Public Administration Management A/B; Public Service A/B: proposed amendments approval

Public Service and Administration

15 November 2023
Chairperson: Ms T Mgweba (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary


In a virtual meeting, the Portfolio Committee was briefed by Parliamentary Legal Services on the final proposed amendments (A-List) to the Public Administration Management Amendment Bill [B10-2023].

The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) stated that it had reached consensus with stakeholders on the mechanism to deal with the recovery of overpayments of remuneration and benefits as outlined in Clause 18 amending Section 38 of the Public Service Act. It presented the final proposed amendments (A-List) to the Public Service Amendment Bill [B13-2023]. It noted that Parliamentary Legal Services, in collaboration with the Office of the Chief State Law Adviser, clarified that there are no circumstances permitting the State to unilaterally deduct funds. The other proposed amendments were to Clause 2 amending Section 3.

The Committee approved both A-Lists. Committee members sought clarity on the Minister's role in the procedure for deducting overpayments from employees.

Meeting report

The Chairperson noted the primary objective of this meeting is to update the Committee on the unresolved matters from the previous meeting, specifically the redrafting and rephrasing of Clauses 4, 6, 8, and 9, as well as Clause 14 (amending Sections 7A and 17B) in the Public Administration Management Amendment Bill. In addition, the Committee will be briefed on the A-List of the Public Service Amendment Bill.

Proposed Amendments (A-List): Public Administration Management Amendment Bill and Public Service Amendment Bill
Ms Renisha Naidoo, DPSA Chief Director of Legal Services, affirmed that the Department actively engaged with stakeholders, resulting in consensus on the proposed amendments put forth by Parliament's legal team. There is mutual understanding that these proposed amendments effectively address the concerns raised during the legislative process in Parliament.

Ms Telana Halley, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, verified that the proposed amendments, developed in consultation with the Department and stakeholders, was presented in the A-List.

Ms Thiloshini Gangen, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, revisited the previous concerns about the Public Service Amendment Bill. The legal teams from the Department and Office of the Chief State Law Advisor have collaboratively reworked Clause 18 amending Section 38 to ensure its constitutional compliance and fairness in the context of the recovery of funds from employees by the state.

Ms M Ntuli (ANC) stated that she was content with the rephrasing of the PAMA Bill as it effectively captures what was discussed. She agreed with the overall presentation on its proposed amendments.

On the Public Service Amendment Bill, she sought clarity on the Minister's role in the proposed amendments in the A-List as it was important to understand this aspect. She also raised a query about the mandate for deductions from public service employees who have moved to other departments, where the accounting officer of the new department will continue with the deduction process.

Ms M Kibi (ANC) welcomed the PAMA Bill presentation and expressed satisfaction with the thorough inclusion of stakeholders to ensure consensus. She agreed with the A-List for the Public Service Amendment Bill that provided the procedure for the deduction of an overpayment to an employee.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee agreed with the proposed amendments for both Bills. The proposed amendments should now be incorporated into the two Bills and presented for clause by clause deliberations in the next meeting.

DPSA response
Ms Naidoo clarified that Clause 18 amendment to Section 38 of the Public Service Act pertains to the recovery of salary overpayments by the State. A Constitutional Court judgment nullified Section 38, asserting that the State cannot unilaterally deduct from an employee's salary without established parameters. In revising the provision, the Legal Services corrected Section 38, eliminating any role for the Minister. Instead, the responsibility lies with the accounting officer and not the executive authority within this framework to manage the recovery process. The provision excludes reference to the Minister due to the absence of a relevant role.

Initially, when the Bill was submitted to Parliament, there was an explanation outlining parameters for deductions without employee consent. Parliament's Legal Services proposed that a Bill stipulating deduction of funds from an employee's salary by the state would require either the employee's consent or legal proceedings. During the public participation process, COSATU expressed concern, asserting that the Bill lacked clarity and allowed for unilateral deductions under specific criteria. Parliamentary Legal Services, in collaboration with legal experts and the State Law Advisers, clarified that there are no circumstances permitting the State to unilaterally deduct funds.

The current Bill reflects conditions where deductions are made with the employee's consent, subject to specified parameters outlined in the legislation. If there's an overpayment, the accounting officer may deduct with the employee's consent, and if granted, limitations such as not exceeding 25% of the salary are enshrined in the law. In cases where there is no consent, deductions must be pursued through legal proceedings. Additionally, if the employee moves to another department, the receiving department (Department B) can request consultation with the employee to make deductions. However, any deductions require the necessary consent from the employee in that department regarding the overpayment.

The Chairperson thanked the Department and the Parliament legal team and support staff.

Minutes from previous meetings were adopted by the Committee.

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.

Share this page: