Transversal public service, Public Administration Leadership & Management Academy: Department of Public Service and Administration update reports

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Meeting Summary

The Committee was briefed by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA). The first briefing dealt with the creation of a Single Public Service (SPS), which was intended to align State interventions and machinery across the three spheres. Framework legislation would be required, and the plans and timeframes were outlined to lead to tabling of a Bill before Parliament in early 2012. Members cautioned that good regulations would also be required, that constitutional challenges must be avoided, and that effective councillors and municipal managers were key to the process. They noted the disparity in provincial and municipal salaries, and urged that full consultation must be expedited so that the legislation was presented to Parliament on time.

DPSA gave a presentation on programmes for community development workers (CDWs). There had been a national skills audit and research, signature of training agreements, and benchmarking of job descriptions had been done. A national task team was functioning. Challenges included inconsistent implementation of the CDW Programme across the provinces, linked to funding challenges, the need to clarify roles and responsibilities, poor cooperation from some departments, and the need to put regulatory and policy frameworks in place. Both the DPSA and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) would continue to implement their own programmes for CDWs until uniform frameworks were in place. Members noted that control by the Premiers’ offices was a problem, as well as CDWs becoming politicised, and suggested the need to restructure the system. They asked why so many wards still were without CDWs, and urged that the process must move faster and the confusions must be addressed, as appointment of CDWs would assist in job creation.

A briefing on implementation of Batho Pele outlined a new approach to refocus and concentrate on assessing the impact of the programme, and collaborative efforts for continuous improvement. 892 officials had been trained across all spheres, but there was still a need to work with COGTA to capacitate municipalities. Members were concerned about poor implementation of Batho Pele in the health and police services in particular, commented that the situation was worsening and national and provincial departmental attitudes must also be addressed.

The briefing by PALAMA touched on some of the same issues, and outlined that training by PALAMA was still outsourced. The executive pronouncements, key elements of the strategic framework, the plans to reposition PALAMA and path to be followed for Cabinet approval were outlined. Members asked for further details on training in Batho Pele, and criticised the DPSA as one of the slowest-transforming departments, noting that plans from 2005 had not yet been implemented. They were very critical of the employment of consultants, since DPSA itself urged other departments to cease this practice.

The Special Anti-Corruption Unit of DPSA outlined its legislative mandate and noted that it was coming to the end of its first phase, in which it was required to
coordinate investigations and disciplinary processes relating to corruption cases in the public service. The second phase, to run from July 2011, would require that SACU (to be renamed “WASPS”) must centralise the management of investigations and disciplinary enforcement of anti-corruption measures. Legislative amendments, coupled with social consciousness reinforcement, would be required. Members asked about the relationship with the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, recruitment processes, and urged that security clearances must be done.

The DPSA finally briefed the Committee on the ongoing salary negotiations for 2011, which should be finalised before the municipal elections, to avoid the threat of disruption being used as a bargaining tool. The Birchwood negotiating principles were being applied but the situation was complicated by the involvement of eight unions. Members asked why salary negotiations were not done before the budget was prepared.

Meeting report

Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson expressed displeasure that correspondence was forward to the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) on 28 February 2011 to enable officials to prepare well in advance, yet the DPSA had still failed to submit the documents on time.

An official from DPSA apologised for the absence of the Minister and Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, as well as the absence of the Director General and a Deputy Director General. Members noted that the apology should have been in writing.

Transversal Public Service Issues: Update briefing by Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA)
Single Public Service (SPS) briefing

Ms Lynette Sing, Senior Manager: Integrated Public Administration Reforms, Department of Public Service and Administration, updated the Committee on the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA or the Department) plans for the Single Public Service (SPS). She outlined the background, Constitutional Imperatives and way forward for 2011/2012 (see attached document). Framework legislation had been prepared for the institution of the SPS. A draft Public Administration Management Bill (PAM Bill) was introduced in Parliament in June 2008 to address some of the issues within the three spheres of governance. However, it was withdrawn in November 2008, to ensure extended Parliamentary consultation processes. One specific challenge lay in the fact that the consultation processes with the New Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) commenced, but were not concluded, and the Ministry had wanted to correct that. Legislation was likely to be introduced by the new administration in this year, but there was still some debate as to whether a totally new Bill should be introduced, or whether to work with existing pieces of legislation.

