Speech delivered by Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration, Ayanda Dlodlo, on the occasion of the delivery of the budget vote for the portfolio of Public Service and Administration
22 May 2011
Minister for the Public Service and Administration
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration
Members of the Portfolio Committee Chairperson of the Public Service Commission
Honourable Members of the House
The Portfolio Leadership in the Ministry of Public Service and Administration
Our distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen
We are living in an interesting time in South Africa. Never in the history of our democracy have we witnessed a stronger need to fasten the manner in which we deliver services. Our democracy is at the height of its teenage years, and as with all teenagers, it is a pivotal time of questioning and rebellion. The public service is the institution charged with the management and redistribution of this teenager's resources. As such, never has there been a more opportune time for us work with vigour in ensuring that these resources are properly redistributed.
I would like to convey my greetings and thank you for affording us the opportunity to address this house on this very important day, the day for the presentation of the budget vote for the Portfolio of Public Service and Administration.
During last year's identification of strategic priorities and subsequent introduction of the outcomes-based approach as a manner of governance, the Ministry for Public Service and Administration was allocated 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".
What we do as government is premised on the ruling party's election manifesto and further enhance and guided by the outputs of outcome 12, Cabinet Lekgotla, the State of the Nation Address 2011 and the recent budget speech of the Minister of Finance 2011 and other imperatives arising from the assessment of performance of the public service.
Chairperson; during our last budget vote address to this House in 2010, the Office of the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration made the following commitments:
- To review the governance arrangements of the single public service
- Harness the power of technology through e-government
- Put in place measures to ensure the integrity of PERSAL data
- Provide support to at least 80% of Government Departments so they spend at least 1% of personnel budget on training
- Expand Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) membership and reduce the number of uncovered employees
- Roll out solutions to addressing the needs of visually impaired teachers
- Refocus the Community Development Workers (CDW) programme to play a stronger role in the war against poverty
- Connect Thusong Service Centres to the internet.
Financial period 2011/12 priorities
Honourable Chairperson, the President has called upon the public service to work harder and smarter in addressing the needs of the citizens. We want to assure the house that the Ministry will continue to implement the abovementioned programmes with renewed vigour. With regard to our priorities, I would like to pay special attention to the following given the time constraints:
- Enhancement of legislative and policy review
- Accessibility to public services and community participation
- HR management and compliance
Interventions in the continent
Yesterday, Parliament celebrated Africa day and in support of all the effort to improve the conditions of living of the people of the continent, Republic of South Africa is engaged in a number of post conflict interventions in the following countries:
- Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - developing and implementing the anti-corruption framework, the public service census and capacity building programme
- Burundi - re-building and strengthening its public service to run effectively and implementing capacity building programme
- Rwanda - capacity building programme and leadership development
- South Sudan - capacity building in human resources
- For the first time we have included participation of traditional leaders as one of the sectors in the Africa Peer Review Mechanism process. This move was necessitated by the fact that 70% of South Africa's population is rural. Through the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), South Africa has been requested to assist in developing a framework for civil society participation in the review of government programs
- Enhancement of legislative and policy review
A review of the Public Service Regulations is also currently underway which focuses on all the gaps for the institutionalisation of a number of service delivery mechanisms as well as a framework for community development and public participation. The Code of Conduct for the CDWs will also be reviewed in relation to the conflict between the Public Service and political activities. This year we plan to work with more vigour in ensuring that the CDWs are linked with the existing community structures such as school governing bodies, community policing forums, ratepayers' associations, traditional institutions, citizen assemblies and religious bodies.
The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) will facilitate the process of the location of the CDWs to a national department or Office of the Premiers for funding and monitoring and evaluation purposes.
The DPSA will commence with the implementation of the process map to Parliament that include the review of the draft Public Administration Management Bill as part of a process to implement the single public service. Consultative workshops within government will be held to finalise the draft revised legislation. Further consultations will be made in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC).
Local governance, citizen participation and access to service offerings
SITA has also deployed satellite connectivity to Thusong Services Centres. A process to validate equipment deployment and facilitate site signoff is presently being undertaken.
We are currently working with the Department of Basic Education, Health and Communications to develop a blueprint for the connectivity of schools and clinics. A conceptual framework for the implementation of e-government has also been developed.
Taking into consideration what the President said in his 2011 State of the Nation Address, “we are building a developmental and not a welfare state, the social grants will be linked to economic activity and community development to enable short term beneficiaries to become self-supporting in the long run."
There are approximately 3 100 Community Development Workers (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 straddles the three spheres of government.
In supporting this we will together with the Minister of Social Development ensure through the work of the CDW that we identify children who have no access to the early childhood programme to be part of the early childhood development programme. The importance of the programme is the development of cognitive and other skills for children which will create ground for a well-rounded human being who will be capable of meeting the challenges of life in education and social spheres. I am confident that the Minister of Social Development budget speech will unveil a grand plan on early childhood development.
The department will also develop a campaign related to 'Campaign on Know Your CDW' for the Financial Period 2011/12.
The CDW programme has play a critical role in making the following positive development impacts:
- Assisting in the elimination of government service delivery deadlocks, including bureaucratic bottlenecks in a range of government departments, especially Home Affairs and Social Development
- Advocating for an organised voice of and for the poor by supporting community-based organisations
- Strengthening government-community networks through information dissemination
- Assisting in bridging the gap between the first and the second economy as an important part of advancing the South African developmental state.
Notwithstanding the positive development impact of the CDW programme, government is aware of specific challenges facing the programme that may hamper the impact of the programme with regards to the acceleration of service delivery to citizens. One of the challenges is the complex relationship between CDWs, ward committee members and ward councillors and the discrepancies in remuneration, accountability and reporting line.
