Question NW548 to the Minister of Public Service and Administration

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25 March 2024 - NW548

Profile picture: Schreiber, Dr LA

Schreiber, Dr LA to ask the Minister of Public Service and Administration

(1)What steps has her department taken to prepare the public administration for a smooth transfer of political power to new (a) national and (b) provincial coalition governments after the national elections on 29 May 2024, given that opinion polls unanimously project that no single political party will secure a majority in the 2024 elections; (2) whether her department is prepared to assist by facilitating meetings between opposition leaders and senior managers in the Public Service to prepare for a smooth transfer of political power to a new coalition government as it is the established practice in democracies around the world; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?


1 (a-b) and (b)

Section 197 (1) of the Constitution states that “within public administration there is a public service for the Republic, which must function, and be structured, in terms of national legislation, and which must loyally execute the lawful policies of the government of the day”. The Code of Conduct for Public Servants also state under Section 12(f) of the Public Service Regulations, 2016 that public servants “Shall not abuse his or her position in the public service to promote or prejudice the interest of any political party or interest group”. Section 13(k) states that public servants shall “refrain from party political activities in the workplace”.

The question by the Honourable Member is therefore unfortunate, as it has undertones of dragging public servants into party political work. This is wholly unethical and against the Constitution. The Public Service and Administration cannot and must not work on the basis of opinion polls, which we are not aware of their methodologies, limitations and biases. The professionalisation of the Public Service requires that public administration be protected from political interference and abuse. To this end, the Department has proposed through the amendments to the Public Service Act, a clear delineation of duties and responsibilities to improve accountability between the political and administrative sphere.


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