Hansard: NA: Debate on Vote 10: Public Service and Administration (OAC)
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 13 May 2015
No summary available.
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 Take: 20
WEDNESDAY, 13 MAY 2015
PROCEEDINGS OF EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in the Old Assembly Chamber at 15:00.
House Chairperson Ms M G Boroto, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The ACTING MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION (Mr E N Mthethwa)
START OF DAY
Debate on Vote No 10 – Public Service and Administration:
The ACTING MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION (Mr E N Mthethwa):Hon House Chair, I am disappointed because I thoughthonHlengwa had crossed the floor when he was on this side ... [Interjections.] ... but then I saw him moving to the other end. The Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration, Ms Dlodlo;honchairperson of the portfolio committee, Ms Mabe; we are also joined by former Chief Justice SandileNgcoboin his current position as thechairperson of the Presidential Review Commission of Remuneration; acting chairperson of the Public Service Commission; chairperson of the Government Employees Medical Scheme, director-generals and heads of entities of the Ministry for Public Service and Administrationportfolio; distinguished guests and friends; ladies and gentlemen, exactly sixty years ago, atKliptown, the foresight and wisdom of ordinary South African citizens consolidated our foundation for our world-admired Constitution, which we have today. We are reminded that this powerful policy lodestar, which was collectively conceived by our forebears so many years ago, promised, among other things, that “all people shall be entitled to take part in the administration of the country”.
In this year, 2015, the year of the Freedom Charter, President Zuma has committed to the following: “As government we will go back to basics to improve the lives of all South Africans.” Government’s achievable quest to become a high-performing Public Service, as well as our commitment to improving the lives of all its citizens and emancipating the potential in each individual, intensified as we entered the third decade of our democracy.
Equally profound is the fact that our government is hosting Africa Month celebrations throughout the month of May to commemorate the formation of the Organisation of African Unity in May 1963. Africans from the continent and in the diaspora have descended on our shores to join us in these celebrations.
Having placed Africa at the centre of its foreign policy, our government is now challenged to place the African agenda at the centre of multilateralinstitutions and other international engagements. As the Public Service, we will also be partaking in Africa Public Service Day in June 2015, under the theme “The role of the public service in women empowerment, innovation and accessible service delivery”.On the other hand, our South African citizens are also callingon government to equally prioritise service delivery to them through an administration that is responsive to their aspirations and basic needs.
This Budget Vote is presented at such a difficult moment for this portfolio and the Public Service at large, with the recent tragic and untimely passing of our highly respected and dedicated colleague, the late Minister Collins Chabane, who had already assumed such an onerous task in redirecting the Public Service machinery. With his feet firmly rooted in the reality of the needs and conditions of ordinary people, the late Minister Chabane committed to this House, and to the people of South Africa at large, that the face of the Public Service was going to change. The objective was to create a Public Service with a soul. Last year, the late Minister committed to work with all stakeholders at the coalface in order to bring quality services to our people, by including and imploring all public servants to provide transformative solutions in improving government operations together with the Centre for Public Service Innovation.
David Osborne reminds us that the road to improvingpublic service is never an easy one to follow, and I quote his caution:
There is no recipe you can follow to reinvent government; no step-by-step progression to which you must slavishly adhere. The process is not linear, and it is certainly not orderly. Things rarely go as planned; re-inventors must constantly adjust their approaches in response to the resistance and opportunities they encounter.
As part of our ongoing recruitment strategy to make the Public Service a career of choice for young people and woman in particular, we have invited eight young girls, who are in the gallery above us, from the following schools:Kulani High School,which is based in kwaLanga and IntshukumoComprehensive High School, which is based in Gugulethu. May the girls stand,please, ladies and gentlemen? [Applause.]Thank you for welcoming these very bright stars, in whom the future of the Public Service lies.
This is in line with Takinga Girl Child to Work Day, particularly in this month.
In pursuing anappropriate developmental Public Service machinery, our emancipatory solutions are embedded in the extent to which the Public Service can set and steer a nationalpublic administration in line with the National Development Plan.
As we present today’s Budget Vote for the Ministry for Public Service and Administration,we are cognisant that it is at a time when many more citizens are expecting government to respond to the socioeconomic challenges highlighted in the NDP by embarking on radical economic transformation through a development-oriented administration.
Government will ensure that all outcomes contained in the NDP are effectively addressedby providing quality basic education to all; providing safety and security in all communities; a Public Service driven by quality healthcare to communities; a Public Service that is an enabler for economic growth and job creation; a functional local government administration that provides utilities to communities; a society where there is social cohesion and respect for national symbols; and a Public Service imbued with common values that places our citizens at the centre of our socioeconomic development as a nation and ensures sustainable livelihoods.
Our SA Public Service has not been able to fulfil all the ideals of our citizens as highlighted in the NDP but we are tirelessly working towards improving our capability in this regard.
Ethical integrity, as well as maladministration issues, continues to challenge the development of a professionalised Public Service. It is important that public servants respect and dedicate all their time to their employment contract. The limitation placed on public servants doing business with government is our endeavour, in order to promote and practice good governance.
May I remind you that as a public servant, you are a servant of the public. It cannot be the other way round. The public is not your servant. [Applause.] As the Public Service, our progressive employment policies and practices expect employees to reciprocate, by coming to work on time and by serving the public in an exemplary manner – we expect nothing less than that.
As government we are also cognisant of the role that modernising through e-government systems can play and that it is the route to fast-tracking service delivery. The Management Practices Assessment Toolkit, MAPT, driven by the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, has highlighted weaknesses in basic building blocks in organisational functioning within the departments.Our Operations Management Framework has responded to these concerns throughmapping business processes and standard operating procedures, as well as conducting Organisational Functionality Assessments.
Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that Public Service is a calling. I and all other public servants do so because we want to serve our people.It is for this reason that we are driving a campaign to continually instil the Batho Pele values in all public servants, especially our frontline staff. The DNA make-up of our public servant must result in men and women with impeccable ethical conduct, including a strong work ethic, and the display of the high morale, humility and pride that is associated with being a loyal public servant. We must be beyond reproach as public servants. Our administrative culture must create an organisational culture in which is embedded a civic culture reflective of an ubuntu value system.
It is for this reason, and in partnership with the National School of Government, that we will begin the process of changing our bureaucratic patterns of thinking and our attitudinal behaviour. These are our ideals for reviving theBatho Pele strategies going forward.
The complaints about the deficiencies and defects of government must inspire us to develop new ideas and practical innovations with the Centre for Public Service Innovation, in how we must work to improve service delivery. I hereby invite any citizen to forward such suggestions and ideas to the department.
Having institutionalised unannounced visits to frontline service delivery points during Public Service Month, over the past eight years we have started yielding positive turnaround results. Selected hospitals, Home Affairs offices and police stations have demonstrated improved service delivery when implementing systems and process changes. We have also observed an employee workforce that is better equipped to embrace the Batho Pele principles more readily and demonstrate a visible change in attitude.
This said, we know we still have challenges, particularly in this area. We should develop systems that are all able to talk to each other and detect those who do not want to disclose some of the things they have been involved in, whether it be disciplinary processes or allegations of fraud and corruption. In most cases, people move from one province to another, not disclosing what they had been facing, and they wouldbe employed within the very same government.
As part of our commitment to reward professionalism and service excellence, and to improve the morale of deserving public servants, we acknowledged outstanding men and women in the Public Service at our second annual National Batho Pele Excellence Awards ceremony, which was successfully held on 14 November 2014 in Gauteng.
We are joined today by two such recipients. Please join me in calling on Ms DuduzileNdlovu from the Port Shepstone Regional Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, who was named the Best Frontline Public Service Employee of the Year 2014. [Applause.]Ms Maria MagrietaGoodier, from the Department of Health’sRuyterwacht Community Health Care Clinic in the Western Cape, wasnamedthe Best Overall Batho Pele Public Servant of the Year 2014. We once again applaud you for your resilience and good work and for being exemplary in ensuring excellence in Public Service. I thank you and hope that you will remain lifetime Batho Pele ambassadors and examples to allother public servants to strive for this noble accolade. Thank you very much.[Applause.]
As the Public Service we need to start doing more with less, because taxpayers want to see efficiency and effectiveness in spending. We are cognisant that productivity in our public sector is just as important to the economic performance of the country, particularly South Africa. In this financial year, we will address the gaps in the efficiency and effectiveness of measures through improving our performance measurement instruments.
Our focus going forward is to strengthen both the head of department evaluation system and the performance management system for all employees to ensure service quantity outputs and service quality outcomes are met and that government gets value for its money. We have to justify the number of employees recruited to senior management and hence we are currently reviewing the post provisioning norms in order to ensure the optimal use of employee and personnel spend.
We herewith present our plans for the 2015-16 financial year and account for the voted 2014-15 funds.
Following the announcement of the new Cabinet on 25 May 2014, the Department of Public Service and Administration implemented the second National Macro-organisation of the State, or NMOS II, project to effect the transfer of functions and the renaming and creation of departments.
To support the social vision of the NDP and manage the administrative/political interface, Cabinet approved a delegations framework and a directive that clarifies the level of executive authorities’ involvement in human resources matters, including appointments.
After extensive consultation, the signing into law of the Public Administration Management Act by the President in December 2014 is the culmination of a complex process that took place over a number of years. It was a successful quest to ensure seamless service delivery by all spheres of government within the public administration values that are enshrined in our Constitution. The Act will apply to all departments in the national and provincial spheres of government, as well as to municipalities. The Act provides for powers for the MPSA to set minimum norms and standards in selected areas, including the promotion of the basic values and principles contained in section 195(1) of the Constitution of the Republic.
The two key regulatory institutions that will be set up area Technical Assistance Unit forEthics, Integrity and Discipline Management,as well as an Office of Standardsand Compliance for Minimum Norms and Standards for Public Administration. The current National School of Governmentwill also be transformed to provide high-level in-house customised capacity development and training within the public sector. As part of the emerging work on the development of the legislative framework, the Department of Public Service and Administration is developing draft regulations for the various provisions.
The National School of Government, as part of the Management Development Institutes network in Africa, participates in initiatives championed under the African Union Conference of Ministers of Public Service in Africa, known as AU-Camps, Capacity Building Champions. The National School of Government is currently participating in an Africa-wide research project, titled “The State of the Public Service in Africa”, as the lead institution of the Southern African Development Community region. This research project provides support and co-operation with other countries to co-ordinate activities for the completion of a final report by 2015.
Pursuant to the Centre for Public Service Innovation’s role since 2008 in co-ordinating the All Africa Public Service Innovation Awards, AU-Camps has further requested that we continue to playthis crucial role. As part of our ongoing international commitments, through the Centre for Public Service Innovation we continue to manage the United Nations Public Administration Network by uploading articles from the SADC region, as well as managing this portal.
Our involvement in both the multilateral structures of the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, has seen us assenting to instruments that measure transparency. This is in our efforts to combat bribery and corruption.
Linked to our endeavour to have a healthy, productive workforce, the Government Employees Medical Scheme, Gems, remains central to assisting the Public Service in fully addressing employee’s health needs. This includes the needs of retired employees, affordable healthcare for current members, and requests from nonmembers who desire to be part of the Scheme. However, numerous innovative support programmes from Gems provides the necessary support to departments in trying to combat work environment-related illnesses. Coupled with this, the Public Service needs to assist Gems in combating the misuse of the scheme by members.
These are the objective transformative solutions that will be delivered through organic plans for the year ahead. As we call on your objective criticism and support, we will include your emancipatory solutions as governed by the values and principles enlisted in our Constitution, which requires excellence in providing impartial, fair, equitable and responsive public services.We therefore implore you to support our endeavours by supporting this Budget Vote.
As the caretaker Minister for Public Service and Administration in this fifth administration, I have the privileged task, albeit in an acting capacity, of guiding our Public Service to new heights of professionalised service delivery. A good foundation has been laid by our predecessorsin this very portfolio and I am certain that the future is bright. The political will is there and the capacity is there for government to change forever the face of the Public Service. I thank you.[Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Before we call on our next speaker, distinguished guests in the gallery and members of the public, you are very welcome. We appreciate your presence. However, the Rules of this Parliament, which are aimed at upholding the decorum of the House, expects you to assume observer status. This means you cannot participate in the debate of the House. That includes the clapping of hands, giving praise and taking photos. Please help us in that regard. Thank you very much.
Ms B P MABE
The ACTING MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION
Ms B P MABE: Chairperson, when I broke the news to my daughters on the morning of Sunday, 15 March 2015, that Minister Collins Chabane was no more, my eldest daughter said, “Mama, he is now in a better place.” My youngest daughter said, “Where there are no fights.” His absence is still as powerful as his presence was. He was a humble servant of our people, ready to serve at all times.
A regular in our study group meetings, he understood our different roles and that, as Members of Parliament, we hadthe obligation to conduct oversight over the executive. He never displayed any discomfort with that. On Tuesday, 10 April 2015, during the study group meeting, he wrote me a note requesting to be excused. I allowed him - he later sent an official. He walked to my seat and whispered in my ear, “Hon Chairperson, may I please be excused? It is time for me to go. I need to go and take care of other matters.” Little did I know that he was bidding us farewell. Goodbye, Collins. Till we meet again.
Hon Chair, allow me to quote from the preamble to the Public Administration Management Act, Act 11 of 2014, and use it as a guiding document, since2015 has been declared the Year of the Freedom Charter. As a committee, we have committed ourselves to the motto that“The people shall govern”.
We, the people of South Africa, require that the public administration in all spheres of government adheres to the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution, in particular those contained in section 195 of the Constitution;
The public administration and those who work in it develop a culture of public service that places a premium on -
a high standard of ethics and professionalism;
the impartial, fair and equitable provision of services without bias;
responsiveness to people’s needs and encouraging public participation in policy making;
redressing past imbalances; and
transparency and accountability.
The 20-Year Review has evidence that reflects on the progress made and challenges encountered since 1994, showing that, in all apartheid public administrations, corruption and maladministration were rampant. This was compounded by the prevalence of an organisational culture and ethos based on nontransparency and nonparticipation. During the apartheid era, public servants were held accountable for adherence to rules and procedures, rather than for service delivery outcomes.
The national government’s wage bill for 2014-15 was R130,25 billion. In the eight ANC-led provinces, the wage bill for 2014-15 was R531,109 billion, with Gauteng spending R640 million and KZN spending R1,5 billion respectively on wage bills. This is what a caring government would do for its servants. We therefore urge public servants to deliver on the mandate of the government, which is led by the ANC.
Furthermore, the total expenditure on the Policy and Procedure on Incapacity Leave and Ill-Health Retirement, PILIR, for the period 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2016 is over R1,115 billion. In this regard, PILIR policy is a concern to us. We want it to be reviewed, monitored and executed proficiently. Public Service employees must refrain from abusing the policy. The Employee Wellness Policy must be implemented fully across the board.
As a developmental state, we all recognise that resources are not as vast as we would like to them to be. We have to make do with what we have and with what the tax base can generate. The needs of society cannot be fully met by any gross domestic product of a state.There are good times and bad times. That is why even big economies apply austerity measures from time to time. But, as Parliament, we come in to watch over Budget Votes so that every rand and cent goes to service delivery imperatives. To achieve this goal the Centre for Public Service Innovation must take centre stage in making sure that monies are used in an efficient way.
Having prefaced my remarks in this manner, I now want to address the following issues. Regarding corruption and business interests, section 22 of the Constitution, which is found in the Bill of Rights, states that:
Every citizen has the right to choose their trade, occupation or profession freely. The practice of a trade, occupation or profession may be regulated by law.
Parliament passed the Public Administration Management Act in 2014. Section 8(2-3)of the Act prohibits employees from conducting business with the state. Failure to comply with this prohibition constitutes serious misconduct, which may result in dismissal. The Act emphasises that the Financial Disclosure Framework must be adhered to. Whistle-blowers are our strategic partners in fighting corruption - let’s do everything possible to protect them.
On 7 August 2013, the President established and appointed a Presidential Remuneration Review Commission to look into the conditions of service and remuneration of public servants with a view to the Commission proposing to government the path to follow regarding these issues, using international benchmarks. Educators have been prioritised before all other public servants can be considered for the review study.
The commission has started its work, commencing with the briefing of stakeholders in the education sector on 11 March 2015. A call for written submissions from the education sector has been issued with a deadline of 30 June 2015. We trust that the Remuneration Review Commission will come up with far-reaching reforms, indicating the ANC-led government’s commitment to bettering the lives of public servants.
The Bargaining Chamber resolutions and employee wellness initiatives must be attended to. We want to see common ground reached all the time concerning the employer-employee relationship. Workplace issues must be addressed, more so because they impact closely on the mandate of the entity and impact generally on the lives of the people, especially the poor, women and children.
