The Committee convened a virtual meeting to meet with the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration and receive briefings by the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), National School of Government (NSG), Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) on their Annual Performance Plans. The Public Service Commission (PSC) did not present although present as the Committee noted it accounts only to the National Assembly.
In the discussion there were questions about the Collective Bargaining Agreement bargaining process and the offer made by government to break the deadlock, Minister Performance Agreements; what NSG does to assist people with disabilities to train in the public service; the difference between Programmes 1 and 2; the long timeframe for framework, policy and legislation development; why its e-Government programme is receiving a small allocation.
The Committee noted apologies from the Minister of Public Service and Administration.
Deputy Minister’s comments
Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga noted that everyone is mandated to strive for a peaceful and mindful Africa. The Department’s programme structure is designed to support alignment with key strategic outcomes that will enable an improved implementation of administration polices, public service and an intensified fight against corruption. South Africa has faced a harsh pandemic, which has put immense strain on already scarce resources. We have learnt many lessons from the pandemic. The Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) is under immense pressure to serve innovative solutions during this time, while being faced with limited resources.
Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) 2021/22 Annual Performance Plan
Ms Yoliswa Makhasi, DPSA Director-General, said the DPSA Annual Performance Plan (APP) is in line with the 2020-25 Strategic Plan. Its strategic priorities remains the same:
• Improved implementation of Batho Pele
• Complete implementation of the Public Administration Management Act
• A stabilised Public Service
• Fight against corruption intensified
• Improved implementation of administrative policies.
The APP had been further strengthened with inputs from the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disability. Both the Strategic Plan and APP are aligned to Priority 1 “Building a Capable, Ethical and Developmental State” of the 2019 – 2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF). There are 25 annual targets in the APP as compared to 32 annual targets in 2020/21. The annual targets for each of the five programmes were:
Programme 1: Administration
• Monitor fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure;
• Compile bi-annual reports on compliance with the BBBEE status;
• Submit the revised Public Service Amendment Bill;
• Consult on the Public Administration Management Amendment Bill and
• Implemented Public/ Stakeholder Participatory Strategies and Plan.
Programme 2: Human Resources Management and Development
• Issue the legislative frameworks, provide technical advice and guidance to departments to support public service business continuity during the state of disaster as the result of Covid-19 pandemic;
• Development of Occupational Dictionary;
• Issue the Legislative framework to institutionalise mandatory in-service training framework by the National School of Government and
• Development of State capacity/skills aspect of the joined-up plan
Programme 3: Negotiations, Labour Relations and Remuneration Management
• Manage collective bargaining for state in the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council;
• Conduct a review of National and Provincial Programme 1 Structures;
• Conduct Personnel Expenditure Reviewed;
• Develop Job evaluation System for the Public Service;
• Incorporate the Professional Ethics into the National School of Government’s Induction Programme;
• Produce a consolidated annual report on the status resolution of disciplinary cases and the impact of interventions implemented, and;
• Issue guidelines on Conducting Lifestyle Audits, provide implementation support and assess implementation.
Programme 4: E-Government Service and Information Management
• Issue legislative frameworks to institutionalize the National e-Government Strategy;
• Propose measures to National Treasury on the optimization of ICT spend in the public service;
• Develop the IT Service Continuity Policy Framework for the Public Service.
Programme 5: Government Services Access and Improvement
• Issue the Organisational Functionality Assessment Tool to national and provincial departments;
• Monitor the implementation of the Business Processes Modernization Programme;
• Develop the Participatory governance mechanisms and citizen engagement programme;
• Legislative Frameworks to support departments on public service delivery business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic developed;
• Monitor the implementation of the Revised Batho Pele Programme and
• Monitor the institutionalisation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
2020-2025 MTSF Targets include:
• Public Service Amendment Bill submitted to Parliament by 2023 to include devolution of administrative powers from of executive authorities to heads of department.
• Regulations for Public Administration Management Act ready by 2024.
• Public Administration Management Amendment Bill submitted to Parliament by 2023.
• Organisational Functionality Assessment Tool implemented to measure productivity and functionality (efficiency and effectiveness) of departments in supporting service delivery by 2022.
• Business Processes Modernisation Programme approved by 2020 and implemented by 2023.
