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PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
01 August 2007
DEPARTMENT’S INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY
Chairperson: Mr P Gomomo
Documents handed out:
DPSA’s International Work
Audio recording of meeting
The DPSA briefed the committee on its African Agenda, South-South Cooperation and Bilateral and Exchange Programmes. Detail was provided on the Pan-African Ministers’ Programme on Governance and Public Administration, Regional and International Anti-corruption Co-operation and DRC Post-Conflict and Reconstruction efforts. Challenges faced by the department were highlighted and possible roles that the Committee could play in assisting DPSA were outlined. The Committee questioned whether monitoring mechanisms were in place to ensure African states were complying with signed instruments and were participating in programmes. The Committee requested a workshop so that it could be fully informed on DPSA issues.
The DPSA delegation was as follows: Mr Richard Levin Director-General, Dr Ellen Kornegay Deputy Director General: Governance, Mr Ruan Kitsoff Chief Director: Corruption, Mr L Rabkin and Dr Kealeboga Maphunye Director: International Affairs.
The Director-General commenced the briefing with an overview and introduction to the department’s international work. The DPSA’s international programme had the main objective of SA being able to discharge its international obligations through the consolidation of the African Agenda, the promotion of South-South co-operation, fighting corruption and promoting peace and security.
The objective of the African Agenda was to establish a programme on governance and public administration, which needed to be linked with broader international objectives: hence the Pan–African Ministers’ Programme on Governance and Public Administration. Objectives of the programme were to establish and implement a focussed continental programme on governance and public administration, and to establish a link between governance and public administration capabilities and the broader developmental agenda within the continent. A Secretariat had been formed which provided the co-ordination framework of the Ministers’ programme. The programmes were in essence that of the African Union and it was tasked with a monitoring and co-ordination function. NEPAD was considered more of an implementing agency. SA currently filled the Chairperson’s Office. It was pointed out that SA was by no means the only champion of the programme. Nigeria, Burundi, Algeria and Mauritius were also involved.
Dr Kornegay then discussed the specific elements of the programme for African ministries. Africa Public Service Day was the first which was celebrated throughout the continent every June 23. The aim was to promote values such as professionalism, accountability, responsiveness, ethics and performance of the public service. The idea was to popularise the day in a phased approach. Firstly within countries on a national level and thereafter on a continental level.
An African Public Service Charter had also been initiated with the aim of enhancing governance and public administration capacity and effectiveness. Progress on the charter had been made and it was even reviewed and updated at a SADC workshop held in SA in July 2007. At the workshop the SA model was adopted for replication to other regions in the continent.
A Public Sector Innovations Awards was launched in December 2005 with a view to promote regional integration, reward innovative service delivery models, promote and replicate best practices in the public sector through the showcasing of African innovation on the global scene.
Collaboration with Regional Economic Communities (REC) was encouraged. The aim was to strengthen the role of REC’s in supporting public sector reform. To date a conceptual framework had been developed. Greater emphasis on information and communication technology was to be encouraged in order to help breach the digital divide amongst African member states.
Mr Kitsoff continued with an explanation of regional and international anti-corruption co-operation and the evolution of the anti-corruption programme. SA’s leadership role in the area of anti-corruption had evolved over time. SA remained a key international role player within the anti-corruption arena in Africa and the rest of the world. Between 2001 and 2003 the DPSA led the negotiations on the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. It also assisted the SADC Secretariat with the development of the SADC Regional Anti-Corruption Programme. Progress on anti-corruption within the African Agenda was achieved by the establishment of an Africa Organising Committee to assist with organisation and planning for Africa and Global Forums on Fighting Corruption.
Dr Kornegay touched on post conflict and reconstruction work that had been done in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with the aim of rebuilding the DRC's public service. The project in the DRC had affirmed that an initial and upfront outlay of resources ensured a speedy entry into transformation in post-conflict situations.
She also gave an overview of the DPSA’s South-South Collaboration initiatives which currently focused on the work of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum.
Dr Kornegay stated that there were emerging bilateral and exchange programmes aimed at promoting regional integration and supporting the African agenda. Many countries had visited the DPSA to share lessons on the transformation of the South African Public Service. To date countries such as India, Brazil, China, Bolivia, Pakistan and Thailand had visited the DPSA with a view of establishing bilateral relations.