Ms Sing outlined the plans for taking this forward in 2011 and 2012. A consultative workshop would held within DPSA to determine areas of amendment of the Public Service Act, and new regulatory areas, in March and April 2011. The first draft of the Amendment Bill would be prepared in April 2011. Stakeholders within government, such as with other departments, National Treasury, and the South African Local Government Organisation (SALGA) would be held in May 2011. The first draft Amendment Bill would then be drawn by June 2011, followed by consultation with New Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) and consultation with external stakeholders and publication for public comment. After considering comment, the revised draft would be attended to by September 2011. The formal submission of this to NEDLAC for consultation and engagement would take place between September and October, the Bill would be certified by the State Law Advisors and would be submitted to Cabinet to get approval for its introduction into Parliament, by February 2012.

Mr T Beyleveldt (DA, Western Cape) said he was concerned that the amending legislation would have a profound change on the way that municipalities would be run. He cautioned that the Municipal Finance Management Act and Municipal Systems Act were good pieces of legislation, but regulations issued under those Acts were very difficult to implement. Currently there were 82 pieces of legislation around service delivery, and the issues covered needed to be integrated, centralised and put into perspective. It was necessary to ensure that the legislation was not challenged before the Constitutional Court, and that the correct regulations would be drawn to ensure proper implementation. There were many aspects to service delivery, but central to them was the quality of councillors and managers to be elected in the forthcoming local government elections. Laws were one aspect, but processes must be very transparent. There was a problem with unions who were not voting because they claimed that people would be moved around, and these issues all had to be harmonised.

Mr A Matila (ANC, Gauteng) welcomed the process, noting that the Committee had been asking about this for some time. Health was a challenge. Provinces and municipalities still had differences in salaries, and it was not clear how this could be balanced, with clinics still falling under municipalities, not provinces. He asked how the SPS would deal with the different salary packages. He pointed out that some of the skilled personnel at provincial and national level could be assisting at local level where implementation took place, but the different salary structures also hindered this.

Ms Sing replied that there must be transparency in the consultation processes and implementation of the legislative framework and regulations. Past processes were extensive and would be followed by the DPSA again, with all necessary stakeholders being involved. The consultation and schedule processes would have timelines and the Minister would be consulted if extensions were required. There were complexities, with many institutions and people expressing different views on one single matter. There was a need to reach alignment on the scope and extent of the legislation and minimum norms and standards to be put in place by regulations. The DPSA was trying to ensure that the processes of the legislation ran parallel once the principles were agreed to set the direction.

Ms Sing agreed that part of the SPS was concerned with the remuneration and conditions of service, and this dated back to 2002, when studies had shown how disparate and fragmented the position was. She cited that the 283 municipalities probably all had different remuneration packages, salaries and conditions of service. The SPS was trying to achieve alignment, underlining equal pay for work of equal value. There were complexities, and it could not be expected that the legislation would sort out all the issues immediately; this might take up to 25 years. A costing exercise was done and this covered pensions, medical schemes, micro and macro benefits, but there would be further debates and deliberations around these issues.   

The Chairperson noted that the Committee would be involved in the legislation.

Mr Matila said that sector departments had a tendency of trying to rush matters, and he said that all necessary and timeous consultation must take place, with stakeholders and communities, and the legislation must be brought to Parliament on time.

The Chairperson said that there must be engagement with the Minister. He noted that the Department had given good detail in the presentation. He emphasised the importance of sticking to the time frames so that the Bill could be introduced in 2012.

Mr Beyleveldt enquired how government was intending to deal with upcoming municipal elections and national government elections in 2014 and whether they are in alignment with the time frames for this legislation.

The Chairperson noted his question, but advised that this was more relevant to the work of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).

Community Development Workers (CDW): DPSA briefing
Ms Colette Clark; Deputy Director-General: Human Resources Management Development, DPSA, advised that a summit was held with Community Development Workers (CDW) in November 2009, and referred Members to the document entitled National CDW Policy Summit Declaration, which contained the latest information on CDWs. She outlined the operational achievements, challenges of the CDW Programmes, future plans and recommendations.