• e-Government Strategy and Roadmap implemented by 2024 for digitalisation of government services.
• Job Competency Framework for the Public Service implemented by 2023.
• Programme to institutionalise professional code of ethics in the public administration by 2023.
• Lifestyle Audit Guideline developed and approved by March 2021.
• 95% resolution of reported corruption in government by 2024 via disciplinary and criminal interventions.
• Implement the Integrated Financial Management System in the Public Sector by 2021.
• Reduction in the operational costs of administering government.
• Section 100 and 139 Monitoring and Intervention Act in place by 2022.
• Programme to capacitate and intervene in challenged state institutions developed by 2022.
• National cluster system, IMCs and Implementation forums reviewed by March 2020.
• Biannual progress reports submitted to Cabinet on the implementation of the MTSF.
• Head of National Administration and Head of Public Service established.
• Five “high risk” SOEs governance system reviewed by 2021 and recommendations implemented by 2023.
• Programme to facilitate participatory governance and citizen engagement (including review of ward committees) developed by 2020 and implemented by 2024.
Mr Masilo Makhura, DPSA Chief Financial Officer, went over the financial budget stating DPSA has experienced some budget cuts. 60 positions had to be cut, but these were vacant positions. The budget allocation for 2021/22 is R526.192 million while the 2022/23 budget is R535.163 million.
National School of Government (NSG) Annual Performance Plan 2021/22
Mr Dino Poonsamy, NSG Chief Director: Strategy and Systems, noted NSG strategic outcomes:
• Functional integrated NSG supporting the delivery of ETD interventions.
• Competent public servants who are empowered to do their jobs.
• Quality education, training and development (ETD) practitioners.
• Sustainable partnerships and collaboration to support ETD interventions.
• Responsive ETD interventions.
NSG performance for 2020/21:
• The NSG revised its APP for 2020/21 in view of COVID19 and lockdown. Key revisions were the reduction for generating revenue from R132m to R75m and the training numbers from 43 600 to 26 040.
• Number of learners trained: 37 009 against an annual projected target of 26 040 (142% achievement) but the revenue generated was R21.3 million (28,4%).
• The Nyukela programme is now entrenched as a bespoke programmes, with 11 668 public servants enrolled for the course and 6 893 successfully completing.
• The Ethics course had a total enrolment of 15 834, with 15 473 completing the course (98% achievement).
• Six master classes were successfully held, including one held with Members of the Executive.
Performance Priorities for 2021/22:
• The NSG is different from many other learning institutions due to its location in the state and its emphasis on vocational related interventions to improve public sector individual and institutional performance.
• The ETD interventions constantly evolving to ensure relevance and to improve access for learners at different levels of the public sector, as well as the institutions of traditional leadership.
• The ETD interventions offered across all levels of the public sector, and clustered in these bands: Cadet and Foundational Development; Middle Management Development; Senior Management and Professionalisation; and Executive Management and Leadership.
• The last band will also focus on political office bearers, traditional leaderships, boards and SOE executives.
• Whilst the COVID 19 pandemic was disruptive, NSG has turned this crisis into an opportunity to refocus on increased online and virtual learning offerings.
• NSG has secured licencing for virtual tools and trained its employees to deliver virtually. There has been an unprecedented number of online enrolments for eLearning courses.
• New innovative features such as webinars are gaining popularity among public servants as well as the Master Classes. For the first time, a sitting President accompanied by his executive attended a master class held by the NSG. This event was also televised on live national TV.
• Training of all Senior Management Service (SMS) on dealing with all forms of discrimination; and support to Basic Education on training teachers and school management on classroom diversity; human rights; multi culturalism and multilingualism; and dealing with racism and discrimination.
There is a curriculum framework of 129 accredited and non-accredited courses and programmes. New courses added in 2021/22 include: Rapid Evaluation; Writing for Government (Advanced); Legal Writing for Government; Socio Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS); Ethical Leadership and Oversight for Members of the Executive; Evidence Based Policy Making and Implementation (Reviewed); Art of facilitating Socio-Economic Development for Traditional Communities; Chief Information Officer (Reviewed); Covid-19 and the SA Economy; Ethics for Educators; Assessor Training.
