Since the beginning of the lockdown, many departments, and even the Department of Public Service and Administration, functioned in a way like never before. There are a number of new practices the Department adopted. A new task team was established. It will record all developments and assess it properly to plan for post-lockdown, together with new regulations. This was said when the Department of Public Service and Administration and National School of Government briefed the Committee on its 2020-2025 Strategic Plans and 2020/21 Annual Performance Plans (APPs).
Through this process, the Department will be able to table legislation and new instruments, shortly after lockdown. There are a number of things the Department is doing.
The Minister engaged with the Minister of Finance following the Minister of Finance’s budget. He also engaged with other Ministers on indications set out by the Minister of Finance. Despite the figures shared by the Minister of Finance, the ultimate results relied on the outcomes of the discussions between different stakeholders, such as the unions. There were engagements with unions as the budget cut impacts not only this financial year, but the next one and the one after. The unions refused what was negotiated, and the matter is now in reconciliation.
The Department said it is working on identifying what specific duties are allocated to officials of the National School of Government, the Department of Public Service and Administration, and the Public Service Committee, to introduce new measures on professionalising the public service. This particular matter is currently ongoing. In due course the results will be shared with the Committee.
The Chairperson welcomed all officials from the Department of Public Service and Administration, Minister Sizwe Mchunu, Deputy Minister SindisiweChikunga, Ms Yolisa Makhasi, Director-General of the Department of Public Service and Administration, Mr Masilo Mkakhura, Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Public Service and Administration, Mr Busani Ngcaweni, Director General of the National School of Governance, and the Select Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure.
The Committee adopted the agenda of the meeting which is a briefing by the Department of Public Service and Administration and National School of Government briefed the Committee on its 2020-2025 Strategic Plans and 2020/21 Annual Performance Plans (APPs).
DPSA Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan
Deputy Minister Chikunga spoke about how the public service is working through the lockdown. She said she is pleased with the efforts of workers, especially those at the forefront. She thanked the Members of the Select Committee and Minister Mchunu for great leadership. Deputy Minister Chikunga said the President is also providing great leadership. It is pleasing to see all parties trying its best during this time, as no one anticipated the pandemic.
The Director General of DPSA, Ms Yolisa Makhasi, thanked the Chairperson for the platform. She began the presentation by highlighting the focus areas of the Strategic Plan for 2020 to 2025 and the Annual Performance Plan (APP) 2020.
Ms Makhasi said both are informed and aligned to Priority 1 (One), namely, Building a Capable, Ethical and Developmental State, of the 2019 – 2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), and the DPSA’s related policies.
(For the complete report, see attached powerpoint presentation)
For the 2020/21 financial year, the Department has 32 annual targets in the APP compared to 35 annual targets in the 2019/20 financial year.
Of the 32 annual targets, 12 (38%) targets are derived from the 2019 – 2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework and the other targets are in line with the Minister’s priorities and the Department’s mandate and policy objectives.
Concerning the Department’s 2020/2021 APP, the deliverables of Programme One, the Department is still looking at fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure. This, as well as compliance with the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), is being monitored.
The draft Public Service Amendment Bill must be submitted to the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor for pre-certification. The Department will share it on 20 May 2020. Many of the Department’s policies are rendered irrelevant because of Covid-19. It is important for the Department to review its policies, especially during this time.
Programme Two focuses on policy development, research and analysis. This programme has set out an Organisational Functionality Assessment Tool which is issued to national and provincial departments for implementation.
Programme 3 focuses on public service employment and conditions of service. The Department is committed to setting up a wage setting mechanism for public service, and a transition plan for implementing a uniform job grading system.
One of the key priorities the Department is coordinating is the guideline for implementing proposals on reduction of costs in public administration.
Programme Four provides for the government Chief Information Officer (CIO), to conduct an audit report on the implementation of the National e-Government Strategy issued to national and provincial departments. The Department will send out the Public Service Data Governance Framework for approval. It will also send out the status of and recommendations for improvements to the Public Service Information and Communication Technology infrastructure, which was developed before sharing the status of Programme 5.
Programme Five covers Service Delivery Support. The Department is looking at the implementation plan and road map for the Revised Batho Pele Programme, Public Service Month and Batho Pele Awards. These were submitted for approval. Ms Makhasi reminded the Committee that the African Peer Review Mechanism Second Generation country review was conducted, and South Africa is chairing the African Union. Some of the structures associated with the African Union such as the African Peer Review Mechanism, placed a focus on South Africa and South Africa is leading the incubation into the work and coordinating the regime.
Programme 6 deals with Governance of Public Administration. The Department conducted an analysis on national and provincial departments designated employees adherence to the Financial Disclosure Framework. The Department is working on concluding this report.
