Public Management Watch & Project Khaedu: Department briefing

Share this page:

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

15 June 2007

Chairperson: Mr P Gomomo (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Public Management Watch presentation by Mr Henk Serfontein
Project Khaedu and Project Bathu Pele presentation by Dr Zwelakhe Tshandu

Audio Recordings of the meeting

The Committee was briefed by the Department of Public Service and Administration on two projects. Public Management Watch (PMW) was an initiative that examined the working environment, diagnosed potential problems, and enabled action in areas needing change. It addressed bottlenecks, led to a culture of continuous learning and peer review. It had been operative since December 2005 and had provided quarterly reports. Well-performing departments would be paired with and would assist those performing poorly. A detailed summary of the developments was given, and graphs on trends were presented. The recommended intervention groupings were housing and local government with focus on the department of Provincial and Local Government framework, roads, works and transport departments, and the Eastern Cape province. It was intended to enhance the assessment and intervention methods, and roll out of an awareness campaign. Members raised questions on whether the new Public Service Amendment Bill would alleviate problems, the problems with the staff system not correctly reflecting the vacancies, the remedial actions taken so far, what was done with the information, relationships with the Public Service Commission and South African Management Development Institute. Further questions related to how recommendations were enforced, the causes of delayed payments, the faults in the PERSAL system, the findings in regard to particular provinces, the long-standing vacancies, the pairing mechanism, remedial actions taken, problems with sick leave and absenteeism. There was a need for further follow up with the Department.

The Project Khaedu was introduced in 2004 as an attempt to enforce the Batho Pele principles of improved service delivery in the public service, based on the principle of putting people first. Project Khaedu consisted of a training course coupled with deployment. It was directed at the leadership of government departments. Senior Managers were first trained with practical case studies for four and a half days, then deployed under supervision to various areas where they would analyse service delivery problems and write reports. Training would now be more co-ordinated, and speak to the necessary competencies, being directly aligned with the DPSA initiatives on Service Delivery Improvement Plans. Core modules included process design and business maths, strategy and organisation effectiveness, budgets and controls, people management and communicating for results. Over 1 000 senior managers had participated and the feedback was good. It was likely to be extended to local government to supplement and enhance Project Consolidate. The challenge was to harness improvements and best practices and turn them into implementation nation-wide. Many Departments were not sufficiently involved, and the remaining SMS members must be encouraged to attend the courses. Members asked questions on the implementation of the practical assignments, and how these fitted together with the workflow, the possibility of compulsory training, the need to increase the attendance, the core competencies, capacity to carry out instruction and training, the need to address human resource issues and the problems of under spending and the approach to recruitment.

Public Management Watch Briefing by Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA)

Dr Ellen Komegay, Deputy Director-General, Department of Public Service and Administration, indicated that the Public Management Watch (PMW) was an indicator-focused initiative within the Department (DPSA). It and diagnosed the working environment within the public service, enabling Government to identify and act in areas needing change. The PMW therefore would identify potential problems, and then work with departments to remedy them. This would in turn improve the public service by addressing bottlenecks, facilitate a culture of continuous learning and improvement and peer review mechanisms. A number of sources, were used, drawing human resources information from PERSAL, financial records from the Auditor General's reports, and other related data sources. The PMW had been running since December 2005 and had provided quarterly reports. It was proposed that well-performing departments would in time be paired with those in need of assistance. Preliminary indicators on sick leave and annual leave emphasised that in some cases there were particular challenges, although these might not affect good functionality in other areas. The indicators that were to be shown in the graphs were based on data as at end of March 2007. The areas to be analysed included the capability of the infrastructure to support the collection and analysis of information, whether there was the correct number of adequately skilled personnel, and the quality of the data. Administration and management procedures and capabilities would also be addressed.

Mr Henk Serfontein, Director, DPSA, proceeded to give a detailed summary of the developments, and presented graphs on trends from December 2005 to March 2007. The Departments with challenges were listed. The sectors indicated that four of the housing and local government, four of works, roads and transport, three arts and sport, three education and three economics departments needed assistance. The recommended intervention groupings were housing and local government with focus on the department of Provincial and Local Government framework, roads, works and transport departments, and the Eastern Cape province. There would be increased enhancement of the assessment and intervention methods, development and roll out of an awareness campaign within the Public Service, focusing on Directors General and Heads of Department, and development of a capacity building programme on interventions. He noted that at the moment all the information was based on PERSAL, which was not entirely accurate nor up to date, and in addition PERSAL also included in the numbers vacant post that were as yet unfunded, and this elevated vacancy rates. (see document).

Ms L Maloney (ANC) enquired if the DPSA was of the view that the new Public Service Amendment Bill would alleviate problems encountered.