Professionalisation of the Public Service:
Cabinet approved the publication of the draft National Implementation Framework towards Professionalisation of the Public Service on 18 November 2020 after much internal consultation such as within FOSAD and Cluster and Cabinet Committee. It has now been through public consultation. Key issues emerging and way forward:
• Framework must strongly advocate for ethical issues across the Public Service
• Internship programme needs to be ramped and allow skills imparted to be used within government (creation of permanent opportunities for internship programmes)
• Training (reskilling and upskilling) becomes important pillars to ensure professionalisation of public service
• Framework to recognize Recognition of Prior Learning and ensure organisational memory preservation.
• Emphasize and ensure promotion of constitutional values and principles
• Targeted consultations continue: May 2021
• Appointment of Ministerial Task Team: May 2021
• Finalization of Framework and Cabinet tabling: October 2021
Key Issues for discussion and consideration:
• NSG funding model continues to remain a crisis and it does require executive intervention to adequately fund the School to strengthen state capacity
• Heads of all public sector institutions have a responsibility to ensure that their employees have the requisite tools of trade to perform within the fast-paced digital transformation in our public sector
• Data service providers must ensure NSG programmes for public servants have zero-rating for data costs. This allows especially front-line workers to learn without data concerns at a time suitable for them.
• Partnerships are the future for the NSG, especially international opportunities for our public servants.
Public Service Commission (PSC) Annual Performance Plan 2021/22
Adv Richard Sizani, PSC Chairperson, said that the PSC’s strategic goal is that of being an ethical, capable, and developmental state. He said Ms Irene Mathenjwa, Acting PSC Director-General would present.
Before the PSC presented, Mr M Rayi (ANC, Eastern Cape) noted that the PSC accounts to the National Assembly in terms of the Constitution. Why is the PSC presenting to a National Council of Provinces committee?
The Chairperson said that this matter had been raised in the National Assembly. He agreed with Mr Rayi.
Mr Rayi said that when PSC presents its APP, the purpose for the Committee is to adopt that plan and hold PSC accountable on its implementation. How are we going to hold it accountable when PSC does not account to the Committee? National Assembly has that right to hold them accountable.
Adv Sizani said the PSC is appearing out of respect for the Committee.
The Chairperson said the legislation explicitly states that the National Assembly holds the PSC accountable.
Mr E Landsman (ANC, North West) expressed his appreciation to DPSA and all its entities.
Ms B Mathevula (EFF, Limpopo) appreciated the presentations. She asked what NSG is doing to assist people living with disabilities to train in the public service.
Mr Rayi said to DPSA that some of the entities speak about the revised MTSF 2019-24 which has not been adopted by Cabinet. What effect would such an adoption by Cabinet have on DPSA targets?
Mr Rayi observed that when DPSA presents the APP, there is no consistency or coherence to the programmes. The target on audit outcomes is receiving a clean audit. He thought that the Department would have clear targets in the public service. Targets must be explained to the Committee. What is the difference between Programme 2 Human Resource Development and Management and Corporate Services under Programme 1 Administration? Why cannot those two programmes be brought together under one?
He asked when the National Anti-Corruption Unit members are going to be appointed? Are there timelines for their appointment? How will their appointments be funded?
Mr Rayi asked how the Ministerial Performance Agreement is assessed given that there is no body available to hold them accountable? In terms of checking performance and financial reports, how would they be held accountable? Are those a part of the Ministerial Performance Agreement?
He noted the Department has lots of frameworks, policies and legislation it will be embarking on per its strategic plan which is a worry. His concern is that the Department must be an efficient and ethical custodian yet the development of these frameworks, policies and legislation take so long to complete? Members of this Committee who hold DPSA accountable will not necessarily be around in 2024 as elections determine the Committee members. He is concerned why it takes so long for the Department plans and legislation to be developed.
The Chairperson asked for an update about the plan for a single public service. How far is DPSA in bringing this matter to finality? He asked about the Public Service Act which is being amended. He asked what informs the name change for Programme 2? This Programme is important as it deals with compliance with minimum norms and standards. What message does the name change send? There has been news about a shift around the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Does this relate to a new round of negotiations or a position DPSA has taken in consultation with National Treasury? Is there positivity on part of DPSA senior managers about ethics and disclsures? Under Programme 4, there seems to be the message that e-Government received a small allocation, what does this mean? He expressed satisfaction with the presentations. There is a drive on the part of the entities which is important.