The Chief Financial Officer of the DPSA, Mr Masilo Makhura, addressed the Committee on budget allocation.
He said the Department of Public Service and Administration’s 2020/21 - 2022/23 Medium Term Expenditure Framework Allocation was R1 800 billion, and the Annual Allocation for 2020/21 was R565 706 million.
From 1 April 2020, the Department will no longer make transfer payments to the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the National School of Government (NSG). These entities will receive funding directly from National Treasury. The only transfer the Department will make is to the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI).
The budget allocations for all the programmes were set out
Mr Mahkura reminded the Committee about the R5 billion budget for Covid-19 which needs to be reprioritised. National departments must raise about R100 billion. Therefore, the budget will be readjusted again in the next few days.
Five Year Strategic Plan (2020-2025) & Annual Performance Plan (2020/21) of the National School of Government
Mr Busani Ngcaweni, Principal of the NSG, said the majority (80%) of the School’s budget was self-generated (from the fees of students who attend the school). National Treasury only funds 20% of its budget. During the period of lockdown, the school was losing about R10.5 million a month because of non-attendance. The NSG is trying to move most of the programmes online, but it will need thousands of people to recover lost money. Covid-19 has an effect on the function of the school - this is the context from which it is working.
The School will not reach most of its targets because of these challenges. The National School of Government draws its mandate from section 195, with particular reference to Section 195(1)(h). These sections stipulate, good human resource management and career-development practices must be cultivated to maximise human potential.
The NSG mandate includes:
(1) Providing education & training (individual),
(2) Supporting development (institutional),
(3) Fostering collaboration,
(4) Offering qualifications,
(5) Three spheres of government, State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), organs of state, and
(6) Conducting training, examinations or tests (pre-requisites).
Mr Ngcaweni made a specific reference to the third mandate and said the School recognised there are capabilities which exist elsewhere in the public sector. It also exists outside the public sector, such as in higher education to provide public servants with advanced learning.
A capable, ethical and developmental state (Priority One) underpins all seven priorities of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (2019-2024). It is a vision of strong leadership, a focus on people and improved implementing capability. Facilitating this vision into action involves a transition to a more functional and integrated government, which is capacitated with professional, responsive and meritocratic public servants to strengthen relations and efficiency.
The National School of Government responds to Outcome Three (professional, meritocratic and ethical public administration). Its contribution is measured by the following outputs:
- a compulsory in-service training framework approved by 2020.
- eight compulsory programmes rolled out by 2022, and
- the recognition of professionals in the public sector by a professional body by 2023 (working in partnership with the Department of Public Service and Administration).
The School is busy scoping some of the programmes it intended to offer, to be added to the cluster, to be overseen by the two Ministers.
The School’s aim is to have quality education, training and development practitioners.
The Annual Performance Plan for the period of 2020/21 includes:
- Modernised Business Processes,
- Effective Financial Management Systems,
- Assessing public servants to determine skills gaps,
- An Education Training and Development intervention, and
- Professionalisation of public servants (which is a key intervention over the 5-year period).
The NSG’s response to Covid-19 takes into account the strategic direction provided by the Minister. It also looks at the School’s accounting officer’s future repositioning, and responds to feedback from the Portfolio Committee.
The School will promote an ecosystem in the public sector, conducive for state capacity building and for effective continuing learning/education.
Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KZN) said he was enthused about the Minister’s presence at the meeting. He referred to the opening slides of the presentation and asked the following:
- He asked why the lifestyle audits were pushed back when the Minister said the Department will start with it in September of 2019. He was concerned these audits will only be reported in 2021.
- Secondly, Mr Brauteseth said the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit is not mentioned in the report. In December 2014, Department reported the Unit was set up.
- On the National School of Government, he said fellow South Africans complained about delivery of the Batho Pele service the Department was striving for. He asked what the National School of Government was doing about the public service skills audit, and if any skills evaluation such as going for a drivers licence retest was done, to determine if skills were still up to standard.
Mr E Landsman (ANC, North West) said the first part of his question, was directed to the Department of Public Service and Administration, while the second set was directed to the National School of Government. He said:
- He wants clarity on the promotion of the Code of Conduct within the public service.
- He referred to filling vacant posts within the National School of Government. He wanted to know about its promotion procedures, and if it was possible for Committee Members to apply for posts.
- He also asked how the National School of Government includes persons with disability and the youth.
Ms S Boshoff (DA, Mpumalanga) addressed the Minister first. She asked,
- if any preparations began on cutting the public wage sector, as reported by the Minister of Finance.
- Further, Ms Boshoff asked if the Department is still bowing to the unions, and holding fast to the 2018 wage agreement.
