NSG, CPSI & PSC 5-year performance achievements & failures, with Minister and Deputy Minister

Public Service and Administration

20 February 2024
Chairperson: Ms T Mgweba (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


The Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration convened online to receive briefings by the National School of Governance (NSG), the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) and the Public Service Commission (PSC) on the highlights of their performance achievements and non-achievements for the period of 2019 to 2024.

The NSG had been able to train in excess of 298 000 learners. It was able to generate in excess of R400 000 000.00 in the last financial year and managed to receive clean audits in both the trade and vote accounts. There were 78 accredited programmes credited with various Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) on full qualifications, which the NSG hoped to roll out in 2025 or 2026 and also in 2027 going forward. Courses offered included Nyukela, the compulsory induction programme, Project Khaedu, Ethics in the Public Service, Economic Governance School and other executive education courses. Meanwhile, e-learning enrolments exceeded 200 000 learners.

The CPSI reported that its approach was more of a needs-driven approach to developing and maintaining partnerships. There were also areas where innovators could test and pilot their innovations. The CPSI provided support for innovations to motivate them to perform at their best. Regarding effective corporate governance, the outcome indicator was the number of unqualified audit opinions. The five-year target was five, and the progress made towards the achievement was three. Regarding the number of innovation initiatives enabled, the five-year target was 75 and the CPSI managed to achieve 69. Over the past five years, regarding the expenditure trend, the actual outcome in 2019/2020 was R29 856 000.00, and now it would be R45 894 000.00. The CPSI had managed to achieve 19 innovation research and development initiatives. Next was the Digital skills development and support of youth developers through hackathons.

The PSC reported that 125 constitutional values and principles promotion engagements had been conducted. In respect of its Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) indicators, a total of 7 261 corruption cases out of 7 261 had been referred to departments within seven days. The target for finalised cases was 75%, but only 65% had been achieved.

Members raised questions on the impact the NSG was making regarding programmes that it had established, what the prospects were for the CPSI to improve accountability and mismanagement detection through an e-government system, and how the PSC had harnessed property function with other departments over the past five years.

The Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ms Noxolo Kiviet, who led the Department of Public Service and Administration in the meeting, informed the Committee that the Department managed to achieve its outcomes with a very limited budget.

Meeting report

Opening remarks

The Chairperson acknowledged the presence of the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ms Noxolo Kiviet, and the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, Dr Chana Pilane-Majake, and welcomed everyone to the meeting.

The Chairperson opened the meeting by conveying the apology of Ms R Komane (EFF) for her absence. The Chairperson went on to state that on 22 November 2023, the Committee had invited the Department of Public Service and Administration (the Department and/or the DPSA) to account for the deliverables and the non-deliverables of the medium-term strategic framework for 2019-2023.

The Chairperson went on to mention that members of the National School of Government (NSG), the Public Service Commission (PSC), and the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) were present to present on the progress made with the implementation of their 2019-2024 medium term strategic framework indicators related to their responsibilities.

The Chairperson reminded Members that the Committee would be getting ready to draft the Committee’s legacy report for the sixth administration. The Chairperson requested the Minster of Public Service and Administration to make some opening remarks and thereafter, the NSG would make their presentations, after which the Committee would be given an opportunity to deliberate. The CPSI would then make their presentation, the Committee would be given an opportunity to deliberate. Then after the presentation by the PSC and deliberation, the Minister would give her closing remarks.

Minister’s remarks

The Minister thanked the Chairperson and acknowledged the presence of the Deputy Minister, the Commissioner of the CSPI, Deputy Directors-General (DDGs) and the Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NSG. The Minister stated that a lot of work had been done in the last 30 years of democracy and that South Africa was not the same as it was in 1994.

Minister Kiviet stated that a lot of transformative pieces of legislation had been passed since 1994 and the work of transformation did not simply start and end; it was an ongoing process. Some laws had been promulgated in the past that were still relevant today, hence amendments needed to be made. There were also two Bills from the Department circulating.

Regarding the institutions invited to account for their successes and shortcomings, each would be presenting work they had been doing. The CPSI boasted certain achievements, positive audits over a consecutive number of years and new innovations such as the Central Chronic Medication Dispensary and Distribution and the Bees Portal. The PSC had achieved about 90% of all its programmes.

The Department was making progress in various areas, especially in leadership and management practices, monitoring and evaluation, integrity, an anti-corruption drive, and the professionalisation of the public sector. Cabinet approved the framework regarding professionalism in October 2022. The Ministry was in the process of working with all the components in the professionalisation framework. These frameworks still worked together to continue with the constitutionalism agenda.

Minister Kiviet noted that the Zondo Commission, which had been established to deal with State Capture, had made certain recommendations, and the professionalisation framework took into account these recommendations. The Department was busy with programmes and projects that sought to address the issues raised in the recommendations, which issues were being attended to systematically.

The Department had to ensure that its systems responded to current challenges. The PSC was also working with the NSG and the CPSI to respond to the Zondo Commission’s recommendations. The NSG was hard at work in ensuring that the strategy implemented in 2019 was able to drive the capacity building of government. Even though Covid-19 has negatively impacted the country, it forced government to find alternative means of doing its work. In particular, the use of technology was growing so that more learners could participate than before at a lower cost. This new system was simpler as there was no travel involved and no food involved as it was more electronic, and it was this influence that quickly traversed government, as government meetings such as this one continued.

The Minister noted that the legacy report the Chairperson mentioned would address where the Department currently was with its projects and where the Department would like to be. The Department would not stop working simply because the country was entering election season.

Presentation by the National School of Government on the highlights of its performance achievements and non-achievements for the 2019-2024 financial years

Dr Botshabelo Maja, DDG: Professional Support Services, NSG, began the presentation by speaking to the programmes and projects the NSG had established to end off the sixth government administration while preparing for the seventh administration. The sixth administration had put the issue of building a capable and ethical state as priority number one. The NSG was responsible for creating a skilled set of public servants. The Department had had to put in key interventions to ensure these values were realised.

The NSG mainly had the function of conducting training, which included examinations, tests and offering qualifications, across the three spheres of government. The NSG had also been working with small entities, expanding its reach, and fostering collaborations. This was also the service delivery model that it was working on, and which was focused on learners acquiring a set of skills.

The guiding principle of the work of the NSG was that learners who were public servants had to be able to have skills that would enable them to serve the people of the country efficiently.

The strategic outcomes that the NSG had been working on related to the functional integrated institution that the NSG needed to work on to be able to deliver the education and training model, the partnerships that the school had been working on, and the education, training and development of practitioners.

Over the medium term, the school had been able to train in excess of 298 000 learners, had been able to generate in excess of R400 000 000.00 in the last financial year, and had managed to receive clean audits in both the trade and vote accounts.

The NSG had been delivering and designing critical interventions for pre-entry into the public service, which was called Nyukela. This was a compulsory induction programme. Project Khaedu had been expanded elsewhere on the African continent. The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed the NSG to place these interventions online. The school had over 200 000 public servants enrolled on these e-learning programmes.

Regarding the training programme interventions, in the 2021 and 2022 financial years, the NSG had enrolled over 86 000 learners in the programme. In the current financial year, the programme currently had 39 788 learners.

The NSG’s partnership with the European Union had proved to be a success. This was part of its mandate to expand the training programmes to also include the Economic Governance School, which training programmes were being rolled out on the continent for executives and traditional leaders. The NSG fellows programme utilised skilled senior public servants, and international scholars who became the fellows would assist the NSG in remaining relevant and responsive across the public sector.

Moving onto local government, Johannesburg had a local government leadership development programme. The learners who were part of this programme graduated in 2023. There were 78 accredited programmes which were credited with various Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) on full qualifications which the NSG hoped to roll out in 2025/2026 and also in 2027 going forward. This was to make sure that in future the school would be able to offer full qualifications at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 7 or NQF level 8.

The NSG had been working on several studies on the various interventions to ask what impact and influence the NSG’s work was having in the country through the public sector. The NSG also conducted a learning study to see whether those who had gone through the training interventions could see a difference in their places of work and how these interventions served the nation better. The NSG had 28 studies put in place so far, and in which work was being conducted. The NSG usually waited six months into the training before conducting these studies to see whether progress had been made in terms of the work that was being done.

The studies showed that the participants’ knowledge had improved once they took part in the interventions and also that participants could apply the knowledge they had acquired. The studies also showed that the participants’ departments or institutions were able to benefit from the work that was being conducted within the NSG and that these learners may be able to apply the skills learned in their own places of work in the future.

There were still areas which were problematic, such as where departments or institutions did not send the right people for the training, or where learners had not qualified for that training. Moreover, when the NSG engaged with the learners, it found that the environment of their individual departments or institutions could influence whether or not they can make a difference even if they perform well in the programme.

The Minister had signed a set of directives which had helped the NSG conduct its work more efficiently. In addition, the amendments to be made to the Public Service Act 103 of 1994 would assist with its work, because public servants would then know which programmes were compulsory to complete so that the learners were more competent for the work they do in the future.

The NSG had been working on a productivity study with the DPSA and the presidency. This study was continuing until March, after which a report on the progress of the study would be made available.

The NSG has also been conducting master classes due to Covid-19. On 19 February 2024, the NSG hosted a round table to discuss the progress the school had been making. The school aimed to create thought leaders and strategic thinking across the public sector. This had been discussed during the round table discussion.

The NSG had entered into partnerships, not just locally but also internationally. Through these partnerships, the NSG has been able to leverage known and unknown knowledge and use this knowledge within the NSG. Some special moments from these interventions included establishing the Economic Governance School in association with our country’s counterparts, such as Lesotho, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Zambia.

The NSG has been rolling out interventions for traditional leaders to enable them to assist communities and with socio-economic programmes, especially in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Free State, and these interventions have continued well.

The NSG’s footprint could also be found in North and South America, Asia, and Europe. These continental partnerships assisted the NSG with conducting its work much better. The NSG had also started rolling out a training management system that would help the NSG improve its work. These included advancements in firewalls, as the NSG had previously been affected by cybersecurity risks. The NSG was doing everything in its power to make sure that this did not occur in the future again.

Regarding finances, during 2019, the NSG started with a R182 000 000.00 grant from Parliament. In the current financial year, the figure was currently R221 000 000.00. To date, in the current financial year, the NSG has been able to spend R165 000 000.00.

Regarding the two Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) indicators, the first one is related to the number of provincial departments trained by the NSG to roll out training to teachers and school management teams on handling diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination. By 2022 and 2023, all nine provinces had been trained on four modules, including inclusive education, learner diversity, intersectionality equity and issues of inclusive school communities and inclusive teaching and learning practices.

The NSG had not been able to achieve the second MTSF indicator. This spoke to the percentage of senior managers trained on dealing with all forms of discrimination. The MTSF targets stated that 95% of senior managers should be trained by 2024 and by mid-year there should be 1 481 learners registered for the course.

The problem with this MTSF indicator was that senior managers were not enrolling for the course. The NSG had looked at the fee required to register for this course, which was about R265.00. This fee had been removed as an attempt to encourage senior members to attend these modules. This was now an open online course for senior public servants. The NSG had assisted the DPSA with issuing a directive (Circular 11 of 2021), making this course compulsory for senior management.

The NSG was focused on building political capacity, economic capacity, strategic capacity, oversight capacity, leadership and management capacity, technical capacity, and administrative capacity. This focus was relevant to extending the NSG’s mandate to any organ of state.

The NSG would redefine its clients to include appointed and elected officials (executive and legislative), state-owned enterprise (SOE) board members, public sector executives, traditional leaders, interns, unemployed youth, international delegates, and individuals.  

The NSG was recalibrating its offerings, with the goal of implementing compulsory and demand-driven short-learning programmes, executive education, just-in-time interventions, and open and facilitated online courses, augmented learning, qualifications, and institutional support.

The NSG was also assessing its partnerships to see how they were benefiting from each other and if any improvements could be made. All of this would have implications for how the NSG was configured. The NSG would need to be increasingly citizen-centred while also being concerned about niche markets and the continuing learner and professionalisation framework, the issues of skilling and re-skilling in this new world of artificial intelligence, and the implications that this would have on public servants.

All of these modalities would need to be used, such as face-to-face, distance learning, microlearning, continuous professional development, peer interaction and advocacy, just-in-time or customised learning, asynchronous open-distance e-learning, blended learning, and immersive learning before going into the real environment.

Moreover, the NSG was looking to establish a full-fledged examination centre and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment centre for enrollment, issuing qualifications, and conducting tests or examinations.

(See attached presentation for further details)


Ms M Ntuli (ANC) thanked the Department for the work done thus far despite its challenges. She noted that the Committee had pushed the NSG to work hard despite the pandemic and despite the country being a ‘third world country’. She asked whether the NSG had conducted any research on development of public service matters.

Ms M Kibi (ANC) thanked Dr Maja for the presentation. She observed that the programmes initiated by the NSG had impacted many of the learners who enrolled in the interventions and spoke to their shortcomings. She asked what progress had been made regarding the skills audit, what the outcomes of the reports were, and what interventions needed to be put in place to enhance the critical capabilities in the short to long term. How much time was required for e-learning to improve learning and how did the NSG ensure that its e-learning platforms had effective assessments?

Mr G Nkgweng (ANC) sought to clarify what impact the NSG was making regarding programmes that they had established.

Dr J Nothnagel (ANC) asked how the institution had harnessed a cooperative function with the Department over the past five years.

Ms S Maneli (ANC) asked whether there were any training opportunities which the NSG had established with international partners of institutions. What was the NSG’s policy on artificial intelligence systems like ChatGPT?

The Chairperson addressed the issues which the NSG had had to deal with during the sixth administration between 2020 and 2022. She asked for the NSG to speak more on its long-term plans and on whether the NSG had the capabilities to develop into a university.


