The Public Service
The Department of Public Service and Administration is mandated to foster good governance and sound administration in the Public Service.
In 2010, the Government identified strategic priorities, which have been translated into 12 outcomes believed to improve service delivery and steer the country in the right direction both socially and economically. The Minister for Public Service and Administration was given the responsibility to coordinate the implementation, monitoring and reporting of Outcome 12: An efficient, effective and development-oriented public service and empowered, fair and inclusive citizenship. In translating Outcome 12 into the department's outputs and activities, 10 key priorities and their related objectives have been identified, which are the department's focus over the medium term:
- service-delivery quality and access
- effective systems, structures and processes
- leveraging information and communications technology (ICT) as a strategic resource (enabler)
- effective employment entry into public service and human-resource development (HRD) cadre development
- efficient HRM practices, norms and standards
- healthy, safe working environments for all public
- appropriate governance structures and decision-
- citizen engagement and public participation
- addressing corruption effectively
- contributing towards improved public service and administration in Africa and the international arena.
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Size of the Public Service
By the end of October 2011, the Public Service had nearly 1,3 million people in its employ (including members of the
South African National Defence Force). National government employed 391 922 people and the nine provincial governments 891 430 people.
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Conditions of service
Occupation-specific dispensations (OSDs) are tailor-made remuneration dispensations for categories of occupations in the Public Service. The introduction of OSDs aims to improve government's ability to attract and retain skilled employees.
Agreements have been reached on OSDs for nurses, educators and legally qualified employees, while OSDs for social workers, health professionals and correctional officials have been developed. A remuneration policy framework for the Single
Public Service was prepared.
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Policy on Incapacity Leave and Ill-Health
The Pilir was implemented in 2006 to improve the
management of incapacity leave and ill-health
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The Government Employees Medical Scheme (Gems) is an important institution within the Ministry for Public Service and Administration Portfolio.
By March 2012, Gems had more than 600 000 principal members and 1,6 million beneficiaries.
Gems is one of the top-performing public-service entities. The scheme has reconsidered its operational infrastructure and identified an efficient and cost-effective administration and clearing-house design that will permit the inclusion of additional service-provider contracts, leverage economies of scale, promote competition and further black economic empowerment (BEE), while also enabling smaller providers to render services to Gems.
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Single Public Service
Ensuring that services are citizen-informed, and re-engineering the service-delivery model of government and its constituent departments remain a key challenge and consequently focus of the Department of Public Service and Administration.
A related challenge is the requirement to streamline administrative and need processes to deliver simpler, more effective services to citizens and business and other stakeholders. This is central to the strategic objective of customer-service improvement.
For the past few years, the Department of Public Service and Administration has been tasked with developing a blueprint for a Single Public Service.
The department will start implementing the Process Map to Parliament that includes the review of the draft Public Administration Management Bill as part of a process to implement the Single Public Service.
Consultative workshops within government were held to finalise the draft revised legislation. Further consultations were made in the National Economic Development and Labour Council.
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Batho Pele (People First)
Batho Pele remains government's leading campaign to achieve the desired crucial transformation of the hearts and minds of public servants. This is a public-service culture reorientation programme that is aimed at aligning the behaviour and attitudes of public servants with the practice of Batho Pele ethos.
The principles of Batho Pele are:
- consultation − citizens should be consulted about the level and quality of the public services they receive and, where possible, be given a choice about the services that are offered
- service standards − citizens should be told what level and quality of public services they will receive so that they are aware of what to expect
- access − all citizens should have equal access to the services to which they are entitled
- courtesy − citizens should be treated with courtesy and consideration
- information − citizens should be given full, accurate information about the public services they are entitled to receive
- openness and transparency − citizens should be told how national and provincial departments are run, how much they cost and who is in charge
- redress − if the promised standard of service is not delivered, citizens should be offered an apology, a full explanation and a speedy and effective remedy; and when omplaints are made, citizens should receive a sympathetic, positive response
- value for money − public services should be provided economically and efficiently to give citizens the best possible value for money
- encouraging innovation and rewarding excellence− innovation can be new ways of providing better service, cutting costs, improving conditions, streamlining and generally making changes in line with the spirit of Batho Pele; it is also about rewarding the staff who "go the extra mile"
- customer impact − impact means looking at the benefits or customers, both internal and external; it is how the principles link together to show how overall service delivery and customer satisfaction have improved; and about making sure that customers are aware of and exercising their rights in terms of the Batho Pele principles
- leadership and strategic direction − good leadership is one of the most critical ingredients for successful organisations.
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Community development workers (CDWs)
There are approximately 3 100 CDWs employed in the Public Service, working in over 2 000 municipal wards across South Africa. CDWs are the only public servants in South Africa who are required to work in the municipal wards where they live and whose work-related activities straddle the three spheres of government.
One of their aims is to identify children without access to the Early Childhood Development Programme and make them part of it. The department also developed the Know Your CDW Campaign in 2011/12.
The CDW Programme played a critical role in making positive development impacts by:
- assisting in the elimination of government service-
delivery deadlocks, including bureaucratic bottlenecks in a range of government departments, especially the departments of home affairs and social development
- advocating an organised voice of and for the poor by supporting community-based organisations
- strengthening government-community networks through dissemination of information
- assisting in bridging the gap between the First and the Second Economy as an important part of advancing the South African developmental state.
However, government is aware of specific challenges facing the programme that may hamper the acceleration of service delivery.
A review of the Public Service regulations on the institutionalisation of service-delivery mechanisms, and a framework for community development and public participation is underway.
The Code of Conduct for CDWs will also be reviewed to address conflict between the Public Service and political activities. The department plans to ensure that the CDWs are linked to existing community structures such as school-governing bodies, community policing forums, ratepayers' associations, traditional institutions, citizen assemblies and religious bodies.
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The Department of Public Service and Administrationcontinues to provide coordination for the implementation of the Continental Capacity Development Programme.
South Africa is engaged in several post-conflict interventions in several countries, namely:
- the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): developing and implementing the Anti-Corruption Framework, the Public Service Census and capacity-building programmes
- Burundi: rebuilding and strengthening its Public Service for it to run effectively and implementing capacity-building programmes
- Rwanda: capacity-building programmes and leadership development
- South Sudan: capacity-building in HR and enhancing legislative and policy review
- For the first time, government included the participation of traditional leaders as one of the sectors in the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process.
The APRM ensures the adoption of policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated subregional and continental economic integration. This is done by sharing experiences and reinforcing best practices, including identifying deficiencies and assessing capacity-building needs.
Through the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, South Africa was asked to assist in developing a framework for civil society's participation in the review of government programmes.
Source: South Africa Yearbook 2011/12
Editor: D Burger. Government Communication and Information System
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