent and sustainable improvement.
  1. Our theme this year is: “Towards an ethical, capable and developmental State - a critical look at the public service space”; this flows from the President’s intervention in the 2021 State of the Nation Address (SONA), where the President said: “We remain on course to build a capable and professional civil service that delivers on its mandate and is accountable to the South African people”.
  2. South Africa’s aspirations as an ethical, capable and developmental State should be understood in the context of a nation yearning for better life - post liberation. This resonates well with a consolidated meaning of such as: “A State with capacity to intervene in the economy, sustainable development, effecting sustainable programmes to address unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment, with attention on vulnerable groups in society.  We are convinced that all of this is within reach.
  3. There have been louder, more decisive calls for accountability, transparency, improved performance, citizenry satisfaction and government legitimacy. This will require a sober and a well balanced approach, which will enable us to advance and meet the expectations placed on public service, from all perspectives.

Public service must come of age and be accountable on its own!



  1. The post-Apartheid public service had to be transformed from being tailor-made to suit a racist State and its dark objectives, to one that would serve our newly acquired democracy and put its people first. This transformation has gone relatively well and South Africa has achieved a lot in this regard. Indeed, the general orientation of public service today, is serving all the people of South Africa, without discrimination of any form; but the question confronting us, is whether the public service is ethical, has integrity, and is capacitated to serve the needs and interests of a developmental State. That is the challenge of the public service sector as a whole – inside and outside Government.


  1. We need to be bold and open to the fact that the image of the public service today, notwithstanding its general orientation, is still tainted by a number of negative perceptions, such as low professionalism, low innovation and productivity, low level of skills and qualifications, laziness (ubuvila, go tswafa, ka seTswana), incompetence and corruption. Secondly, it still has traits of low capacity to translate public pronouncements into actionable policy and delivery, in the interests of the people. The other perception that continues to stigmatise the public service is a sub-culture of “sophisticated capture” and corruption. Do all our Accounting Officers and Supply Chain Managers have resilience against rot and corruption? Is anyone guilty?


Honourable House Chairperson, if the desired impact of a transformed public service is to be felt, the current situation of a declining economy, and the state of the fiscus, need to improve – for the better!




There a number of interventions that we are implementing; we highlight but a few.




  1. The three spheres of government are required to provide effective, transparent, accountable and coherent governance in the country. This requires that the spheres respect each other’s powers and functions, while striving to work together in a meaningful way, to maximise service delivery impact for the citizens.


  1. South Africa needs a Single Public Administration and a Single Public Service. The broad objective of the Single Public Administration (Service) is to improve the State capacity and capability in accordance with the National Development Plan (NDP) and the objects of section 195 of the Constitution. The Single Public Administration does not seek to undermine the distinctiveness of local government as a sphere, rather, it seeks to improve the manner in which the spheres interrelate and to provide for the harmonisation of systems, conditions of service and norms between the public service in the national and provincial spheres on the one hand, and the municipalities on the other. The creation of a Single Public Administration seeks to correct and harmonise unnecessary fragmentations.


  1. To this end, the Public Administration Management Bill facilitates and transforms systems and mechanisms for service delivery to ensure that there is smooth and seamless service delivery at and between all spheres of government through the alignment of human resource, governance and related arrangements in the three spheres of government, and should result into improved accountability.




  1. There is an urgent need to review the current dispensation in the public service and in our view, we need a transitional period to a new dispensation. There are four principles that need to underlie the envisaged conditions of service, namely: fairness, equity, affordability and transparency. The current dispensation does not promote workable relations within the public service space, instead, it encourages strained relations and unnecessary antagonism. We welcome the idea of a summit on public service in South Africa and are committed to it.




  1. Apart from the four principles identified above, our analysis of the public service space is that there are 4 components that must be considered all the time when grappling with issues in the public service, namely: 


  • The Citizens – they are the first law – they are Alpha and Omega. The dominant perception of the citizens, about Government, the services they receive and about public servants is not wholly positive. They also generally do not wholly feature in the public service space, except as complainants, demonstrators and victims of many negative social forces. This needs to be corrected!


  • Government – Government’s main currency is legitimacy, honesty, trust, accountability and delivery on undertakings.  On these, Government needs to feature most positively in the public service space.