The operational achievements of CDW programmes included the implementation of the Master Plan, and support for the War on Poverty Campaign. A national skills audit and research on CDWs had been completed. A training agreement with India had been made, on capacity building. Benchmarking had been done on CDW job descriptions, and this was now being implemented. A “Know Your Rights and Responsibilities Campaign” was implemented, and the CDW Programme National Task Team (NTT) had been established and was functioning. There was also annual publication of the Grassroots Innovations case study booklet.

Ms Clarh outlined the challenges, which included inconsistent implementation of the Programme across the provinces, linked to funding challenges and sometimes limited resources. She noted that the career pathing was based on a compulsory learnership with University of South Africa (UNISA). There was a need to clarify roles and responsibilities, and to identify common activities. She noted that there was poor cooperation and support by some sector departments that supported the programme. The guidelines had been useful, but were still guidelines only, and there was discussion with COGTA to try to get legal regulatory and policy frameworks in place across the three spheres of government.

Ms Clarh presented a breakdown of the number of CDWs located under local government in each province, as at December 2010.

She noted that DPSA and COGTA recommended that each should continue to plan for CDWs until the mandates changed, but that the necessary frameworks should be developed to institutionalise the different categories of CDWs, according to communities’ differing needs. Development support to CDWs should be provided in an integrated manner.

Mr Beyleveldt said the biggest problem with CDWs lay in their control from the Office of the Premiers. He suggested that municipalities must be provided with capacity to control and run CDWs, and also made the point that CDWs should not become involved in politics, but should concentrate on serving their communities. Perhaps the whole system needed to be restructured.

Mr D Bloem (COPE, Free State) asked what reasons had been given by the other departments for not assisting in the CDWP. He also wanted clarity on what was meant by “guidelines”.
Mr Matila said that the process should move faster. One of the major problems was that CDWs were not equipped with resources to enable them to do their work, and were not receiving assistance from municipalities. During constituency work, Members had also heard about confusion whether CDWs fell under local government, other departments or municipalities, and proper guidance was needed.

The Chairperson wanted clarity on what North West, KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape, who had very few CDWs, were doing about appointing more. He pointed out that these appointments would tie in well with the national call for job creation. He asked why there were so many wards without CDWs in these provinces, and how this would be addressed, particularly in light of the increase to 4 277 wards. He also enquired why some departments, including COGTA itself, were not cooperating, and said that this could be addressed as part of the Committee’s oversight.

Mr Beyleveldt agreed that the departments’ failure to assist had to be addressed.

Mr Bloem asked about is the criteria used to appoint CDWs.

Ms Clarh advised that several of the issues raised were linked to the absence of policy frameworks and they would be addressed once the frameworks were in place. Without regulations, it was difficult to come up with the norms and standards required for CDWs. Draft regulations must be put in place for creation of policy, followed by determinations and directives to implement that policy.

She advised that other departments already had jobs overlapping with the work done by CDWs, and were therefore unlikely to call for more CDWs to duplicate the formal work being done in that area, although the intended DPSA policy framework and regulations would deal with this, so it needed to be fast-tracked. Recruitment was already linked to the compulsory one year learnership, but all CDWs were at level 6 of the public service and there was a need for a supervisory layer. Development of norms and standards would also assist with this.

The Chairperson said this needs to be expedited, to address further clashes between CDWs and ward councillors.

Batho Pele (BP) briefing
Ms Clarh outlined the Batho Pele (BP) programme, setting out the legal background, principles, and progress reports. She gave the breakdown of Batho Pele, and noted that a new approach was being adopted to refocus and concentrate on assessing the impact of the programme, alignment with Outcome 12 and collaborative efforts for continuous improvement (see attached document for full details). Training had been done on BP in all spheres. A progress report was provided to December 2010.  892 officials had been trained, and a breakdown was given. The DPSA planned to work in collaboration with COGTA to capacitate municipalities. Currently there was no legal mandate for DPSA to implement policies in the municipal sphere, although the policy framework needed to be mirrored there.