Dr Maja responded to Ms Ntuli’s question on whether the NSG had conducted any research on development on public service matters. She stated that research had been conducted, with an element of the research being about productivity in the public service sector. This had been a collaboration with the DPSA. She hoped the research would be completed by the end of March 2024. This would provide an indication of productivity and where the problem areas were.

The NSG also worked on skills related to science and technology to see which of these skills were lacking in public service. The NSG had conducted other studies looking at other various areas of the public service and some of these studies had shaped the NSG’s interventions going forward.

A great deal of progress had been made on the skills audit. The first part of the audit process, being the situation analysis, had been finalised. The NSG was engaging with departments for them to determine whether the NSG was on the right track and whether some of the findings made sense to them. Some indications that were beginning to emerge were that the mandates of these departments were well-defined. The NSG also found that strategic alignment was starting to come together.

The NSG was looking at whether there were skill gaps in the skills, competencies, and critical skills related to construction or property management. Once the study produced findings, the NSG would be able to share these findings with the Committee.

Regarding the progress made in the skills audit, she confirmed that the e-learning interventions were effective. This was not only because of the learners who had enrolled but also because the completion rate was quite high. Moving the interventions online cost the state less as the state did not need to provide transport or food to the learners. The programmes had strict assessments to complete and if the learners did not complete the assessments, they would not be able to receive their certificates.

The most impactful thing which the NSG could highlight in terms of its interventions was the professionalisation framework. The work being conducted within this framework was work that had never been done before. The notion of registration with professional bodies was not a common feature except for teachers and doctors registering with professional bodies. The professionalisation framework covered a wide variety of state entities. The professionalisation framework would affect every public servant and government department for the next ten years.

Regarding harnessing a cooperative function with the Department over the past five years, the NSG had often not been able to afford to have competencies and skills inside the organisation. That was where other organisations, both nationally and internationally, had assisted with this work. The NSG would continue to leverage these partnerships so that the work done by the NSG could continue to be embraced and expanded.

On the training opportunities with international partners, the NSG had to decide which partnerships were worth holding onto and which ones the NSG should part with. This was also to figure out the gaps with the NSG, take advantage of the lessons that could be learnt, and determine whether the NSG had to be repositioned. The NSG would have to consider the place of new technologies within its intervention programmes.

Regarding ChatGPT, the NSG would have to find a way to work with the software programme. The NSG had to figure out what skills could be obtained from ChatGPT and how public servants could best use them. This would not just be to use the programme itself but also to find a way to enhance the work of the NSG.

There were some plans to develop the NSG into a college that would continue serving under the DPSA. The NSG was conversing with the Department of Higher Education and Training about being designated as a college. In working with the Council for Higher Education, the NSG would be able to develop qualifications like any other tertiary institution.

The NSG was working with SOEs, and this would mean doing an induction of the boards. The other interventions would include the Economic Governance School and would assist the NSG quite a lot in ensuring that the NSG was fully functional.

Ms Maneli commended the NSG on their discrimination programme, especially regarding women’s rights and the upliftment of women.

Presentation by the Centre for Public Service Innovation on the highlights of its performance achievements and non-achievements for the 2019-2024 financial years

Ms Lydia Sebokedi, Acting Executive Director, CPSI, noted that the CPSI’s strategic five-year plan was under the purview of the DPSA. Regarding the CPSI’s mandate, the CPSI was entrusted with a government-wide responsibility to facilitate the entrenchment of the culture and practice of innovation to improve service delivery.

The performance targets over the medium-term period contributed directly to achieving the mandate of the CPSI and implementing the MTSF.

The approach taken by the CPSI was more of a needs-driven approach to developing and maintaining partnerships. There were also areas where innovators could test and pilot their innovations. The CPSI provided support for innovations to motivate them to perform at their best.

The CPSI had a reward system in place to recognise the work that the innovators had conducted. The CPSI worked with the NSG and did some knowledge sharing. The CPSI hosted workshops where they taught classes on how to solve service delivery problems. They also worked with the NSG to create an accredited course called Design Thinking.

On the highlights in relation to the five-year outcome indicators, in terms of effective corporate governance, the outcome indicator was the number of unqualified audit opinions. The five-year target was five, and the progress made towards the achievement was three.

The CPSI had three clean audit outcomes for the current outcome and in March, this would be four.

Regarding research and development, the CPSI managed to undertake 19 innovation research and development initiatives. One of these initiatives was digital skills development and support of youth developers through hackathons. Well-performing rural schools in the Eastern Cape, such as St John’s College, have been invited to take part in these initiatives.

Learners were taught how to create a website to run a business. The CPSI used these schools to anchor other schools in the area by encouraging those schools to take part in these initiatives. This was so that the learners could have more career options and become part of the public service.