The DG concluded the briefing by highlighting some of the challenges faced by the Department. AU and NEPAD capacity, member states' commitment and infrastructure challenges were amongst the challenges identified. He then suggested the role that the Committee could play in the programme by providing political support and guidance at national level and supporting budgetary vote allocations to the programme.
The Chair asked if each country had monitoring groups that ensured adherence to decisions that had been taken. He felt that if each country had a monitoring committee, the various committees would be able to meet to discuss issues of adherence to decisions that had been taken. Mr Gomomo also asked whether there was co-ordination.
The DG conceded that monitoring and co-ordination was a challenge. A common framework for monitoring and co-ordination of instruments that had been signed was in its beginning stage. Systematic monitoring would therefore unfold. The challenge with co-ordination was how to sustain the programme whilst at the same time stepping away from the leadership role. The idea was not for SA to consolidate its leadership role. There was a need to recognise that continental and regional structures needed strengthening.
Mr M Baloyi (ANC) referred to African Day celebrations and asked what were the experiences and lessons learnt. He asked to what extent was the rest of Africa on board and actively participating or was it merely showcasing. Mr Baloyi referred to the African Public Service Charter and asked whether Africa was at 40% of where it should ideally be. He asked whether SA was considered a post conflict country, given its past. He considered SA to be a post conflict country as it faced similar challenges as other post conflict countries did. He asked to what extent was SA striking a balance in terms of the allocation of resources and abilities. On the issue of corruption in Africa SA had been the first to accede to the OECD Convention. Mr Baloyi asked whether SA was a fast mover or was the rest of Africa slow. He felt the south-south co-operation agreements to be very important. Were monitoring mechanisms in place to check on whether parties were indeed co-operating? Reference was made to the memorandum of understanding signed between SA and India and the claims by either party that the other was not co-operating. He proposed that monitoring structures be sharpened. Mr Baloyi commented that the major challenge of DPSA should be on how to get all of Africa on board rather than entrenching SA’s role as leader in Africa. He suggested that there should be inter-parliamentary participation amongst the African states.
Dr Kornegay noted that in the past DPSA had received reports on what regions had done on Africa Public Service Day. The most extensive reports had been received from SADC countries. She stated that it was difficult to spell out exactly what each country did. Earlier comments on the marketing of the day firstly at national and thereafter at continental level were reiterated.
Dr Kornegay stated that the Public Service Charter had to still pass through the AU policy organs. Swaziland had submitted the charter to its cabinet. SA had not begun with the process of domestication of the charter, as it was yet to go through the policy organs of the AU.
Mr Levin said that SA did have some attributes of a post conflict state. Burundi and South Sudan were considered to be hectic post conflict states. The DG stated that perhaps the developmental character of SA could be emphasised. The debate as to whether SA could be considered a post conflict state was considered important.
Mr Kitsoff said that it was not about whether SA was faster than the rest of Africa in acceding to corruption conventions. It was done within the spirit of the drive against corruption.
Mr K Khumalo (ANC) asked the department to provide the Committee with information on the Department’s activities so that the interaction between DPSA and the Committee could be meaningful.
Mr Nyambi (ANC) asked why the secretariat had not attended the SADC workshop hosted by SA. In the briefing, countries that had visited DPSA had been mentioned but no mention was made of countries visited by DPSA. He also asked whether there was a common definition for corruption.
The Committee's need for information was once again brought up.
Dr Kornegay responded that the idea was to have a meeting with the SADC Secretariat in Gabarone to discuss the outcomes of the workshop that had been held in SA.
Mr Levin responded that within the context of Global Forum 5 and 6, parameters were set on what constituted corruption. Corruption was considered a complex phenomenon as it had many different forms and manifestations. The DG stated that corruption at a definitional level had been taken forward.
The Chair highlighted that the Committee felt that greater information was needed from the Department and suggested that perhaps a workshop could be organised. He felt that the Committee needed to be educated on DPSA issues.
Mr Baloyi reiterated that greater interaction between the Committee and DPSA was needed if a way forward was to be found.
The meeting was adjourned.
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