Mr Bloem said the delivery of BP was particularly poor in the health and police services. He urged that BP needed to be implemented on the ground, rather than being a policy on paper. He pointed out that nursing staff often showed lack of compassion and caring, and that attitudes to black people in particular sparked complaints.

Mr Matila said that the issues creating the need for BP to be implemented were long-standing. He noted that many municipal clinics were providing a better service than provincial hospitals. DPSA said it had trained people, but matters were actually getting worse. He suggested that there might be a need to check departments because even they did not seem to be implementing BP.

The Chairperson agreed that this was a common issue across all departments, and maybe it should be declared linked to corruption, and something strong done to address the attitudes.

Mr Beyleveldt said lack of service delivery was the main issue, and this was often caused by provincial and national incompetencies, yet the municipalities always took the blame. A total national mind shift was needed.

Mr Lekoa Solly Mollo, Director General: PALAMA, noted that his later presentation on PALAMA would touch on many of the issues raised.

Mr Nkosinathi Nhleko, Head: Special Anti–Corruption Unit: DPSA, suggested that there be broader discussions or debates on these issues, and a broader review and evaluation also outside DPSA.

Ms Clarh appreciated the inputs given by members, noting that there was a problem with institutionalising BP. BP had been acknowledged as necessary in two departments, to ensure quality public education and access to basic health services. Government also needed to acknowledge the successes of, and learn from the work done by the Department of Home Affairs.

The Chairperson said the Committee need to engage further with DPSA to make sure BP achieved success at the national level.

Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA) briefing
Mr Lekoa Solly Mollo, Director General, PALAMA, was not sure of the extent of the previous briefings to Members on PALAMA. PALAMA was a separate Schedule 1 government department. He noted that some of what had been said during the BP presentation cast aspersions on PALAMA. He noted that training still largely was outsourced, and this situation must be addressed. He also touched briefly on the pronouncements of the executive about PALAMA, the key elements of the strategic framework for repositioning of the Academy and outlined the path to be followed towards Cabinet approval (see attached document for full details).

Mr L Nzimande (ANC, KwaZulu Natal) said DPSA was the department that had been the slowest to transform, and, despite all the changes in senior positions, it seemed that not much had yet been achieved. He asked what exactly PALAMA could offer to enhance service delivery and pursuit of BP. He suggested that there might still be a need to find a real purpose for PALAMA. He asked for details of what the repositioning would involve, and whether new courses or training were envisaged. He also asked whether the training would address the needs of vulnerable and disabled groups.

Mr Matila said he was surprised that the DPSA was still making so much use of consultants, since the DPSA had suggested that this should be stopped to save money. Their own actions seemed to be promoting outsourcing. He asked if PALAMA was planning on building internal capacity to conduct training, and said it needed to be accountable. DPSA was still working to implement decisions made as far back as 2005, so he wanted to know how it was intending to achieve the goals for 2014.

Mr Bloem agreed with comments about slow progress in DPSA, and said that DPSA would have to address all the issues raised in this meeting before meeting with the Committee again. He also stressed that outsourcing and paying consultants must stop. Instead, it must address job creation. He asked for more details on the training, especially the number of people involved, and the budget, and noted that no outcomes were given. He added that people needed to be educated that freedom was linked to responsibility.

Mr Beyleveldt said frameworks need to be set to keep DPSA accountable, although he agreed that it was impossible to train everyone, as there was movement of personnel.

Mr Mollo explained that he had actually prepared a presentation on what PALAMA was doing to implement BP, but was then advised that the Committee was expecting an update on PALAMA itself, which was why he had today given a new presentation. He said that PALAMA had various programmes supporting BP, and named them as including Front Office Training, Project Khaedu, the Public Service induction course, Wamkelekile (for senior managers), training in Supply Chain Management, courses on Excellence in Customer Service, Service Delivery Improvement courses, and a graduate programme on Breaking Barriers to Entry. He added that PALAMA also offered training for women, a programme on Braille, and support for the elderly.

He noted that PALAMA was established in August 2008, following questions that Cabinet raised to the then-Minister of DPSA in 2005. A Ministerial task team was established, that recommended the establishment of an Academy to facilitate training. He conceded that problem statements had already identified consultancy as an issue needing to be addressed.

Mr Matila commented that PALAMA was the leader of the process, and he was worried that it was still being named as a problem.

Mr Stephen Mohlokoang, Acting Deputy Director: Training Delivery, PALAMA, explained that PALAMA did not outsource in general, but did contract in individual specialist trainers for various courses. This was being done away with as own capacity was being obtained.

Mr Mollo explained that PALAMA had some internal capacity but was also using other public servants and those with specialist skills.

Mr Matila said he was not entirely satisfied with the answer but noted what had been said.

Ms Clarh said that DPSA and PALAMA were two different entities, but DPSA created policies.

The Chairperson said the Committee was not previously aware of the separation, but now understood it. He emphasised that the purpose of the meeting was to get clarity and updates, and more questions could be put to the Minister if the officials were unable to answer them.

Mr Matila pointed out that the budget of PALAMA fell under DPSA.

The Chairperson recommended that a workshop was needed on PALAMA to explain its function and programmes in full.

Special Anti–Corruption Unit (SACU) briefing  
Mr Nkosinathi Nhleko, Head: DPSA Special Anti-Corruption Unit, took the Committee though the legislative mandate of the Unit (SACU). He also noted its establishment, outcomes, the gap analysis and the work it had achieved so far, as well as its plans for the future (see attached document for full details).

He summarised that SACU was established to fulfil a set purpose, in two phases. The first phase would run from
25 November 2009 to 23 June 2011, and in this phase SACU must coordinate investigations and disciplinary processes relating to corruption cases in the public service. The second phase, to run from July 2011 would require SACU to centralise the management of investigations and disciplinary enforcement of anti-corruption measures. This would require some legislative amendments. From July 2011, SACU would be renamed “WASPS” and it would focus on fighting corruption by instill social consciousness. This implied that an overall societal effort must be made.

DPSA Preparations for 2011 Salary Negotiations
Mr Alex Mahapa, Acting Deputy Director: Governance, DPSA, said that salary negotiations in the public service had already started for the year 2011, at the level of the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC). DPSA was also hoping to engage around the medium term three year, because engaging on an annual level for a single term created problems. The salary negotiations should be concluded before the municipal elections in May 2011. Parties from the DPSA and Bargaining Council were in agreement with, and negotiating around the Birchwood principles that guided the terms and rules of engagement, to try to avoid the impasse of the previous year. He said that Members could find further details about Birchwood 1 online.

Mr Mahapa outlined the current status of salary negotiations. There were caucus processes for managing the negotiations. A date would be set for the Bargaining Council to manage the time tables. Information sharing was taking place between the eight unions involved in the process.

Mr Beyleveldt asked what the relationship would be between SACU and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), and how the two entities would operate.

Mr Bloem asked about the recruitment processes under SACU. He noted the need to appoint specialist staff, and to ensure that they were security-cleared.

Mr Nhleko replied that the Hawks focused mainly on prosecuting criminals. SACU, on the other hand, was addressing corruption within institutions and departments of State, and had a focus on disciplinary policies. Some cases would need to be addressed by or investigated by other entities. He noted that staff were being recruited and would be screened carefully. That process would happen after June 2011.

Mr Bloem asked what DPSA was intending to do about the fact that already there were some strikes over wages. He also asked why there was the move to complete the negotiations before the municipal elections, and what would be the consequence of not doing so.

The Chairperson wanted to know if the salary negotiations were in line with the budget.

Mr Matila asked why the salary negotiations were being done after the budget exercise. If it was done before, this would ensure that the demands and resources could be balanced, and that salary increases could be factored into the budget.

Mr Mahapa explained that it was hoped to conclude the salary processes before the municipal elections to avoid the situation where the threat to disrupt elections might be used as leverage in the bargaining process. DPSA always did budget for salary negotiations, and some money was put aside in case it was needed. The Birchwood principles covered issues around centralisation of budgets for salary negotiations. He pointed out that the involvement of eight unions meant that the process took longer as not all demands were consolidated.

Mr Matila noted that the DPSA had indicated that the State was paying too much in salaries, and enquired how the addition of local government would affect that.

The meeting was adjourned.



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