Dr Komegay replied that there was potential in the Amendment Bill to remedy the problems encountered. However the potential and actual performance of the Bill were two different things. The implementation and enforcement of the Bill would be the true test, although the Bill did specify what was required.

Dr Komegay also commented that it would be difficult to give the precise correlation.

Ms L Maloney (ANC) said that the problem was within the structuring of the departments, such as the staff component. She suggested that it might be necessary for the National DPSA to have a framework that would specify what was required. The misconception of vacancy rates would then not be such an issue.

Dr Komegay mentioned that PMW was a new system, and its introduction was progressive. It had been used for the primary purpose of doing a diagnosis, which was the current phase. PMW would soon enter the next phase, in which it would actively come up with ways of taking remedial action in cases where serious problems had been identified. The remedial actions would not necessarily be limited to those taken by government, as DPSA was entering into a partnership with the United Nations around a particular methodology that looked at remedying the problems at local government levels.

Mr K Julies (DA) wanted to know what was done with all the information that was gathered

Mr Serfontein responded that it was fed to the Cabinet, where the process was started of presenting it to all relevant bodies to begin remedial action.

Mr N Gcwabaza (ANC) enquired whether there was a relationship between the Public Management Watch and the Public Service Commission (PSC). He acknowledged that it was a relatively new component and had not as yet had time to make a definite impact.

Mr Serfontein replied that PMW was more internally focussed on monitoring for the sake of learning and improving. It did supplement actions taken through the PSC, and vice versa. PMW and government wide transversal systems had regular interactions and also tried to used the same information. Although the two bodies would like to work together the autonomy of the PSC must also be respected.

Mr Gcwabaza enquired as to whether recommendations made were related to remedial actions, and also enquired how those recommendations were enforced. Mr Serfontein replied that the information and findings into the Lekgotla system and various recommendations were already agreed upon. Regulation had been changed to strengthen structures. Cabinet had endorsed the decision to come up with staffing norms and standards within the department. PMW had come up with blueprints for how structures should look. However it did not have many tools for non-compliance, apart from the public service regulations. Thus far it had been receiving good support after putting forward the recommendations.

Mr Gcwabaza commented on the backdated salary payments and specifically questioned the causes of the delayed payments

Mr Serfontein replied that the chief reason was the physical paperwork flow within departments and the fact that salary payment documentation took too long to get to its destination.

Mr Gcwabaza mentioned that existing modern technology should have been able speed up payments.

Mr Serfontein responded that unfortunately the system used was still the PERSAL system developed in the late 1980’s and implemented in the early 1990’s. It was still centralised in large departments, and maybe regional offices. The integrated financial system that was being implemented would hopefully make things easier.

Mr Gcwabaza referred to the findings that the provincial parliament in Kwazulu-Natal was challenged, and questioned whether PMW had suggested that the challenges existed in the entire institution or only certain sections.

Mr Serfontein responded that it was the office of the parliament in Kwazulu-Natal and the officials in that office that had problems.

The Chairperson commented that one of the chief issues in the public service was the backlog, which was also one of the reasons was why the public servants' strike was prolonged. The high level of absenteeism was linked to the fact that one person could be doing the work of three people. The Committee could provide assistance to sort out the problems with the long-standing vacancies and their effect on the organisation. Something needed to be done quickly.

Mr Serfontein had previously picked up on the problem of the long standing vacancies, and noticed that the more senior the position the longer it took to fill it. Cabinet was to roll out a programme that understood that management was crucial but also recognised that there was a need to expedite the process of acquiring  managers.

Ms Matsomela followed up on the previous question regarding relationships with other institutions, and questioned the relationship between PMW and South African Management Development Institute (SAMDI). If PMW’s objective was to recognise problematic areas and recommend remedial action, then SAMDI could implement the recommended action.

Ms Matsomela asked whether the PMW envisaged a future input into the type of courses and curriculum that was used in SAMTI.
Mr Serfontein noted that PMW was in discussion to put two models forward. One would give the managers the necessary skills by educating them on how to use information in decision-making. Human resources policies would be another issue.

Ms Matsomela wanted specifics on the challenges in the premiers' and legislative offices in the North West.

Mr Serfontein answered that it the problems arose in the sectors of economics, development and tourism. The turnover rate of managers and the vacancy rate were both high. Individual reports would be provided.

Mr P Mathebe (ANC) was concerned about the vacancy rate and had received a report about the number of acting managerial positions, and the fact that there were only 42% permanent appointees across the public service.

Mr Serfontein replied that DPSA did not have a good indicator of acting management.

Mr Mathebe required clarity on the subject of pairing departments. He commented that this could be adding to the workload of a department that had previously been effective.