The delay in the finalisation of disciplinary hearings results in long periods of precautionary suspension. In most cases, these end up as fruitless, wasteful expenditure. Cases must be resolved timeously.
Regarding the filling of posts, once a post has been funded, it must be filled immediately. Failure to do so stifles the funded mandate as services associated with the post cannot be forthcoming. Minister, we need to make the Public Service a place of integrity and a career of choice by doing things smartly and timeously.
Regarding the recruitment of young graduates, if the Senior Management Service can perform diligently, they would, in turn, be marketing the Public Service as an employer of choice to young graduates.
The Public Administration Leadership and ManagementAcademy,Palama, has been revitalised and transformed into the National School of Government in order to help young graduates within the Public Service comprehend the machinery of government by training them in courses tailor-made for the Public Service through the compulsory induction programme.
Verification of qualifications and the recognition of prior learning is dependent on the willingness of departments to make the Public Service a corruption-free environment. Pre-employment verification forms part of the staff selection process and is an obligatory practice. The outcome thereof is used for staff selection purposes so that the Public Service employs personnel with integrity to manage resources of the state and to make proper decisions regarding service delivery.
Therefore, as Parliament, we are concerned that there are instances where the qualifications of people were not properly verified. As a caring government, the Public Service career system and skills strategy ensures that those who were denied opportunities for formal education because of their liberation struggle commitmentss do get a build-up on their skill. This is done through the recognition of prior learning, which is more experiential than formal, through which the National School of Government trains these cadres and gives them accredited courses.
Regarding strategic plans, the Monitoring Performance Assessment Tool results show that 31 out of 42 sampled departments performed at level 4, while six departments performed at level 3. This means that 37 out of 42 departments had well-designed strategic plans that will execute the composite mandate of the ANC-led government.
In the same vein, I am delighted to state that all departments and institutions within our sector performed at level 4.This confirms that the centre is holding. [Applause.]
The review of performance at Senior Management Service level shows that, according to the Public Service Commission, noncompliance with the Performance Management and Development System remains a challenge. Some heads of department still fail to file their performance agreements. We urge the Ministry to look into this matter closely and we call on the executive authorities to take charge of this process.
As a committee of Parliament, we drive a service ethos called “Business unusual: My contract with the people”. We undertake to serve our people diligently by calling to account those who fail them. I would like to thank the portfolio committee members for their commitment to serving the people of South Africa. I would also like to thank the department and their entities for being responsive to our call to account - in particular the Public Service Commission, for being a strategic partner to the portfolio committee’s mandate of oversight.
The ANC supports #Say No to Xenophobia. The ANC supports the Budget Vote. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr J JMc GLUWA
Ms B P MABE
Mr J J MC GLUWA: Hon Chairperson, the DA last scored Minister Mthethwaan F symbol, which is for fail, during his tenure as the Minister of Police. His appointment as the Minister of Arts and Culture was met with outrage by many in the arts and culture community. I have to stress that the individual who will fill the late Minister Chabane’s shoes will have a lot of hay on his or her fork.
First on the list is Deputy Minister AyandaDlodo, who for the past year walks the talk with this committee. We need someone like the late Minister Chabane to champion this department. Definitely not Minister Mthethwa, who is rarely seen in Parliament and, when he is, has an attitude ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order, hon member! Hon McGluwa, I do not think we are here to assess the Minister. Please refrain from doing so! [Interjections.]
Ms N W A MAZZONE: On a point of order, Chairperson: I would like to know on what Rule you are calling my fellow member out of order?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order! I did not recognise you!
Ms N W A MAZZONE: Will you please recognise me, Chairperson?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, please ...
Ms N W A MAZZONE: I am asking you to recognise me as I am rising on a point of order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Yes, I do recognise you now but do not do that again.
Ms N W A MAZZONE: Chairperson, with the greatest respect, this is a Budget Vote debate and we are doing an analysis of the budget. I think the member has every right to do an analysis of what the Minister has said.I do not know of a Rule in Parliament that says he is not allowed to do so. If you would refer me to the Rule, I will be most grateful. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, the first thing is that what you have just said is not a point of order, because what I said is that we are not here to assess the Minister personally – as a person. That is what honMcGluwa has been doing! So, please refrain from doing that. Thank you. Continue, hon member.
Mr J J MCGLUWA: Chairperson, the Minister is actingin the position, and later in my speechyou will see why I am saying this. Definitely not Minister Mthethwa, who is rarely seen in Parliament and, when he is, his attitude is always dismissive and borderline rude. He is someone who always has a notoriously poor response to questions in Parliament. His responses are sometimes vague, sarcastic and at times he simply ignores questions.
South African taxpayers already fork out R400 billion every year for a bloated and ineffective Public Service. The government has had to borrow substantially more money to pay public sector employees. Yet we do not create enough jobs.
We cannot continue paying salaries out of credit. The DA has proposed reducing the public sector wage bill by R4,3 billion through key interventions such as avoiding salary increases that are above the inflation rate, cutting back on salaries to superfluous departments and linking salaries to performance.
Finance Minister Nene’s plan to cut this escalating public sector wage bill saw him committing to fiscal consolidation. Getting rid of the fraudsters in this department should be the first step for the new Minister in cutting the public sector wage bill and restoring integrity to the civil service.
Our biggest headache is the suspension of civil servants, costing the state just over R50 million. What are we doing currently? As I am speaking here today we are keeping 400 suspended civil servants at home, doing absolutely nothing.
Director-generals earn approximately R1,7 million and more per year to ensure that our taxes go towards service delivery. In the meantime, senior managers approved bonuses for themselves, even without having undergone an assessment.
Stability implies efficiency - not under President Zuma’s administration. Between 2004 and 2014, in only 19 departments did the director-general complete their contract. It actually gets worse. Only eight out of 74 directors-general completed their term. The Public Service Commission’s research on the national anticorruption hotline found that where a head of department remained in the post for longer than three years, the performance improved. Not under President Zuma’s administration - with 67 Ministers and hundreds of overfed and puffy directors. [Interjections.]
As at 30 October 2014, in relation to cases of alleged corruption, the Public Service Commission has generated over 21 000 reports out of 260 000 reports for possible investigation. There are still cases outstanding since 2005. The major complaints during this time to the hotline was social grant fraud, the abuse of power by government, irregular appointments, allocation of RDP housing – one ANC cadre; one RDP unit – as well as procurement irregularities and identity document fraud. For the year 2013-14, the hotline has cost this country R258 million, of which R191 million emanated from allegations at the provincial level.
This is not all. The latest wave of fake qualifications is alarming. People study at and present qualifications from universities that we still have to build! We have been told by the Public Service Commission that 640 officials in the departments were found to have misrepresented their qualifications. [Interjections.]
Chairperson, I am now dealing with the concern you raised earlier. When I asked Minister Mthethwa a question - whether he would release the names of the officials and fire them -his response was as follows:
Measures have been instituted, which include investigations into the allegations of misrepresentations. Outcomes of these investigations will clarify specific instances of misrepresentation and will also assist relevant executive authorities to institute disciplinary processes.
What kind of a response is that? [Interjections.]
Mr M S F DE FREITAS: Idiotic! [Interjections.]
Mr J J MCGLUWA: Under the DA government, the response will be obvious: “Yes, I will name them!” “Yes, I will fire them!” And, for an extra mark, we will say, “No, we will not redeploy them.”[Interjections.][Applause.]
During the 2009-10 financial year, the Public Service Commission had conducted a study to evaluate the impact of the policy and procedure on incapacity leave and ill-health retirement on sick leave trends in the Public Service. This country is losing R27 billion on ill-health retirement leave. People are sick within the Public Service. People are just doing the salute and finish in the Public Service.
The last evaluation by the Public Service Commission on sick leave days was done in 2011. It was found that the highest amount of sick leave was taken by the Department of Labour staff – and I hope Cosatu is listening. It had registered over 126 000 sick-leave days taken, and the total cost was about R50 million.
Let me take you back home to my province, the North West, where the department of education is a complete mess. After they have won suspension cases, people go back to work and find that somebody else has filled their post. I hope the Public Service Commission is listening because I am now serving as a whistle-blower. The cases of Petro de Nysschen, Mrs AnnelieBevan and Gershwin Chuenyane are examples of this.
Some of them, like Mr Mabipa, a close friend of Premier Supra Mahumapelo, have abdicated their responsibility as area managers, loitering around at the head office. You cannot see him; you cannot feel him. All we know is that he is somewhere in the legislature of the North West province. [Interjections.]
Others, like Mr Seshibe, a labour relations director, was suspended and has now been appointed as a district director in a district that does not exist. In that regionwe now have two directors in one district. I hope the premier is sweating, wherever he is now. [Interjections.]
We call on this government to restore the dignity of civil service, cut the Public Service wage bill and ensure that corruption in the Public Service is dealt with through the full might of the law. Ke a leboga.[Applause.]
Ms N V NQWENISO
Mr J JMcGLUWA
Ms N V NQWENISO: Chairperson, the EFF rejects this budget of the Department of Public Service and Administration because we cannot support a budget to increase the salaries of directors-general, deputy directors-general and directors who sit in cosy air-conditioned offices all day and are blatantly refusing - together with the Minister - to meet the public servants’ demand of a mere 10% wage increase.
As the EFF, we refuse to abandon the workers’ struggle in favour of the self-enrichment of officials who already earn extremely high salaries. Marikana workers were right to demand their wage increase in figures, rather than percentagesbecauseit is quite clear that the talk of percentage confuses everyone - the Minister and the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council. They think that a person who takes home R5 000 will be taking home another R5 000 at 5,8%.
The wage gap within public servants must be reduced to ensure that the gap between the lowest paid and the highest paid worker is narrowed.
Why does government demand five years of experience for an entry level position? Where will job seekers get this type of experience?
We strongly rebuke the Government Employees Medical Scheme for the use of percentages across the board to increase its already unreasonable fees. As a result, most South African public servants live without medical aid as they cannot afford it.
Minister, the thorough implementation of government policies and provision of public service to South Africansshould be central to public administration, not the milking of ministerial handbooks, corruption, nepotism and the refusal to account for anything.
The President of this country repaid his loyalists by establishing multiple departments and creating more government entities, all of which have not improved public service in this country but cost all of us billions of rand a year on salaries and benefits alone.
The budget allocation to the enforcement of Batho Pele must be reviewed and changed to the enforcement of the Public Service Charter. How will public servants know and understand the charter when the heads of department do not understand it? The enforcement of the Public Service Charter must be prioritised, otherwise Batho Pele will always be bathomorago.
The director-general promised to bring teams dealing with job grading systems, remuneration frameworks and government employee housing schemes to the portfolio committee. To date that has never happened and we were presented with the same recycled budget.
The implementation of the PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2012 has never been monitored. As a result we still have the same issues we had before they were adopted.I hope the workers are listening.
Teachers in the Eastern Cape still do not have toilets, while nurses in Khayelitsha took to the streets about two weeks ago and police officers are often off sick, because of the unhygienic conditions under which they work, while it was promised that this would be taken care of.
The appalling conditions of the Thusong Service Centres that we visited are heartbreaking. We witnessed situations were multiple social workers are crammed into tiny offices, with no proper filing system in place. Who actually benefits from the Thusong Service Centres and why have the responsible Ministers and MECs not followed up on those entities?
The National School of Government has been in a floundering state ever since its conception. All it does is create work and opportunities for ANC members. If there are no plans ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M GBoroto): Thank you,hon member. Your time has expired.
Ms N V NQWENISO: ... to open an actual school of governance, it should be closed.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Nqweniso!
Ms N V NQWENISO: The DPSA is primarily about looting state resources and abusing our people ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Nqweniso, your time has expired.
Ms N V NQWENISO: ... and that is why we are rejecting this budget. Thank you.
Mr M HLENGWA
Ms N V NQWENISO
Mr M HLENGWA: Chairperson, at the outset and on behalf of the IFP, I wish to reconvey our condolences to the Department of Public Service and Administration on the passing of hon Minister Collins Chabane, who, we believe,set this department and the Public Service on a trajectory that inspired hope.
I wish to preface my contribution today with the words of the hon late Minister, who, during the Budget Vote last year, said the following:
For us to succeed in freeing our people from poverty we require well-run and effectively co-ordinated state institutions with skilled public servants who are committed to serving our people.
This department is one of the toughest mandates in government and I am referring specifically to the mandate to improve the professionalisation of service delivery by government to the people of our country through a civil service that is keenly aware of the socioeconomic conditions of our people.
Public service is no ordinary job, but rather a patriotic duty that makes or breaks the prospects of alleviating the plight of our people. In fact, public service is the yardstick measure of service delivery and a crucial benchmark of the health of our democratic discourse.
The Batho Pele principles embody the ideal that people - the citizens - come first, regardless of their standing in society, and as such people relations should be uppermost in the minds of government employees and officials. The treatment and interpersonal interaction should be equal for all citizens.
However, the continued politicisation of unions is the greatest threat to the professional functioning of the Public Service. The politics of the tripartite alliance in particular have often spilled over into the operational discourse of the Public Service, bringing service delivery to a painfully grinding halt at the expense of communities, patients and learners.The IFP supports, upholds and respects the right of workers to organise themselves into unions, but all rights come with responsibilities.
The ANC in particular finds itself having to buckle to the whims of its union allies - when they sneeze in the tripartite alliance, the whole of the Public Service catches the cold.
The SA Democratic Teachers Union,Sadtu, in particular, ranks at the very top of the threats facing education and the Public Service. The passion and dedication to develop the black child is something that is very foreign to the vocabulary of Sadtu. This union is the unmatched bane of our education. The ease to strike and leave learners wanting is a clear indication that Sadtu does not care about the black child.
The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation makes the following a noteworthy observation:
We have the additional challenge of young South Africans who have gone through a public system education that is struggling to equip them sufficiently.
In part, Sadtu is at the forefront of party politics and continuously absent in the classroom, yet they expect to be paid at the end of each month.Any unprofessional and rogue public servant is stealing money as they do not deserve the salaries they earn.
The hard fact is that Sadtu is in breach of its social contract, and through its unprofessional conduct is guilty of dereliction of duty and of costing learners a quality future.
Cosatu in particular continues to pull government along by the nose because it forms part, rightly or wrongly, of the election machinery of the ANC. This cheap, shallow, dirty and self-serving attitude is precisely the reason that the Public Service is all but on its knees today.
The Public Service remains one of the biggest employers in our country, as well as the face of our government. The effective implementation and co-ordination of the interventions that would allow for an effective, efficient and development-orientated Public Service are dependent on a proactive employer and committed civil servants.
Therefore, the IFP thanks all public servants who on a daily basis go out of their way and embark on that extra mile to ensure that even the most vulnerable and the poorest of the poor access services of the highest order.
The IFP will support the department’s initiatives aimed at entrenching Batho Pele and professional administration in all spheres of government and in all sectors of public administration.South Africa deserves an impartial, transparent, competent, accountable, efficient, effective, nonpolitical, nonpartisan and trustworthy Public Service.
Therefore, as the IFP supports this Budget Vote, …[Applause.]...we will continue to work alongside the department to ensure that the principle of Batho Pele and the vision of the National Development Planis truly fulfilled.
Finally, hon Acting Minister, it would be in the collective interest of development that workers are given a living wage. I thank you. [Time expired.]
Mr S C MNCWABE
Mr M HLENGWA
Mr S C MNCWABE: Chairperson, hon members, distinguished guests good afternoon. The Department of Public Service and Administration is facing the daunting task of implementing and co-ordinating interventions aimed at achieving an efficient, effective and development-orientated Public Service. This, we believe, is an essential element of a capable and developmental state.
The NFP welcomes the plans of this department to introduce measures that will place the Public Service on a more professional footing than what it currently is. In particular, we are in favour of the proposed compulsory training programmes and the review of procedures in the appointment of senior managers. We believe such measures will contribute to increased dignity and respect for the Public Service.
These measures are important since the recent recruitment of personnel and appointment of senior positions are surrounded by serious allegations of nepotism and cadre deployment in many instances. This has dented the image of the department.
This department must also be seen to be doing something to combat and eradicate corruption, which is currently one of the major problems prevalent in many state departments. We would welcome all transparent and practical interventions in this regard.
The department would, in our view, also benefit from working harder to make the Public Service attractive to young graduates. They always think of the private sector as the best and most rewarding sector to work for. In this regard, the Public Service ought to be marketed as a career of choice for young graduates and as an avenue that offers opportunities for growth and life-long learning. This will indeed place the Public Service on a more professional footing and make it more attractive and exciting to work for.
The NFP also welcomes the amount of R314,6 million allocated for service delivery support programmes, which are aimed at managing and facilitating improved service delivery planning. We trust that by using this money judiciously, the department will be able to give technical support to national, provincial and local government institutions that are faced by service delivery challenges.
In order to make sure that the Public Service performs the duties assigned to it optimally, the Public Service Commission must continue to investigate and improve public administration practices by conducting audits and investigations into public administration practices.It must make recommendations to departments on how to promote good governance and issue directives regarding compliance with the Public Service Act and other relevant legislation.
The commission must furthermore be able to give us assurance that the Public Service will employ only the most capable and professional staff to improve the quality of service given to the Public Service client. It must also give us assurance that senior managers with fake qualifications will be rooted out.
Finally, the NFP wishes to commend the commission and the department for the steps taken to ensure that public servants are prohibited from doing business with the state as we view this as a major gateway for corruption.
The NFP supports the budget of the department as tabled before us. I thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION
Mr S C MNCWABE
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION: Hon House Chairperson, the hon acting Minister for Public Service and Administration, Mr NathiMthethwa,hon Members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen,all protocols observed. “When we together drew up and adopted the Freedom Charter, …we stated the matter plainly that each people has a right to independence and self-government.” These are the words of the former president of the ANC, O R Tambo, as he declared 1980 the Year of the Freedom Charter. Sixty years later, this is still relevant today.
These words ring true even today because the Freedom Charter constitutes the embodiment of our deepest aspirations as a people. Today we present the 2015-16budget for the Ministry for Public Service and Administration at a very low point. We remain in mourning, following the tragic loss of our leader, the late Minister Collins Chabane.
What a visionary, what a pragmatist, what a unifying force and what a humanitarian he was. It was an honour for me to have worked with Minister Chabane in his capacity as the Minister of Public Service and Administration. Although it was for a short while, his presence had a profound impact on me personally and the staff of the portfolio as a whole.
He was a visionary and demanded from us to reflectdeeply on the mandate of this portfolio and on our responsibility to the communities who depend on us for a better service experience in every government department. The pragmatist in him drove us hard to come up with innovative ways in which we could improve the efficiency of the Public Service. He encouraged theMinistry for Public Service and Administration portfolio to pay special attention to frontline service delivery as he believed that that was the section of the Public Service that needed the most attention. This unique perspective on improving service delivery is one thatunderstoodpublic servants at the forefrontto be revitalised through direct engagement, capacity development and encouragement.
The humanitarian in him taught us to be always keenly aware and responsive to improving the working conditions of lower-level employees. Minister Chabane, the unifying force, was able to come into the portfolio and within a short period of timehave such a positive impact within the organisation that it led to everyone feeling that they were valued and that they could make a significant contribution in turning the public administration machinery around for greater efficiency.As we remember him, we do so guided by the wisdom and humility of this great leader whose life was a true embodiment of the principles of Batho Pele.
We wish to report back to the House and our people on the undertakings we made during the Budget Vote of 2014; the first being community development workers, orCDWs. Last year, we made a commitment that we would ensure that community development workers supported the programmes of the National Development Plan.
In the last financial year, CDWs continued to empower communities in public participation programmes. In Mpumalanga, CDWs facilitated community participation in the Integrated Development Planning processes. The province has also successfully developed a system that provides regular updates on service delivery protests. Community development workers in KwaZulu-Natal were instrumental in mobilising the community to participate in meetings where the proposed municipal demarcation changes of wards were discussed. This reduced the number of community protests in the area.
On the same score, in the Eastern Cape, CDWs assisted municipalities to speedily clear the backlogs of petitions submitted by communities. Provinces continued to identify children who are outside the early childhood development, ECD, programmes. To this effect, Free State identified 1 298 children were not attending school. They are now in the ECD programme.
In the North West, the community development workers programme, CDWP, hosted the ward-based planning summit in DrRuth SegomotsiMompatiDistrict Municipality to enable local communities to effectively participate and monitor government local planning processes.
At this point, allow me to pause and pay tribute to the dearly departed veteran of our struggle, Dr Ruth Mompati. Mme Ruth was not only a freedom fighter but a gender activist, a mother to some and an impressionable revolutionary. Throughout her life Dr Mompati worked to improve the lives of all South Africans as she dedicated her entire life to the liberation of our people.
We have made little progress in resolving the challenges of the location of the CDW programme, so making it a little difficult to derive the true value of the programme as was envisaged at its inception.
With regard to the Thusong Service Centres, our previous Budget Vote in 2014 focused on reinventing government. This will continue to be the focus of how we transform the Public Service and Administration portfolio. Our commitment to create synergy between Thusong Service Centres and other public participation programmes to enhance service delivery is well on track. Based on the experiences of the Department of Home Affairs, we are more convinced of the need to investigate convenient service hours and locations to improve accessibility for citizens.In September 2014, the MaponyaThusong Service Centre in Maponya Mall, Soweto, was launched by the Deputy President.
Regarding the National School of Government, professionalising the Public Service is no mean feat and can only be achieved through a uniform strategy in mandatory training; the establishment of a common vision and sense of purpose, maintenance of common human resources development norms and enhanced learning.
In November 2014, the Minister approved a directive on compulsory capacity development, mandatory training days and minimum entry requirements for the Senior Management Service, SMS, which is to be implemented from the 2016-17 financial year. The NSG has been mandated with the implementation of this, which must be completed by potential SMS members as a pre-entry certificate into the SMS. The NSG will, during this financial year, commence with processes that would give effect to this directive in the subsequent years.
The National Development Plan provides guidance by unpacking a number of key drivers for change and what would constitute an enabling environment. Innovation, it says, should start to become pervasive across state, business and social sectors. Innovation should focus on improved public services and goods and services aimed at low-income sectors.
The Centre for Public Service Innovation collaboratively explores service, process or product opportunities using research tools for gathering data and ideas from citizens, business, government departments, organisations, entities and international best practice. Thereafter, itdetermines the design funnel by screening alternative models and exploiting new technologies or materials to become workable solutions for our citizens.
We are pleased that as of 1 April 2015, the Centre for Public Service Innovation is a fully fledged government component, operating independently of the Department of Public Service and Administration. This has had a percentage increase in the budget allocation for the CPSI and also that it can now explore other funding mechanisms. The CPSI will continue to initiate new pilot projects and replicate innovations coming from our Public Sector Innovation Awards Programme.
Our citizen engagement priorities are found in the 1955 Freedom Charter, when we said:
The people shall govern!...
All people shall be entitled to take part in the administration of the country.
It is only through social dialogue, public participation, access to information and decision making, as well as capacitating citizens to have a voice in influencing public policy-making processes, that our endeavours are meaningful in transforming our society and citizen-government relationship. To this end, we are immersed in the work of two international governance and accountability instruments, namely the African Peer Review Mechanism, APRM,and the Open Government Partnership, OGP.
Through the Open Government Partnership, OGP,the country hasassumed increasing responsibility and leadership in the global battle for openness and transparency. South Africa was elected to the position of co-chair of the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee from October 2014, with Mexico as the lead chair.
In the year 2015-16, we assume the position of lead chair of the OGP, an institution that has reflected significant growth - from eight countries in 2011 to 65 countries in 2015. This has been because South Africa has also put its best foot forward to ensure that the OGP rises. Therefore, given the primacy of strengthening good governance locally in 2015 and beyond, we will focus on creating and strengthening mechanisms for ongoing civil society and government interaction.
To this end, we have recently held consultative meetings with civil society on the OGP, which culminated in a proposed approach on how to institutionalise the social dialogue between government and civil society on OGP.We are currently in the process of consultation on the OGP Midterm Self-Assessment Report.
The African Peer Review Mechanism is our demonstration to the world that on our continent, leaders and citizens are committed to the highest level of accountability.In our capacity as host of the APRM Secretariat, we wish to report to this House that we are on track with finalising the host agreement. We are pleased to inform you that we have completed the process of recruitment of all executive positions, except the position of the chief executive officer for the APRM, which we aim to conclude by June 2015, in time for the African Union Summit.
The absence of a permanent CEO has made it difficult to implement some of the APRM programme effectively and this has had a negative impact on the secretariat’s ability to collect member contributions. It is reported that the APRM does not have enough funds to last for the year. The situation is dire and as South Africa we have an obligation to make sure that we do not allow the situation to deteriorate any further. There is a role for the portfolio committee, through the Pan-African Parliament, to support our efforts, which are aimed at strengthening the APRM mechanisms for the sake of the continent.
On a positive note, allow me to congratulate our former Minister, Ms Bridget Mabandla, for her appointment to the African Peer Review Panel of Eminent Persons.[IApplause.]
In conclusion, I wish to thank the following for their role in making the Ministry for Public Service and Administration a success: our acting Minister, honNathiMthethwa; the chairperson of the Public Service Commission;the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration/Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, under the steady hand of thehon Peace Mabe, for keeping us on our toes; the chairperson of the board ofthe Government Employees Medical Scheme, directors-general, heads ofMinistry for Public Service and Administrationportfolios and civil society organisations that work with us in the APRM and OGP.
We shall continue to pay homage to the late Minister Collins Chabane and former mayor of Vryburg, Mme Ruth Mompati, through our collective efforts in building a Public Service that serves our people with humility and selflessness. We shall endeavour to give true meaning to the slogan “The people shall govern”. I thank you.
Mr M L D NTOMBELA
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION
Mr M L D NTOMBELA: Thank you, Chairperson of the House. Hon Minister, Deputy Minister, chairperson of the portfolio committee, hon Members of Parliament and distinguished guests, the SA Vanguard of Technology, or Savant, states that the world remains in the grip of an economic crisis despite signs of tentative recovery. The global economy still faces a number of significant challenges that hamper a genuine upturn, especially in the most advanced economies. South Africa has held steady in the face of such global economic uncertainty and is meeting its economic challenges head-on.
International analysts generally believe that South Africa and some African countries are well placed to weather the global storm. In a publication of May 2013, South Africa was named the top dream tourist destination in the world by members of the world’s largest travel and lifestyle social network, wayn.com.
The reason I am raising this is to demonstrate that under this government South Africa is going in the right direction. As a matter of fact, our Constitution provides that the Republic is one sovereign and democratic state, and that the government is constituted of the national, provincial and local spheres of government. These spheres are distinctive, interdependent and inter-related. The enactment of the Public Administration Management Bill is indeed a necessary injection to promote the basic values and principles that govern the Public Service.
It is indeed a significant step in realising not only our constitutional mandate as government but also our obligation to the social contract we committed ourselves to in 1994 as the ANC; our mandate being the promotion of a high standard of professional ethics in the Public Service and a Public Service that is also responsive, efficient and development orientated.
In her book Public Sector Reform: Governance in South Africa, Karen Miller states:
The democratic political dispensation of post-apartheid South Africa inherited a Public Service which was beset with problems. The impact of apartheid created a Public Service that lacked legitimacy, professionalism, representation, a democratic and development culture and the capacity to deliver quality services to all South Africans.
It is therefore the responsibility of the ANC-led government in this democratic dispensation to advocate for change, such that the principles indicated in our Constitution are entrenched and a culture of professionalism and prudence is instilled. This is the conscious effort of government as articulated in the National Development Plan - a Public Service that upholds integrity, accountability, transparency and responsiveness.
The ANC is fully behind the approval of this Budget Vote. To further give effect to my assertion, I will cite a few examples to demonstrate my point. The comfort and wellbeing of a Public Service cadre is paramount to us. In line with the Freedom Charter, there shall be work and security.
The Minister of Public Service and Administration, in terms of the Public Service Act 1994, as amended, approved that the Methodology for Quarterly Assurance of Performance Agreements for Senior Managers be implemented with effect from 1 April 2014. Furthermore, the agreement on the review of the existing outsourcing and agentisation practise within the Public Service and conducting an impact study on the principles of decent work was signed on 10 February 2015.
The recruitment of interns, learners and apprentices is maturing each year to the extent that between 2009 and 2014 a total number of 98 820 individuals were recruited into the Public Service at both national and provincial level as interns, learners and so on. These are but some of the good initiatives by the department in pursuit of the realisation of the NDP; that is, a Public Service administration that is responsive to the needs of the society it is serving and the development of a Public Service cadre who is capable of taking the Public Service to greater productivity.
The hon Minister made mention of the Batho Pele Excellence Awards. These are an effective tool to motivate public servants to perform optimally in the provision of quality service, thus igniting the passion for public servants to provide quality service to communities.
My assertion here again is that this government, empowered by the objectives of the NDP 2030, the Freedom Charter and the manifesto of the ANC, is on course to develop an effective, efficient and development-oriented Public Service. Be that as it may, it would be a travesty of justice to overlook some of the weaknesses identified by the committee and the challenges needing our mature leadership and attention.
The Public Service has made tremendous inroads concerning the affirmation of women at senior management level. However, it has not yet reached 50% gender representivity. As of now, gender representivity stands at 40,4% with regard to women in senior positions. This being one of the presidential priorities and resolutions of the ANC’s national conference, it should be corrected.
On the issue of multiyear agreements, we plead with the department to continue with the trend it set some time ago to have a multiyear agreement with organised Public Service labour. This will help minimise disruption. Multiyear wage agreements should be viewed as a sign of maturity within the bargaining chamber.
Again, with regard to the filling of funded posts, as the custodian of human resources matters, the department is urged to ensure that it and other departments fill all funded vacant posts. Remember that, firstly, funded posts carry within them embedded and funded mandates. Secondly, a direct service is completely curtailed if the funded positions remain vacant for a long time. This reflects badly on the Public Service. If the Public Service looks bad, government looks bad as well, and when government looks bad the political party that runs government looks bad to the electorate. This is the picture the Public Service should prevent at all costs. However, we are happy that most departments now do strive to maintain the vacancy rate at 10% and below, and fill posts within four months. Kuyaqhutjwa la ekhaya.
With regard to the review of service regulations, the department is further urged to speed up the process of reviewing Public Service regulations, especially chapter two and three, so that it becomes easy to impose disciplinary sanctions on those who breach the rules.
To address the systemic challenges of Public Service delivery, the National School of Government was introduced. It was launched as a call to build a capable developmental state. Having said that, this brings to the fore Project HR Connect, where we think of schools’ shortages and the institutional needs of the Public Service sector.
Project HR Connect is a Public Service skills audit introduced as a process to measure and establish the extent and depth of skills; that is, the capacity of the state. In this regard, 800 000 employees from 146 departmentswere surveyed and 500 skills audit reports were issued to the relevant department. That is very positive!
It therefore makes good sense that the policies of the school should tally with the aspirations of the NDP. However, the National School of Government itself must also improve on internal and audit processes and reduce the burden of external audit firms. It is for that reason that we commend training programmes such as the Wamkelikileinduction of senior management and others.
In conclusion, the portfolio committee is satisfied with the progress made in implementing and co-ordinating interventions aimed at achieving an efficient, effective and development-orientated Public Service. Chairperson, the ANC supports the approval of the budget. [Applause.]
Mr W M MADISHA
Mr M L D NTOMBELA
Mr W M MADISHA: Hon Chair, the dream of most South Africans in 1994 was to see the birth of a people-centred, well-capacitated and modern Public Service. In 1997, government ambitiously launched the Batho Pele initiative and undertook to transform the Public Service at all levels. People of our country rightly expected the following from state officials: Firstly, people-friendly services; secondly, competence and highskills levels; thirdly, efficiency and responsiveness; and lastly, the ethical use of state resources.
For the majority of us, the old pre-1994 culture was anathema. We all expected the new times to bring a new and caring attitude. From 2007, government promised new norms and standards to improve service delivery. That promise is still unfulfilled. What we experienced from 2007 was the deep entrenchment of corruption. The procurement process was subverted to enrich many officials and their friends and families. An amount of R30 billion or more that should have gone into services annually to improve the lives of the poor went into futile and fruitless expenditure. Recently, we heard ClaysonMonyela on eNCA saying that any expense under R200 000 escaped scrutiny -here was an avenue to continue corrupt practices! Has his department investigated how many invoices were coming in at under R200 000 to avoid suspicion or detection? The Minister needs tell us.
The coming into effect of the Public Finance Management Act, the PFMA, and the Municipal Finance Management Act, the MFMA, promised the tightening of financial control. Unfortunately, this did not transpire all together. The Department of Public Works, for example, argued that there was no time to go to tender on a majority of rentals and leases. The department routinely bypassed provisions of the PFMA and entered into noncompetitive lease agreements. Departments have rendered the PFMA futile.
The Auditor-General has for years complained about how lax financial controls were and was frustrated that no one in government cared to listen. The Auditor-General lamented that there were no consequences at all and now the chests at Treasury are empty. Fiscal space has narrowed considerably. The people of our country are angry and disappointed. They feel that the government has betrayed them. Today, South Africa is the protest capital of the world. Today, for example, more people around Johannesburgwere killed.
To gain credibility, the Department of Public Service and Administration must faithfully honour section 195(1) of our Constitution. Hon Minister, I shall leave all these other areas because we need to respect the Chairperson and thus we indicate that now it is not truly proper for us to welcome this. Thank you.
Mr S N SWART
Mr W M MADISHA
Mr S N SWART: The ACDP again wishes to express our deepest condolences on the untimely death of Mr Collins Chabane. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with his family and friends. He leaves a rich legacy and will be sorely missed.
We also wish to thank and commend the many thousands of loyal and hard-working public servants, doctors, nurses, teachers and police officers who deliver much-needed services to the public on a day-to-day basis. We also welcome the progress that was made in the public wage sector negotiations and trust that the differences will be resolved to avoid debilitating strikes in the public sector. We would also caution state negotiators to be mindful of what impact wage increases would have on state finances.
Earlier this year, the Minister of Finance indicated that government’s stringent fiscal policy limited the public sector settlement to 1% above inflation, which was then 4%. We are now looking at a possible settlement figure above 7%, with increased benefits.The Minister also indicated that the state’s unwieldy wage bill, which has doubled since 2007-08, consumes 35% of government spending and is one of the country’s main economic risks. Ailing service delivery and falling productivity at local government level makes it difficult for anyone to justify significant wage increases in this sector where unions are at present demanding 15% across the board for 270 000 employees. We would also expect an increase in productivity to accompany any wage increases.
As other speakers have indicated, we are also concerned about the high levels of wasteful, corrupt and irregular expenditure in public sector procurement. The Public Administration Management Act makes it an offence punishable by a five-year jail sentence for a public servant to do business with the state. The question is this: To what degree has any public servant been brought before the court in terms of these provisions?
We also need to strengthen whistle-blower provisions. One of the speakers referred to that, Acting Minister, saying that we are awaiting the amendments in the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services to the Protected Disclosures Act, which, we believe, will go a long way in protecting whistle-blowers. We are also concerned about the increasing tendency of paying golden handshakes to top public servants to buy their silence, which coststhe state coffers millions.
We saw this recently with the Hawks boss, Lieutenant-GeneralAnwaDramat, and to a lesser degree with senior Sars officials Messrs Pillay and Richter. While we have no details on why the Cassim Inquiry into thefitness of the NPA boss, Mr Nxasana, to hold office was abruptly ended this past Sunday, we would speculate that another golden handshake is in the offing. Just think of the additional wasted money spent on the legal, accommodation and other costs of this inquiry.
Lastly, we are also concerned about the guidelines for finalising disciplinary actions, which was referred to by other speakers. We understand that there is a guideline of about three months that should be adhered to. Many people are sitting at home, earning salaries, and this is an issue of extreme concern. The ACDP supports this Budget Vote. Thank you.
Mr A P VAN DER WESTHUIZEN
Mr S N SWART
Mr A P VAN DER WESTHUIZEN: Hon House Chairperson, Acting Minister, Deputy Minister and hon members, only a few Constitutions in the world refer to the Public Service but the South African Constitution does, and it is quite specific in this regard. ThehonMadisha referredto the dream of 1994. Section 195(1) addresses the Public Service and the principles that it should honour. Our Constitution expects of the Public Service to be efficient, economic and to use its resource effectively. It emphasises accountability and demands good human resource practices. However, this government, as has so often been the case, has been ignoring the principle that is stated in the Constitution – and it is not only the DA that is saying this.
In November last year, the Auditor-General published a report that was titled“The Consolidated General Report on the National and Provincial Audit Outcomes”.As you know, the Auditor-General is now also auditing performance beyond the financial figures and this includes the quality of human resource management. In 54% of government departments and entities audited, the quality of human resource management was found to be concerning and - even worse – in need of outside intervention.
Fortunately, there is one beacon of hope - and I appreciate the Minister’s recognition of one of its star performers here today. All the DA-run Western Cape provincial departments have met the requirements for human resource management controls.
This week marks two months of this department not knowing who will be succeeding the late Minister Chabane. This ineptness of the President to fill vacancies is also seen in the Public Service. We all know that the fish rots from its head. The Auditor-General found that 16% of the positions of accounting officers have been vacant for more than six months and of those positions that have been filledthe average term has been less than three years.
A similar finding was made regarding chief financial officers, except that the figures were even worse. It was found that one third of public entities were operating without chief financial officers. The vacancy rate for heads of supply chain management units was standing at 18%. The report found that many departments and entities are lacking in financial planning, record-keeping and financial reporting. Management – and my colleague referred to this - seldom takes effective disciplinary action against officials who are involved in unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure. No wonder, then, that on average only one in four government departments comply with key legislative requirements.
The Western Cape was found to be the best performing province by far, and improving. [Interjections.] This was in stark contrast to national and provincial departments under the control of the ANC, many of whom were found to be regressing. In Gauteng – the next best province – only half of the departments were found to be compliant, and in Limpopo and the North West only one provincial department complied.
It is therefore clear that training in the legislation and regulations applicable to the Public Service is of the utmost importance. The preferred service provider for this should have been government’s own training institution, now known as the National School of Government, which is funded to the value of R138 million per annum. Parliamentary questions have revealed the extent of its failure and I was grateful to learn today that it will be transformed – again.
Most large employers have induction programmes for newly recruited employees. In July 2012 Minister Sisulu signed an agreement with organised labour that linked pay progression for new entrants to the successful completion of a compulsory induction course. In an answer dated October last year, the then Minister confirmed that out of 1,3 millionpublic servants only 44 have completed the Compulsory Induction Programme to date. The total number of public servants trained by this institution has decreased by 40% over two years and only 10% of the training offered by the National School of Government is on accredited programmes.
This government is failing in its constitutional obligation to invest in its staff and to build capacity. And while President Zuma has been trying to work out which splinter group in the ANC should be rewarded with the vacant Cabinet post, South Africans are showing their growing discontent for the quality of public services. I thank you.
Ms Z S DLAMINI-DUBAZANA
Mr A P VAN DER WESTHUIZEN
Ms Z S DLAMINI-DUBAZANA: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members and distinguished guests ...
In 1994, the Pan-African Conference of Ministers of Civil Service in Morocco declared 23 June “Africa Public Service Day”. Why was this done? It was done to recognise the value and the virtue of service to the community. This Charter is an authoritative embodiment of the values and ethics of public service, and therefore everyone who is in this sector must abide to it.
The reason I am reminding everyone of this is that we as the ANC give praise where it is due and we criticise constructively - unlike the other parties, in particular the DA. I am sure the guests over there have been listening to the DA and heard them giving us problems but no solutions.
As a result, I think I need to corrects some misconstrued facts, because at the end of the day South African might think they have ended up with information, but that information is incorrect. I want to start with what honMcGluwa said. Hon McGluwa says R400 billion has been spent inefficiently and ineffectively by this ANC-led government. Now, honMcGluwa, the amount that we arerequesting from the fiscustoday for Budget Vote 10 is only R930,9 million. Where do you get the R400 billion from?[Interjections.]Perhaps you do not understand the numbers.
You talk about reducing the Public Service wage bill. This is what the DA is saying. On the onehand, the DA is saying, you know, this ANC-led government does not know what they are doing; it is cadre deployment. On the other hand, your partners, the EFF, say, we are not going to dump the struggle of the workers. So, already there is confusion. Do you know why? It is because your party, the DA, does not have the policies regarding the wage bill; regarding the Public Service; regarding the service practitioners. The day you have the policies is when you will be able to stand at the podium and debate this issue.
The other thing that you are saying - you are commenting on the Auditor-General’s salary. You are saying the Auditor-General is being given an exorbitant salary.Now, we are talking about scarce resources. This country has got scarce resources because of that supremacy ideology brought in by Van Riebeeck. Van Riebeeck said, “You know what, don’t deal with issues of the economy issues; don’t deal with the training of human capital; deal with a black person. If you do that, then you will get the power.”Today the country and the ANC is faced with that problem. It is because of that - and you are not acknowledging that. I think it is high time that we acknowledge that. [Applause.]
You are talking about the outstanding allegations. It is true - they are outstanding, because the ANC is trying to build those scarce resources. We do not have them. However, the work is in progress. Please acknowledge thatand please come up with some solutions. After all, you are a member of the committee, although you attend whenever you want to.
You know, this is very interesting. You are referring to the R27 billion again - that one is correct. But now they are putting it in completely the wrong context. Why are you saying the R27 billion has been wasted on - if I were to put it in a decent way- incapacity leave? If you are going to talk aboutincapacity leave, hon member of the DA, let us remember this: From 2000 to 2001, the ANC undertook a pilot study because the ANC realised that there were people whose applications had been processed and they were given or awarded the monies. Remember, who was doing this? It was the previous system that was approving those applications. As a result, the amount shot up to that R27 billion. [Interjections.]
Let me tell you something. To date,that study on incapacity leave came up with the number of applications received as being 47 200. That was the number. What the ANC-led government did – because they know what they are doing because they are being guided by the ANC resolutions – is they processed 24 000 of the 47 000, and then 22 000 were declined because they were following the policy.
Mr J J MCGLUWA: Hundred and twenty five.
Ms Z S DLAMINI-DUBAZANA: No, it was 22,5. You must read the numbers. You have a problem with numbers.
Now, when I talk about incapacity leave, if you look at the policy - the policy that was designed by the apartheid system - it centralised it. It made sure that it centralised it. The location was just there; there was no accessibility. What did the ANC do? They came in and unlocked that. They decentralised the venues. They made sure that they appointed managers to deal with those cases and, at the end of the day, the applications are being processed.
So, let us applaud the ANC for doing that. [Applause.] Let us applaud and say to the people who left the system in South Africa - they could be teachers; they could be nurses; they could be anybody, as long as they are service practitioners - their applications will be processed. If not, we can’t give them a time frame but we can say that it will be processed - unlike previously, where it was being taken and put there. That was before the ANC. [Interjections.]
Now, I want to go to what the EFF said. Hon Nqweni - I hope I saying your name correctly.
Ms N V NQWENISO: It is Nqweniso.
Ms Z S DLAMINI-DUBAZANA: Oh,Nqweniso. You are talking about what government is demanding. You see...
... isiNgisi sibuye sibe yinkinga ...[Uhleko.] ... ngoba ngesinye isikhathi usuke ungaqondile ukusho lokho kodwa ugcine ukushilo. Uma uthi ...
... government demands five years experience for every post that is being advertised. That is a problem, because it is not true.
Yingako ngithi isiNgisi siyahlupha ngoba noma ngabe unayo imininingwane ngenxa yokuthi kufuneka uyibeke ngesiNgisi ugcina usuyibeka ngendlela engesilo iqiniso.
If you look at the Sunday Times, or if you look at all the national newspapers, you will see our departments advertising positions. You will see that there are requirements – they will say whatever experience they require and then they will say,“or equivalent”, but it is different. [Interjections.] Yes, there is no demand; that is just nowhere. We cannot mislead South Africans with the wrong information.
Now you are saying the President pays for loyalty. That is misleading. There are no loyalties that the President paid for. He did not pay, as you are saying, to establish or multiply the departments. Multiplying the departments came about because the ANC sat down and took resolutions, and then instructed the President to do so. The ANC said, Mr President, make sure you establish the women presidency; make sure you divide the economy, so that at the end of the day they are the main focus. [Interjections.]So, there are no loyalties. Let us not mislead South Africans. [Interjections.]
You were talking about the director-generalnot coming back to give feedback on the public housing comprehensive scheme. Now, you see, sometimes if members feel like they don’t want to come to the committee, they will blame other people, saying they did not come before the committee. They don’t even know who is supposed to have that information. The Public Remuneration Commissioner came to the committee and did the presentation. We have the information. If people do not attend ... [Interjections.]
Ms N V NQWENISO: I was not there.
Ms Z S DLAMINI-DUBAZANA: You were not there! That is not the ANC’s problem. You cannot come here and inform South Africans that ... You know, our departments employsenior officials ... [Interjections.]
Ms N V NQWENISO: Point of order, sir.[Interjections.] Shut up!
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr M R Mdakane): Proceed with your point of order, hon member.
Ms N V NQWENISO: Chairperson, I cannot allow a member to mislead the House. I never missed a committee meeting where there was a presentation of the Government Employees Housing Scheme. It was never presented. Also, in all the committees, if I cannot be there, then I have representation.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr M R Mdakane): Please conclude, hon member.
Ms Z S DLAMINI-DUBAZANA: Thank you, Chairperson. The minutes that I have left I am leaving for our Minister to respond, because I know he has a lot to respond to. The ANC supports Budget Vote 10, which is worth R930,9 million. I thank you. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICES AND ADMINISTRATION
Ms Z S DLAMINI-DUBAZANA
The ACTING MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION (Mr E N Mthethwa): Thank you, Chairperson, and thank you to hon members for their contributions. On the point that the chairperson of the portfolio committee raised regarding the emphasis on professionalising the Public Service, as we have said, the National School of Government has started to do that. I think we should take that point. Then we should clarify the point further by saying that the number of 44 that the hon Van Westhuizen was talking about is actually 2 500 – that is the number of graduates who have been taken through the project, so it is much more than that figure of 44. What that says is that we are on track and we will continue on that path to ensure that we do indeed create this professional cadre in the Public Service.
The hon McGulwa…. [Interjections.]Sorry, McGluwa, speaking on behalf of the ID … [Interjections.] Sorry?
An HON MEMBER: The DA!
The ACTING MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION (Mr E N Mthethwa): Oh, okay - it is the same difference, really. [Applause] [Laughter.][Interjections.]
Mr J J MCGLUWA: On a point of order, Chair: The hon Marikana -ag, sorry, I mean the hon Mthethwa- is misleading this House. I spoke on behalf of the DA.
The ACTING MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION (Mr E N Mthethwa): Thank you for correcting me. I wanted to say that you made a valid point - there is no economy that will sustain itself if it pays wages and goes and borrows in order to pay those wages. That would be unsustainable. There has to be growth in the economy. For consumption, it would be difficult. No economy will do that.
The point you were making about directors-general giving bonuses - I do not know which director-general you are referring to. Directors-general have not been given bonuses, so I think we must correct that because it is wrong. You can think of that. The major problem with the member is your identity; there is a problem with your identity. [Laughter.] So, that is what we need to fix.
Hon Nqweniso, I think the hon Dlamini-Dubazana corrected the issue of jobs at the lower-level entry points. I mean, every weekend there are adverts for governance posts and so on and there is no such thing. I think that issue was well covered. I also missed some of what she was saying in her debate because she was too angry. I could not really get what she was saying. However, there is no such thing as lower levels having the requirements of experience that you mentioned. There is no such thing.
Hon Hlengwa, I think we should say that we agree with the point you are making about Batho Pele. You see, you have 1,3 million civil servants. There have been issues with some of them but if you look at the total number, you will see that many civil servants are doing their job. We take on board the point you are making about ensuring that Batho Pele principles and programmes succeed in such a way that at the end of the day it will reach the very objectives that it was started for. I also heard you emphasising professionalism – again, it will be part and parcel of the efforts of government, especially through strengthening the NSG.
Regarding the problem with Cosatu, I think you should have a bilateral with Cosatu. I think...
...uyayithanda i-Cosatu ningazixoxela nje nabo. Ubathanda kabi abantu be-Cosatu.
But, all in all, I think the criticism and what you have raised are some of the issues which are being raised.
Hon Mncwabe, the issue about government not meeting its obligation is encouraging us. Actually, the 40,4% that you referred to - of women at SMS level, which means we have not reached 50% - remains a challenge. Also, I thought you were going to emphasise the point that it is 40,4% now, while 20 years ago it was 2%. There has been improvement, particularly on that score, and government will continue to do that.[Applause.]
All in all, members were very objective in what they were raising. They were raising issues that my predecessors in this portfolio embarked on, including unannounced visits - the late Minister Chabane and other Ministers started on that path. They will be able to ensure that we will do together those things that we said we would do. Together with you, we will raise those things that are blindspots. We are moving forward and we are moving the Public Service forward. Thank you very much. Siyaqhuba! [Applause.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Mr M R Mdakane): Thank you, hon Minister. Members are reminded that the Extended Public Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will meet at 17h00 in the National Assembly Chamber. That is in five minutes, to hon members who are expected to be there.
The Committee rose at 16:56.
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