Ms Yoliswa Makhasi, Director-General, confirmed that the revised MTSF has not yet been approved by Cabinet. The Department was given authority by DPME to use the revised MTSF as part of its APP. If changes are made by Cabinet, the Department APP will have to be adjusted. All Directors-General have agreed to the revised MTSF and if a Minister brings any amendments, it will be adjusted. The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Programme is approved directly by Cabinet.
She noted that core to the role of DPSA is to develop norms and standards. These are communicated through policy directives and circulars it issues.
She explained that those 2024 timelines contained in the MTSF have been moved forward.
The Department is undergoing consultations on the Public Service Amendment Bill before submitting it to Parliament. DPSA has engaged with stakeholders such as the Department of Labour.
Ms Makhasi replied about equity targets. The APP is high-level from a planning perspective. Detail on equity targets is in the operational plan. Within the annual operational plan for Programme 1, DPSA must comply with 50% women, and comply with the percentage employment of people living with disabilities. These are policy directives.
DPSA is structured so that Programme 1 Administration deals with programme services internal to DPSA. Programme 2 develops norms and standards for the public service. Programme 1 is an internal programme, while the other programmes are external as they deal with the public service broadly.
Ms Makhasi said she is not in the position to answer questions on the National Anti-Corruption Unit as this is work coordinated by DPME, who will be best placed to deal with that question.
The Single Public Administration Programme is a programme which will not be finalized any time soon. There are three parties which must agree in support of the regulations. DPSA has received input from the public on Amendment Bills. DPSA should be submitting the Amendment Bill to Parliament by the end of this financial year.
On the Programme 2 name change from ‘Policy and Research’ to ‘Human Resources Management and Development (HRMD)’, this is a process which occurred in 2019 when the new Minister and Deputy Minister were appointed with the focus to create emphasis on human resource development and management of the public service. The policy and research function has been decentralized to all Deputy Directors General.
Ms Makhasi replied that Labour has been given time in the bargaining process to consult with its members and there was an offer made by government to break the deadlock. Labour will meet the DPSA on 4 June 2021 to give feedback on the offer that was made. There is still the incomplete issue of the Resolution of 2018. This matter is currently in court. Labour is appealing the decision of the Labour Appeal Court through the Constitutional Court which is a process that is still unfolding. DPSA has been working with Treasury to submit its documents and papers to Court.
She noted the figures of the previous compliance report, 98% of its members do disclosures. This is a high uptake. The latest report is still being finalized. Public servants must disclose at the SMS-level. There are many other areas of compliance which departments must comply with. DPSA has engaged with provinces on key strategic interventions for compliance. Five provinces have been engaged with so far.
Ms Makhasi replied that Programme 4 requires DPSA to develop e-Government norms and standards. DPSA does not need to buy software or technological devices for the whole public service. The public service does this already. DPSA receives a budget for norms and standards which is not enough, however it must do with what it has. In Programme 1, DPSA had to look into its budget for Information Technology (IT) so that its employees can work remotely which requires data and laptops. For the bigger allocation for public service, each department has its own allocation. The budget cuts experienced by DPSA has affected some of its plans but DPSA must prioritise its development of norms and standards.
Mr Busani Ngcaweni, NSG Principal, confirmed that the NSG does accommodate learners with disabilities in the public sector and gave the example of where last year, the NSG sent out notices to all departments which informed them that for the NSG virtual and e-learning causes, there are multi-media platforms available to aid people with disabilities and accommodation is made for those attending face-to-face classes as well. Hearing aids are made available, and the NSG is working with relevant departments.
Deputy Minister Chikunga explained that Ministers sign the Performance Agreement with the President and are held accountable in terms of this Agreement. These are public documents, and thus there is nothing stopping Parliament from holding Ministers accountable for what they have signed with the President. On the legislation which is taking long to arrive in Parliament, the process which occurs in Parliament occurs on the Executive side as well as DPSA must consult all interested stakeholders and have public comment on the Bill. There are many steps in this process. DPSA knows that all steps must be followed if the Bill that goes to Parliament is to be of high quality and thus hard to be challenged. DPSA will consider what the Committee has queried.
The meeting was adjourned.
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