Mr Serfontein replied that was a good point, but that to date DPSA was not sure of any other way of doing the pairing, as it did not have sufficient capacity itself. He suggested that it would not be desirable to bring in outside consultants. It should also be noted that this was not a long-term action but more of an advisory role for both departments.

Mr B Mthembu (ANC) expressed a concern with the fact that the PMW had presented diagnostic issues with a view to bringing about remedial action, and that it had reported on a quarterly basis to Cabinet. Therefore it had already presented five reports, yet there had not been any indication of when action should be expected, nor of the time frame for follow up on problems identified.

Dr Komegay addressed the concern that something needed to be done. DPSA had come to the Committee with the understanding that there would be an active engagement to further refine the work done by the Department in this area. She indicated that work had been done. Last October, the provincial department in Limpopo was considered to be very challenged, consultation had taken place and since then there had been remedial steps which had led to significant improvement. Work with the Department of Provincial and Local Government had shown concerns around service delivery, and these challenges had to be minimised. Although PMW did not focus on local government it did work with local government. There had not been a full blast of implementation. This was not an isolated system but worked jointly with other existing transversal systems.

Mr Mthembu appealed for a full narrative for better understanding of all the indicators. He also felt it would be important to have a further follow up presentation.

Dr Komegay agreed that there should be a follow-up, so that Members could review the indicators through a more strategic document.

Mr Julies mentioned that when he spoke in parliament he had offered some solutions. He suggested that PMW should check within departments how many people were suffering from HIV /Aids and find out how that correlated to the high absenteeism rate. If the sick leave and absenteeism rates were high that meant that a department could not plan for the future, and this would directly affect service delivery. He reiterated that the Committee needed to be aware of the problems that the PMW had experienced in order to be of assistance.
Mr Serfontein thought that there was a problem with the medical certificates, as the nature of the illness did not have to be revealed. The education system had a system with relief teachers, and this would be a useful system to emulate for essential-services. The full documents had a more analytical aspect, setting out issues within each department. Once the Committee had looked at it, their input would be greatly appreciated.

The Chairperson indicated that all problems would be listened to and it was the responsibility of the Committee to assist where it could. Each point that was raised needed to be assessed so that a viable approach could be adopted. He reiterated that the lengthy vacancies were causing serious problems. The report that had been tabled two years ago had not been followed up and the public servants were waiting for PMW to act on it. These were good policies but were not implemented properly. The Committee, in order to be fully capacitated, needed to be exposed to the recommendations made to other departments.

Mr Julies mentioned that sometimes it seemed that DPSA lacked the political will to execute its mandate. It should focus on service delivery. Human resources should be activated to the full potential.

Ms Mashangoane said that this system would help the public service to pull together, and the report that would be tabled would help. Sometimes DPSA and departments had become complacent and needed to make comparisons.

Mr M Sikakane (ANC) understood the whole purpose of the report as an intervention component. He asked what happened when the loopholes had been picked up in various departments.

Dr Komegay said the current issue was about identifying possible challenges, in order to be able to begin to pair departments so that action could begin. The key determinant was the indicators. The actions would include consulting with the relevant department or province. While this was a diagnostic tool it was not to be taken lightly. PMW looked at a methodology and various solutions that could include community based ones.

Mr Mthembu recommended that it would assist the Committee if in future the Committee could be made aware of any particular issues that had been identified. When the Committee undertook oversight in provinces it could assess and appreciate the progress.
Project Khaedu/ Batho Pele Briefing by DPSA
Dr Zwelakhe Tshandu, Deputy Director General, DPSA, pointed out that Batho Pele was introduced in 1997 as an initiative to improve service delivery in the public service, based on the principle of putting “people first”. Five years later a survey was conducted and whilst some departments showed service delivery improvements, many others were treating Batho Pele as an isolated set of principles, and were not looking at service delivery issues during performance reviews. Therefore DPSA developed Project Khaedu, which consisted of a training course coupled with deployment. It was directed at the leadership of government departments. During the four and a half day training course the leadership would be exposed to practical case studies, and after this they would be deployed, under supervision, to “the coal face” where they would analyse service delivery problems and have to write reports. The practical implementation in the workplace therefore became part of the Batho Pele effect. Public servants tended to have been trained fragmentally. The whole idea was that training would now be more co-ordinated, and speak to the necessary competencies, being directly aligned with the DPSA initiatives on Service Delivery Improvement Plans. Core modules included process design and business maths, strategy and organisation effectiveness, budgets and controls, people management and communicating for results. Apart from the issue of skills, there was a sense of alienation between managers and the reality of how they would formulate policies. The idea was to give exposure to the public servants to familiarise themselves with the realities, and sensitise them to the real issues.