There were two multi-year solutions under development. The one in Gauteng was an e-hailing system like Bolt or Uber, but it was for emergency services to be contacted quicker by those who needed urgent medical assistance. Hospitals could use this application to transport a patient from a clinic to a hospital. This application was in its pilot phase and after this, any necessary refinement would be done. Emergency services would be trained on how to make use of this application for efficiency while at work. This could save government on fuel costs. It would be rolled out to other provinces. Moving on to the Northern Cape Office of the Premier, progress has been made on developing Thusong Service Centres for rural communities to access government services, such as digital technology, libraries, and medical services.

Within the replication programme, seven innovative solutions were replicated in the public sector. The CPSI did not have a huge budget to work from, so it needed to use the funds it received with clear innovations in mind to assist communities. This was especially so regarding the e-learning solutions. Some schools that had been visited did not have internet access or their internet access was limited to the administration block of the school or sometimes certain areas had limited internet protocol (IP) addresses.

The digital forensic fingerprint solution had been found during an awards programme. An innovator had sought to identify deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) samples but unfortunately, there were no claims of missing people, so mortuaries had been piling up. This system made it possible to identify individuals who had passed away and even find the deceased's information, such as fingerprints. The CPSI invested funds into this project to expand it to other mortuaries, and they purchased laptops and any other necessary equipment for this project.

The knowledge platforms that had been sustained would ensure that public servants could be foot soldiers for innovation and influence other government sectors. The innovations which the innovators came up with needed to create solutions to problems people were facing today. The Annual Public Sector Innovation Awards Programme has been used to recognise and reward innovation, replicate innovative solutions in many areas of the country, and share knowledge. There were certain criteria for the awards, such as the focus on coal-face solutions to improve efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery to assist citizens. The Trailblazer Awards had a set of criteria, such as requiring individuals passionate about improving service delivery with modern technology and requiring that they develop in-house systems to limit expensive shelf procurement. These trailblazers were public servants developing in-house information and communications technology (ICT) solutions that would save government money.

On the impact of the awards programme, there have been three reviews done. The first, being the ten-year review, was to recognise the innovative public servants who came up with innovative practices. The second was the 20-year review, which was essential to properly fund public sector innovations. Further, there had to be a requirement for a procurement regime that supported development of innovations in the public service.

Over the past five years, regarding the expenditure trend, the actual outcome in 2019/2020 was R29 856 000.00, and now it would be R45 894 000.00. With this small budget, many aspects had to be sacrificed to pay salaries and rent. The CPSI always aimed to pay its creditors within three to five days and ensured that an invoice did not go unattended for too long.

The CPSI had certain recommendations, such as strategic review and mandate alignment. This ensured that the mandate of the CPSI still effectively aligned with government priorities to create a bigger impact on society. This could include engaging with other stakeholders, such as other government departments and the private sector. A further recommendation was to conduct a budget reassessment and reallocation to possibly increase funding for the CPSI so that the mandate could be effectively fulfilled. With the enhancement of internal capacity, there was a shortage of internal capacity, which put pressure on one person to do most of the work. This would mean involving immediate recruitment efforts to fill the vacancy of the system developer.

(See attached presentation for further details)


Ms Kibi asked what measures were required to increase the impact of the CPSI MTSFs.

Dr Nothnagel sought to find out what the prospects were for improving accountability and mismanagement detection through an e-government system. What opportunities could artificial intelligence have for public service innovation? How would the next administration be advised?

Mr Nkgweng thanked the CPSI for the comprehensive presentation and asked how effective government cybersecurity systems were. Was government optimising backup data for decision-making?

Ms Maneli asked whether there were any highlights from the CPSI. Had any measures been put in place by the National Task Team (NTT) to be relocated to the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) so that it could effectively participate in the innovation ecosystem?

Ms Ntuli asked about the entity's experience in the intergovernmental space. What were the significant constraints that the CPSI faced during the MTSF period? What was the timeline for the CPSI concerning the skills transfer programmes, particularly with the youth, to ensure that every province had a CPSI footprint in the future?

The Chairperson noted that despite the small size of the CPSI, it had made impressive strides with various innovations and was still striving to do more. She asked which innovations could be scaled to impact advancing digitisation. Was the CPSI of the view that an integrated system could be implemented in the three spheres of government?


On the measures required to increase the impact of the CPSI MTSFs, Ms Sebokedi stated that the organisation needed to be well-resourced to perform its mandate. This could be guided by issuing directives in the provinces. Discussions have also been held with the Department of Home Affairs regarding the digital forensic fingerprints solution.