- She noted concern on salary increases.
- She asked the Department how it will monitor and address the fruitless and wasteful expenditure and asked for a report on this.
Mr M Dangor (ANC; Gauteng) asked if public servants should not see it as a vocation rather than a job. He referred to the experience prior to 1994 when soldiers signed up for war.
The Chairperson asked the following:
- He asked about the consultations the Department must have to engage with COGTA, asking if it was in line with the government’s commitment to the single administration, as the matter was on the table for a while.
- Specifically, he asked if there is convergence around the creation of a single public service.
- The Chairperson asked for clarity on the Department’s policies, considering reconfigurations in other departments.
- He wanted to know about any stumbling blocks, and asked if the Minister could share the review on the African Peer Review Mechanism.
Minister Mchunu answered Mr Brauteseth. He said the lifestyle audits matter was discussed since late 2019. The Department took it seriously and there was progress on the new structure of the Department. It was clearly identified which Unit will deal with the matter as a priority, and it was specifically located.
There was a discussion with the Director-General on the advertisement of this Unit. However, the Department was still dealing with the administrative aspects of it.
In the discussion with the Deputy General, it was brought to the Minister’s attention, the posts for this particular Unit were outlined and advertised. Despite this, the Department conducted its works, and what could be done by this Unit.
Since the beginning of the lockdown, many departments, and even the Department of Public Service and Administration, functioned in a way like never before. There are a number of new practices the Department adopted. A new task team was established and will record all developments and assess it properly to plan for post-lockdown, together with new regulations.
Through this process the Department will be able to table legislation and new instruments, shortly after lockdown. There are a number of things the Department is doing, one such thing is on professionalism.
Specific duties are allocated to officials of the National School of Government, the Department of Public Service and Administration, and the Public Service Committee, to identify what each will do to introduce new measures on professionalising the public service. This particular matter is currently ongoing. In due course the results will be shared with the Committee.
There is work in progress on integrity, regarding both training and oversight. The Department is up and running on this issue, and was not waiting on the Unit.
Minister Mchunu engaged with the Minister of Finance following the Minister of Finance’s Budget. He also engaged with other Ministers on indications set out by the Minister of Finance. Despite the figures shared by the Minister of Finance, the ultimate results relied on the outcomes of the discussions between different stakeholders, such as the unions. There were engagements with unions as the budget cut impacts not only this financial year, but the next one and the one after.
The unions refused what was negotiated, and the matter is now in reconciliation.
Ms Makhasi replied to the question about the skills audit evaluation. She said the Department improved. It did fairly well regarding this, over the years. The system tightened its requirements on the qualifications to a point where it will not be easy to forge this and be employed without the correct qualification.
Linked to this question, is the posture and attitude of certain public servants in service. Attitude is not only learned in the school environment. There are many factors contributing to an individual’s attitudes.
On the ethical code of conduct, the Department had a 365 day campaign on Batho Pele, to ensure public servants live out the values and principles enshrined in the Constitution.
Different Departments in government has its own skills evaluation audits, which must go to Cabinet for approval.
On the Technical Assistance Unit, Ms Makhasi said there were officials who acted in two positions in the Unit. The posts also had to be advertised, and were not advertised as yet because of the finalisation of a few things and because of the processes of the Department.
The Department’s position is to provide guidelines. There are generous donors who assist with support. Progress was made regarding this.
Ms Makhasi said there are currently no existing cases in this current financial year.
She was only aware of one case in the Department involving the Supply Chain Director. This person was since disciplined and fired from the position.
Speaking on vocation, she said there was a discussion with the Principal of the National School of Government on the induction of public servants. An induction process is needed, so public servants can understand roles better in relation to the public.
National School Government
Mr Ngcaweni said there are 1300 enrolled students in the School. Although it had aspirations of promotions, it used the time of the lockdown to learn more on how it could contribute to the public.
There was currently no data on geographical and background distribution. However, the enrolment showed the public’s interest on the School’s programmes.
Follow up questions
Mr Brauteseth asked the Minister to take the Committee through the challenges or problems the Department came across regarding violations and people involved. He asked if money was involved and he asked how much.
The Chairperson referred to removing work experience. He asked what the target for young people, who were applying for jobs at entry level, for the next three years, were.
Department of Public Service and Administration responses
When dealing with matters of ethics and integrity, the Minister said the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit takes the work further. It enforced and kept records, and liaised with law enforcement.
The Minister shared his thoughts on sharing information about transgressions within the Department.
Ms Makhasi asked to report back later.
The Chairperson thanked the Department and said it was an indication of how committed the Minister was on many matters in the Department, and the good work conducted.
The meeting was adjourned.
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.