  • The third component are the Services themselves, which is the content of the contract between citizens and their Government. Government services, both in extent and quality, are a mixed bag currently, characterised by, amongst others, negativity in relation to, services to the poor, needy, and vulnerable.


  • The last component are the Public Servants. While certain negative perceptions exists and persist about public servants, as alluded to earlier on, it is correct to say, that in practise and in reality, the majority of public servants are hardworking, honest, dedicated to servicing the people of South Africa and we want to encourage this and distance them from those who are prone to wrongdoing. We would want to state for the record, that we do not have overall, a bloated public service however, we need to address the wage bill and increase the number of public servants in some sectors such as education, police and health.  





  1. The current Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS) remains a challenge, especially in relation to the following:


  • It currently only benefits over Three Hundred thousand public servants, where it could be benefiting even a much higher number.
  • Although initiated with good intentions, it does not have favourable provisions with regards to loans, terms of repayment and interest rates;


  • It is not designed to accommodate various, problematic financial situations which some public servants find themselves in;


  • It does not address other various needs, such as temporal location as a result of work etc.,


  • Terms in relation to other stakeholders are problematic.


The department has embarked on corrective measures in this regard and the matter will be discussed at the PSCBC very soon to ensure that the current weaknesses and gaps are corrected.





  1. The overall objective of the Human Resource Development Strategic Framework is to contribute towards the achievement of an ethical, capable and developmental State, through the establishment of policies, structures and operational processes necessary for developing capable and high performing employees.
  2. It aims to anchor and focus the various interventions by departments aimed at building the capacity of public servants, by providing direction in the form of key strategic objectives, key focus areas, potential activities which can be undertaken to achieve the objectives and the expected performance indicators which will manifest when the Framework is implemented as envisaged.


Currently, we are consulting on the Framework and in two months, it will be presented to Cabinet.




  1. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, provides that within the public administration, there is a public service, which must inter alia, be structured in terms of national legislation. The Public Service Act dates back to 1994, and whilst there have been amendments to it, the ever evolving times we live in necessitate the need to have a complete review of the legal prescripts which govern the public service.


  1. Some of the areas currently addressed in the Public Service Amendment Bill include: augmentation of the functions of the Director-General in the Presidency to include the functions envisaged by the NDP for an administrative head of the public service, powers assigned to executive authorities and heads of department and an amendment to section 38 to provide an alternate mechanism for departments to lawfully deduct overpaid remuneration from an employee’s salary.




  1. Financial misconduct arising from corruption, fraud, fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure and theft need to be addressed and curbed. To this end, we expect the Auditor-General to assert their position and intensify their actions as empowered by the Public Audit Act. We cannot continue to have these negative actualities characterise our Government. Over and above this expectation is that all executive authorities will take responsibility for their audit outcomes and apply the relevant consequence management processes because fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure, etc., are no longer a rhetoric.


As a lead department in compliance matters, we are happy to report that we have achieved a clean audit in the past financial year!







  1. With effect from 1 April 2019, through a Proclamation issued by the President, section 15 of PAMA became operational, resulting in the establishment of the Public Administration, Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit (TAU), which is tasked with, amongst others, building capacity within institutions to initiate and institute disciplinary proceedings into misconduct.


  1. Two critical and recent contributions by this Unit include the rollout of the Guide to Implement Lifestyle Audits in the Public Service and the Guide on Managing Discipline in the Public Service. In addition, we have established the Discipline Management Hotline as an initiative to assist both employees and departments to manage discipline matters.




  1. What we envisage as a result of these interventions, is amongst others:


  • the maximisation of good practices in the public service;
  • optimisation on efficiency;
  • a balance between improvements in conditions of service and service delivery to the citizens; and
  • the achievement of a sustainable budget to accomplish government’s economic recovery plan.




  1. COVID-19 has taught us a number of valuable lessons: firstly, it has shown us the capability of public servants, in that, more work can be done with a lesser staff complement but also, officials are able to work from home; evidencing that equipping public servants with the relevant tools of trade is a vital and beneficial investment. One of the biggest weaknesses we have discovered is the lack of a ‘Remote working policy’ – one that will ensure the regularity of this aspect in the public service – even beyond COVID-19. The department is at work compiling such a policy.  In addition to this, one of the other lessons is the need to fast-track our technological advances, given the progression of 4IR (the Fourth Industrial Revolution).






Honourable House Chairperson,


  1. APRM


  1. South Africa is a Member State of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), is currently the Chair of the APRM and has the Minister for Public Service and Administration serving as Chair of the APR Committee of Focal Points.  Most Member States in the Continent have embraced the Mechanism, with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) becoming the 41st Member State to voluntarily accede to the Mechanism; we are striving for universal accession by 2023.


  1. Back home, the National Governing Council (NGC), is fully functional and has developed the draft of the country self-assessment report. Consultations on the APRM Base Report that was adopted by the National Governing Council on 17 March 2021 are currently underway to ensure that South Africa completes its 2nd Generation Country Review process by the end of this financial year.


The other program of the DPSA is the E-Government Services and Information Management, which the Deputy Minister will deal with later. The Deputy Minister will also reflect on other entities that support the work of the department.


  1. National School of Government


  1. In an effort to improve the capacity of public servants, the mandate of the National School of Government (the NSG) was expanded to the three spheres of government, State-Owned Enterprises as well as the legislative sector. As a strategy, the NSG has sought to partner with a number of public Higher Education Institutions and there is progress.


  1. The NSG is implementing a service delivery model and is in the process of developing a service delivery charter to confirm its commitments and standards to service delivery.


  1. New innovative features that the NSG has introduced are webinars, which are gaining popularity among public servants as well as the Master Classes. It was a proud moment for the Ministry and the NSG when, for the first time, a sitting President and a number of Ministers and Deputy Ministers attended a master class held by the NSG. This event was also televised live on national TV.


  1. The future positioning of the NSG points to a digital future, fast tracked by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the NSG is now at a point of no return. Mindful of the fact that many public servants may not be able to access digital learning, the NSG is continuing to pursue interventions for zero-rating applications for its online programmes.


  1. With regard to the professionalisation of the public service, I wish to inform you that Cabinet approved the publication of the draft national Implementation Framework on 18 November 2020, which was subsequently published for public comments. We have received a significant amount of written submissions and inputs from all sectors of society, and this process has reaffirmed government’s commitment to openness, transparency and consultation. We are now forging ahead, and I am appointing a high-level task team to review all the inputs and make recommendations before we finalise the framework to Cabinet.


  1. Public Service Commission


  1. The Public Service Commission (PSC) is in the process of repositioning the Office of the Public Service Commission (OPSC), a national department as defined in the Public Service Act, 1994, as amended, to be a Secretariat for the PSC, in terms of the PSC Act, as a means of strengthening the independence of the PSC.


  1. The intention amongst others, is that the mandate of the PSC be expanded to go beyond the Public Service to address Public Administration matters, inclusive of Local Government and Public Entities. A draft Bill has been developed to this effect.


  1. In the development process, there have been various consultations on the intention and substance of the Business Case and draft Bill. Consultations have also been done with the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Chief State Law Advisor, National Treasury, Bargaining Forum and other relevant stakeholders. There is a need to improve the integrity of the Commission.


  1. The National Anti-Corruption Hotline (NACH) continues to provide a ‘one-stop’ mechanism for members of the public to report acts of corruption and creates an opportunity for different role-players to cooperate better in receiving and handling allegations of misconduct. Indeed, the NACH has turned out to be a widely used mechanism to report corruption, and the PSC has witnessed an increase in the level of its utilisation.


  1. As a result of the enhancement of the NACH through the GCIS and utilisation of Criminal Asset Recovery Account (CARA), the PSC has noted an increase in the reporting of cases. During the reporting period, a total of 872 NACH cases were lodged with the PSC and referrals were made to the relevant departments.


The PSC will continue to promote and monitor compliance with constitutional values and principles in the course of rendering of services to the public.




  1. When it comes to budget, we are the least budget-consuming department, with a joint budget of Five Hundred and Twenty Six Million, One Hundred and Ninety Two Thousand Rand having been allocated to the DPSA and CPSI in the 2021/2022 financial year. The NSG will be working with a budget of Two Hundred and Ten Million Rand whilst the PSC has a budget of Two Hundred and Eighty Two Million, Four Hundred and Five Thousand Rand. We are hoping to make the most out of it. We have experienced a number of budget cuts in the past financial year, which have slowed down some of our programmes. We request the support of the House for this budget vote.


In conclusion, we would like to register our commitment and determination to ensuring that the public service in South Africa improves and becomes innovative, productive and competitive – in all respects.


Kea leboga! Thank you!