The CPSI had engaged with municipalities, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), and premier offices to train and engage more entities as the work done by the CPSI could positively impact so many other governance areas. Regarding skills transfer, this was an area where work had to be done so that these skills could be filtered down to provinces.

Through the Trailblazer programme, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed with the Eastern Cape, given that this province had system developers who had developed programmes to assist with managing their hospitals. This MoU was entered into so that these software solutions could be shared with the CPSI and the rest of the country.

Moving on to the issue of significant constraints, she explained that the first would be that the CPSI did not have an Innovation Centre, as this limited the CPSI’s ability to perform its work. This was where public servants could be brought in to experience what the CPSI was all about. This was also due to the lack of funding which affected the capacity for the CPSI to work. However, sometimes, the CPSI worked with innovation hubs in a limited capacity.

On which innovations could be scaled to make an impact in advancing digitisation, this could be done with many of the innovations, however, it was a difficult task to conduct, due to the fact that challenges faced with upscaling in one province were different to challenges faced by another province.

Mr Pierre Schoonraad, Head: Research and Development, CPSI, stated that artificial intelligence technology should be used to detect government mismanagement. He emphasised that caution should be taken when overpromising and underdelivering on services.

There were some case studies on how artificial intelligence could be used for accountability and tracking mismanagement where both public and private sectors were held accountable. This could then be used to track patterns for money laundering, for example. Importantly, a data scientist had been employed so that machine learning could take place. Certain skills would need to be obtained to further this process, and a new cohort of public servants should be hired.

He stated that public servants had to declare interest annually. This created a huge data set and could be used to establish patterns. This would allow the DPSA to have a target when dealing with declarations of interests. The necessary qualified staff in government would be needed to be able to develop these technologies. Government had less than ten cybersecurity staff, which made it difficult to work with and was of concern.

Regarding the impact on the relocation of the NTT to the DSI, he stated that the impacts may be felt later – possibly five or six years down the line. The digital fingerprint project was creating closure for families because lost family members could now be identified, and this was an incredible effort made for these affected families.

The impact of the efficiency innovations was also something which had to be addressed in terms of making hospitals more effective in delivering services. This was evident in the amount of water saved by these hospitals and ensuring a reduced water bill for these hospitals. Citizens also did not need to wait in long queues to access services. The replication of these innovations also saved government money.

There was a very strong relationship with the National Advising Council on the White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation. This indicated the necessity of the DSI and the CPSI working together to deliver on developmental plans. The public sector was a market in the South African economy, so it was important that the innovations had a very strong public sector contribution and focus.

Presentation by the Public Service Commission on the highlights of its performance achievements and non-achievements for the 2019-2024 financial years

Prof Somadoda Fikeni, Chairperson, PSC, thanked the Committee for giving the PSC the opportunity to conduct the work that it did. The Committee also assisted with the approval for passing of the PSC Bill [B30-2023].

Prof Fikeni stated that given that the PSC was an oversight board, it felt the weight of the capability impact and that working with the CPSI, NSG and the Department had become a priority because all the assumptions made in the National Development Plan needed to become a reality. At the centre of these plans was the professionalisation of the public service sector which had been approved and was in the implementation stages.

If the professionalisation framework was implemented as it should be, then there should be a massive improvement even in the seventh administration. If these reforms were implemented, then the building of a capable state would be possible. All of this had been done by shrinking the PSC’s budget for the core projects. At the same time, if the PSC Bill was passed and the framework of professionalisation was realised, then the PSC’s work would be fourfold. However, the budget was not enough, which was why the support of the Committee, and the understanding of the Minister were very important.

The PSC had been key in reviving the forum of institutions supporting each other, such as the Chapter Nine Institutions and the fiscal and financial institutions. The PSC had started with long-term vacancies, instabilities, and the suspension of the DG, which were the major issues. But now these vacancies have been filled and a new DG has been appointed. Other provinces had been slow to respond to the ongoing changes. The PSC had been repositioning so real changes could occur in the public sector and society.

Adv Dinkie Dube, DG, PSC, stated that the presentation would focus on the achievements of the PSC over the last five years. She noted that the PSC Bill had been presented to the Committee in the previous week and published before Parliament. The Bill has since been published for public comment.

She stated that the PSC’s priority one strategic outcome to implement had four outcomes. The first outcome was an improved service delivery culture, the second was a sound leadership practice in the public service, the third outcome was the well-coordinated and functioning monitoring and evaluation system, and the fourth outcome was a strong and well-functioning PSC.

The PSC had made many engagements with members of the public and had also conducted nine Citizens Forums in all the nine provinces where the PSC had been able to engage with ordinary members of the public. The PSC had invited the relevant departments to address various issues.

There had been 125 constitutional values and principles promotion engagements, wherein members of the public had been able to raise their concerns, such as undue delay in processing of South African Social Security Grant (SASSA) grants. In this respect, the PSC had received 870 complaints. It was noted that public servants had the right to raise their grievances with the PSC. The PSC had managed to finalise 2 151 grievances. A report would be issued to highlight some remedial action required to resolve these complaints.

Regarding the National Anti-Corruption Hotline, 7 261 cases have been referred to the PSC. These had subsequently been referred to the relevant departments for further investigation. There had been 27 service delivery inspection reports produced, wherein the PSC monitored departments and found that major deficiencies had impacted the quality of service offered to the public. For the last four years, the PSC had had a clean audit. The PSC had managed to spend 95% of its total budget.

Regarding leadership and management practices, the target for the period of 2019 to 2023 was 21 of which 20 was achieved. All targets were met with the monitoring and evaluation, as well as the integrity and anti-corruption programmes.

On the performance trends in 2019 and 2020, 100% of the annual performance had been achieved and there was a decline during the 2020/2021 period due to the onset of Covid-19 with 96% and this was the trend in both periods of 2021/2022 and 2022/2023.

Regarding the MTSF, a total of 7 261 cases out of 7 261 had been referred to departments within seven days. The target for cases finalised by departments through investigations was 75%, but a total of 4 691 cases were finalised, which was 65% of the total referred cases.

In terms of compliance with the financial disclosure framework to manage conflicts of interest in the public service, the MTSF target was 100% of financial disclosures completed by various categories of public servants. The actual performance for this indicator was 98%.

Mr Kenneth Momeka, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), PSC, highlighted the financials of the PSC. He gave an overview of the final budget and the expenditure for the period between 2019 and 2024. The budget for 2019/2020 was just under R280 000.00. For 2020/2021, the budget was just above R270 000.00. For 2022/2023, the budget was just under R300 000.00, and for 2023/2024, the budget was around R290 000.00.

He stated that the institution conducted investigations and thus the respective investigators had to be compensated for their work. The presentation gave details of performance for 2019 to 2024, the original budget and the adjusted budget, budget reduction, historical original budget allocations and 2022/2023 audit outcome.

Adv Dube highlighted the PSC’s leadership and management practices, stating that the PSC worked closely with the DPSA, Offices of the Premier, and the presidency to find ways to stabilise the political and administrative interface through engagements, mediations, and improving the management of the vacancies of the DGs.

The PSC also conducted studies on a range of areas as a basis to assess compliance with prescripts, identify challenges and propose several guides, newsletters, and circulars to address issues related to governance practices, irregular appointments as well as labour relations improvement and grievance management. The PSC hosted workshops, roundtables, and capacity development sessions.

Regarding monitoring and evaluation, the PSC conducted inspections at service delivery sites, such as South African Police Service (SAPS) forensic laboratories. The PSC had also conducted inspections at service delivery sites that affected citizens to unlock service delivery, such as facilitating identification documents and access to health and education facilities.

Moreover, many small businesses complaining that their invoices had not been paid were assisted by the PSC to pay out the invoices. The Citizen Forum also assisted with implementing accountability measures for citizens, where several citizens were assisted with regard to a specific department. Examples included low-cost houses built in the Mpumalanga province and bridges constructed in KwaZulu-Natal to enable children to cross rivers to school and access amenities in many communities.

There are two critical reports that the PSC was implementing that looked at the inefficiencies of ICTs which had led to the repositioning of the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) to support government ICT systems. This was the same concerning the accommodation that facilitated the service delivery, where the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) had committed to work and support departments with proper infrastructure to deliver services.

Moving onto the integrity and anti-corruption programme, the PSC sought to review whistleblowers' protection. A symposium was held where all critical stakeholders came up with recommendations to strengthen the whistleblower protection regime, which was submitted to the Department of Justice (DoJ) for consideration. Discussions have also been held on establishing a whistleblower protection house to facilitate access to support for whistleblowers, create awareness of the plight of whistleblowers, and provide financial assistance, legal counsel, and psychological support. This was also a recommendation from the Zondo Commission Report.

The creation of an anti-corruption hotline was important, as this provided a non-stop mechanism for ordinary members of the public to report any acts of corruption. This work was done by developing guidelines on unlawful instructions, handling ethical dilemmas, and irregular appointments.

An important aspect of furthering the professionalisation of the public sector was establishing a panel of technical experts for use in the public service and local government. An invitation had been sent to all registered professional bodies for experts to register on the database with assistance from the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). Further, the registration process was currently underway, and more than 500 persons and/or experts had already registered.

Adv Dube noted that some areas required attention, with these areas seen as constraints that hindered the work of the PSC. There were two areas in particular, namely ICT and office accommodation. There have been issues with the slowness of the procurement process, the functionality of information technology (IT) services and infrastructure, and the occupying of dilapidated buildings. She recommended that the PSC be given power through the process of devolution to do its own procurement just like any other constitutional entity. The next issue was that of budget constraints on its ability to deliver impactful services.

(See attached presentation for further details)


Mr Nkgweng asked what work the NTT had done regarding digital technology innovation to improve oversight on compliance.

Ms Ntuli welcomed the presentation and the work that the PSC had done and hoped that the PSC would strive for the best. She observed that the vacancy rate was a significant concern. She asked about the significant constraints the PSC experienced in the MTSF period.

Ms Maneli asked how the institution had harnessed property function with other departments over the past five years. Was there a mechanism to ensure a commissioner resigned from political parties? What could be improved on the financial disclosure front to strengthen accountability and consequence management in the public administration? Did the PSC first consult with the DPWI prior to identifying such offices to avoid a commission occupying a dilapidated building?

Dr Nothnagel asked whether the PSC was of the view that the ethical standards of the public service have been enhanced.

Ms Kibi asked whether, concerning the cases that the Department finalised through the investigations, the PSC had made follow-ups and if it had what the outcomes and trends were in these cases. Regarding developing a code of conduct for the public service, had the PSC conducted training workshops on the new code of conduct or was this part of the NSG ‘s training programme? How often did the PSC conduct training on unlawful instructions and handling ethical dilemmas and irregular appointments? What kind of interventions had been put in place to remedy a situation where legislatures were unable to recruit timeously? Did the PSC regulate this? Where did these delays come from?


Prof Fikeni explained that the law did not allow a commissioner to hold a political office and that the issue of appointments and guidelines was in the hands of legislatures, therefore, given that the PSC was not the appointing body, it could not ask for proof of resignation from a political process. However, there were rules in place that partisanship was not welcomed. The PSC was further guided by the Constitution.

In terms of partnerships and cooperative governance, given the size of the PSC, these relationships were a strength to the success of the PSC. The PSC helped some departments with the recommendations and findings and applied them to these departments, which departments thereafter became stronger. Once these relationships started, financial disclosures began, and it was easy to see how funds were spent.

Regarding training, he explained that the PSC had sent some of its officials to the NSG to do some training workshops. The PSC also hosted its own training workshops. In terms of the delays, sometimes the Premier was ready to start a programme, but there could be delays with the legislatures, alternatively, the issue of security verification tended to delay the start of programmes. It was important to note that one did not need to wait for the term of the Commissioner to come to an end to start the programme.

Adv Dube stated, regarding the impact study by the PSC, the PSC had engaged with the Human Science Research Council (HSRC) to do an impact assessment for the PSC for the last five years, which would be finalised at the end of March.

Regarding the digitisation of the public service, the PSC conducted a study on digitising the human resource management system. A report on this with recommendations had been issued. A lot of work still had to be done and there was still some evaluation of the programmes which had to be conducted.

Regarding procurement for the PSC, the PSC had gone to sites to assess whether they could be used as office spaces, as some offices they currently had were inappropriate to use as offices. The PSC would seek to conduct its own procurement process to conduct research on appropriate sites for offices.

Regarding financial disclosures, this enabled the PSC to access various databases of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CPIC); the Financial Intelligence Centre Act 38 of 2001 also assisted with information. The PSC had started engagements with the CPIC so that the PSC could see how the CPIC could assist with innovation, particularly with the management of financial disclosures.

Closing remarks

Minister Kiviet thanked all the entities for their presentations and highlighted that there was good work being done by all the entities. The questions posed were also a good indicator of how far these entities had come and to see what was yet to come. She stated that the issue of the shrunken budgets affected many other departments, too. However, it also meant that departments and entities had to find ways of using the meagre resources to their best advantage.

Minister Kiviet noted that the DPSA had made some proposals regarding the reduction of funding, especially with how the NSG was under some pressure. But the NSG did have some capacity to raise funds from its training programmes. The DPSA, along with National Treasury, could also try to find other formulas on how to drive a funding programme so that these funds could get reinvested in the NSG.

The Department had started working on a policy shift to seek to attract whistleblowers to do an anti-corruption drive – this was also an international drive. The DPSA had started working with the DoJ and the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that the whistleblowers were protected. They also worked with the PSC on discipline management.

The work that the PSC was doing enhanced the mandate of the Chapter 10 Institutions in the Constitution. The projects by the NSG had helped public servants understand the implications of the work they did. There had to be a reorganisation of government in a manner that helped government do the best work it could with the limited resources it had. The Ministry was working with the office of the Auditor-General to see how other departments could also have clean audits.

The Chairperson thanked everyone for their attendance and participation.

The meeting was adjourned.

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