The governance, management, planning and reporting functions have been inconsistent and fragmented across the different spheres of government. The key elements of the re-designed governance and management CDW model are as follows:
- National coordination of the programme (DPSA will be responsible for national coordination of the CDW programme)
- Provincial coordination of the CDW programme within the provincial sphere will be located in the Office of the Premier)
- Local coordination of the CDW programme within the local government sphere whereby CDWs will be based in the Thusong Service Centres (TSCs).
The South African Government is committed to improving access to, and the quality of services rendered in government access points based on the Batho Pele principles.
However, previous research conducted on service delivery draws attention to key challenges that encumber government's concerted attempts in achieving equitable, effective and efficient access to public services for its citizens. One of the primary concerns is that the current initiatives are being driven by individual departments and therefore result in considerable duplication of expenses.
Accessibility of services is limited by the current structure and functioning of government whereby the provisioning of a single service as per the mandate of the sphere of government fails to address citizen needs in a comprehensive manner.
For citizens who live in areas that are remote and lack basic infrastructure, services and utilities, access to government services is severely limited. Citizens are required to incur the costs of travelling long distances to reach service points in the nearest local towns.
To respond to these challenges, government must:
- Facilitate participation of citizens in the delivery of services and the packaging of information as well as the democratic processes of the country. This will contribute to strengthening social accountability in government for the delivery of services
- Intensify the task of developing a public service that has a strong citizen-centred culture, with employees re-skilled to deliver citizen-centred services in a transparent and accountable manner. This includes taking measures to prevent corruption in the public service
- Repackage service offerings and develop new models and ways of providing services and information, firstly, to maximise the effectiveness of face-to-face service interaction and, secondly, to maximise the take-up of self service for citizens through the use of technology
- Achieve greater collaboration within and across all three spheres of government to provide services and information in a more responsive and integrated manner to citizens. The three spheres of government must work together to provide improved access to services and information, in an integrated manner where possible, providing the citizen with a single view of government.
In this respect it is necessary that government concentrates related/interdependent government services in a single location and ensures greater 'joined-up government' e.g. Department of Home Affairs, Social Development and South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), Health, local government services etc., and that this service location should be as close to the people as possible.
There have been many ground breaking initiatives aimed at bringing government closer to the people through the development of numerous integrated service delivery and access mechanisms and channels such as the Community Development Workers, the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), General Mobile Units, the e-government Gateway (otherwise known as the Batho Pele gateway portal), Izimbizo, Intermediaries, Call Centres, the Thusong Service Centre Programme, and the recently opened pilot urban mall project in Soweto.
The rationale for the pilot was that it should provide a 'one-stop' interaction with government where departments and institutions will provide professional, fast, friendly services. Horizontal integration (different departments) as well as vertical integration (three spheres) is realised through this process as services are provided at one convenient location, hence taking services to where the people are, rather than requiring of service users to go to a range of different points in different locations.
To further expand on providing citizens with convenient access to services, DPSA and partner institutions will be investigating a collaborative partnership with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) and institutions across government to develop government 'one-stop-shops', Thusong, in train stations. This is important because statistics are showing that the number of people using those facilities could also benefit by government providing services at particular stations for their convenience. Government will also investigate how trains can be used as another vehicle to take services to the people of South Africa, especially in the remote rural areas which are difficult to reach through conventional roads infrastructure.
In June we will engage traditional leader's country wide to request that the traditional offices host the Thusong Services model in a bid to make public service products and services more accessible to rural communities that have little infrastructure in their areas.
HR management and compliance
In all the work we do, the department will continue to monitor the implementation of gender, disability and youth frameworks by all departments through the analysis of periodic reports submitted by departments. The enhancement of skills for gender and disability focal points will be done through training in mainstreaming the implementation of the strategic frameworks.
Chairperson, I wish to state that there is a need to look into ways to improve the working relationships between the political heads and the heads of department. Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that accountability in terms of administrative responsibilities as outlined in the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) is not compromised based on the poor working relationship between the executing authority and the accounting officer which will impact on the performance of the department.
Public service also needs to deal with the burden of cost to the state occasioned by indecisive and incompetent leadership in the area of human resource management and the handling of labour relations matters. The challenges in the Public Service include the management of discipline, sick leave, corruption and conflict of interest including the management of integrity of the public servants, HIV and AIDS which also contributes to the loss of skilled staff.
There was a cabinet decision to introduce multiple administrators for the government employee medical scheme as we are lagging behind in the implementation of that cabinet decision but we have undertaken to, in the approved procurement plan for 2011, to issue a tender for the appointment of two more administrators.
The Gems membership currently stands at 556 000 and its set to grow in this financial year to 620 000. We can proudly say that this is one of the performing public service entities and will continue to enhance its product offering so that it becomes the medical scheme of choice for all public service members. Pursuit to this work the Scheme has considered its operational infrastructure and work has taken place to identify an efficient and cost-effective administration and clearing house design which would 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.
Chairpersons, our priorities for 2011/12 are informed by our commitment to place citizens at the centre of service delivery and to deliver services in a coordinated manner in order to achieve clearly defined outcomes.
Our task as a portfolio is a pivotal one as we are charged with managing the transition, evolution and the reform of the public service. This entails transforming and modernising the public service through the development and implementation of policies and frameworks, to provide implementation support to ensure compliance and to improve service delivery and strengthen monitoring and evaluation.
Source: Department of Public Service and Administration
Issued by: Department of Public Service and Administration
22 May 2011
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