Mr Lawrence Tsipane, Director, DPSA, noted that the Khaedu project was piloted in 2004. In 2005-06 it was used as part of the DPSA sponsored Service Delivery Turnaround Programme in KwaZulu Natal to address issues of leadership and management development. Additional Service Providers were appointed in 2006 and it was rolled out to all Senior Management Staff (SMS) in 2007. Over 1 000 SMS had participated to date and the project was rated at an average 4.7 out of 5 by the attendees. The deployment reports were resulting in action and the project was having a real impact on service delivery. It was likely to be extended to local government to supplement and enhance Project Consolidate. The challenge was to harness improvements and best practices and turn them into implementation nation-wide. Many Departments were not sufficiently involved, and the remaining SMS members must be encouraged to attend the courses.
Mr K Khumalo (ANC) was concerned that in certain areas there was a language problem and that it needed to be looked into. He also commented on a problem with hospitals in the Border area that were understaffed.

Ms Mashangoane wanted to know how the practical part of the Bathu Pele project was done without interfering in the workflow.

Mr Tsipane replied that there was a framework that was followed. It was conducted in such a way that interference could not occur. Previous appointments would have been made to ensure that this would happen in a structured way.

Ms Mashangoane asked why the North West had the lowest number of attendees on the project.

Mr Tsipane responded that the North West had trained a lot of their members.
Ms Maloney assumed that it was compulsory for senior management staff members to participate. If it was not, then she considered that it should be, and suggested that this should be linked to performance bonuses.

Mr Tsipane replied that Cabinet had never said that it was compulsory, but that deployment was. Senior management understood that they had to go through this course as it made them understand the concepts and appreciate their importance.

Ms Maloney mentioned that the area and social status should be taken into account.

Mr Tsipane responded that this was a very important issue. When Project Khaedu was launched during the public service week in Mpumalanga, DPSA had interviewed recipients of the service. Many of the statistics accumulated were used as part of the reports.

Mr Mthembu appreciated the presentation. He said that the method that related theory to actual service delivery led to a proper and systematic appreciation of performance delivery systems. There was a potential to enhance delivery. He was aware of the problem of no clear accountability in terms of the lines of delegation.

Mr Mthembu wanted clarification on the fact that few heads of departments participated, and thought that it should be compulsory for the heads of organisations.

Mr Tsipane reported that to date about 17 heads of departments had participated. Most of them came from Kwazulu-Natal. However he agreed that this figure needed to be increased, as it was one way of ensuring that what was taught was instituted in practice.

Mr Mthembu wanted to know what core competencies had become mandatory, and which competencies, from their own experience, should be mandatory. He noted that if any trends had emerged, these would be useful, as they would assist the committee in getting a better sense of the matter.

Mr Tsipane replied by giving an example. Mpumalanga had conducted its own review on what competencies were within the department. It then came up with a list of what most the SMS members required, and they were required to attend Project Khaedu. They had acknowledged that it was integrated within the particular project. That sort of trend would follow after impact assessment.

Mr Mthembu appreciated the fact that there was an intention to conduct an impact assessment to find out what was exactly needed.

Ms Mashongoane appreciated all the efforts being done to improve service delivery. She felt that there was a gap between the vision of government and what was happening on the ground, and wanted input from the officials on what they thought was the most problematic area.

The Chairperson noticed that there was a shirking of accountability, and wondered if there was the capacity to carry out the instructions and training. He considered that it was necessary to carry out regular assessments to be able to provide coherent and viable solutions when required to do so.

Mr Sikakane mentioned that the report addressed the gap that was referred to earlier.

Mr Mthembu commented that the common issues raised were mainly human-resources based. Until particular issues were sorted out there would be no way to resolve the problems. If the environment was not conducive to staff then effective service delivery would not happen.

Dr Tshandu though that one of the key problems had been the approach to recruitment. Another major problem had been the issue of under spending, which illustrated that there was a lack of skills. A lack of leadership was a further problem. The requisite grasp of some of the framework was not present, which was where Bathu Pele became involved. Public service was highly regulated and staff had to be highly informed. The resources were there but the service delivery was not happening.

Ms Mashangoane mentioned that they were challenging the HODs to perform as they had the required resources.

Dr Komegay noted that in 1999 the cluster system had been established. Over the years various attempts at improvement had been made but these had not reached the local government level. She recalled that at one of the imbizos there was a problem mentioned with a hot water system in one department, that took two years to resolve, and that eventually the presidency had to intervene. This was where an integrated system would be critical.

The meeting was adjourned.


No related


No related documents


  • We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: