They said they will facilitate that because they have Whips - I didn't have a Whip with me.
Chairperson, Deputy Minister of the Department of Public Service and Administration, the chairperson of the portfolio committee, the chairperson of the Public Service Commission, the chairperson of the Government Employees Medical Scheme, Gems, directors-general, heads of entities, distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to present the first Budget Vote of the Department of Public Service and Administration in this fifth administration of the ANC-led government. I want sincerely to thank the people of South Africa for giving us a further mandate to accelerate the improvement of their lives during the next five years and beyond.
I am also deeply humbled to present this Budget Vote only four days ahead of the 47th commemoration of the passing away of the 8th ANC president and the first African recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Laureate Chief Albert Luthuli. He was a militant, disciplined and uncompromising freedom fighter who had a genuine love for South Africa.
Tomorrow, our country will also unite in the 67 minutes for the Nelson Mandela Day campaign. This will be the first time we do so without the founding father of our democracy. As we celebrate the life of Madiba, it is an ideal opportunity to build on his life-long belief that we should serve our people every day of our lives.
It is the lives of these two giants of the anti-apartheid struggle, Chief Albert Luthuli and Madiba, and many others, whom we want to emulate to produce high-calibre public servants as we start the second phase of our transition from apartheid to a national democratic society.
This Budget Vote provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our constitutional mandate to deliver public services that are governed by democratic values and principles. These include, amongst other things, high standards of professional ethics, effective use of resources and a public administration that is developmentally oriented. The services we provide must be impartial, fair, equitable and without bias.
We are, therefore, proud to indicate that, as we celebrate twenty years of democracy, our government has been able, amongst other things, to reform legislation and policies, restructure state institutions, decentralise public administration and strengthen intergovernmental relations in order to provide integrated services to our people.
We have established a single government system which has consolidated the fragmented apartheid governance structures into a system that places our people first. However, we also acknowledge that still more needs to be done.
Therefore, we are proud to say that our democratic public administration system will strive to deliver all our developmental objectives as outlined in the National Developmental Plan, NDP. Together, these efforts will keep us on the trajectory to realise our national strategic objective of building a united, democratic, nonsexist, nonracial, just and prosperous South Africa.
This is indeed a good story to tell. As the Department of Public Service and Administration, we are proud to be part of developing this good story.
I will be covering the core mandate of our portfolio while the Deputy Minister will add more detail about some of the work done by our portfolio organisations, which include the Government Employee Medical Scheme, the Centre for Public Service Innovation, the Open Government Partnership interventions, the African Peer Review Mechanism, the Thusong Service Centre and the community development workers, CDWs, programmes.
The National Development Plan asserts that the Public Service is central to the effective delivery of its developmental objectives. To address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality, as identified in the National Development Plan, the state needs to play both a transformative and developmental role.
To this end, the Public Service has to reinvent itself to deliver this important task. For us to succeed we require well-run and effectively co- ordinated state institutions with skilled public servants, who are committed to serving our people.
Together with relevant stakeholders, during this financial year the Department of Public Service and Administration will focus on programmes which will ensure that all public servants are capacitated to ensure the success of the National Development Plan. We will begin to look at the critical task of reinventing how we work as a department and how we work as public servants.
This process will start in September or October this year. However, this is not a short-term task. We will require input from all departments, labour organisations, academic institutions and civil society.
It is important that we deal with the issue of the quality of services we provide when compared to what is perceived to be a bloated Public Service. Recent media articles have mischievously linked this to the establishment of the new departments and Ministries. Let me assure this House that the Department of Public Service and Administration, in partnership with other stakeholders including the Presidency and National Treasury, has established a task team that is currently looking at the establishment of the new departments.
We will do our utmost to ensure that the creation and resourcing of these departments is done in an accountable manner. Where applicable, we will consider identifying and transferring various units, which currently exist in other departments and are doing related work, to the newly established departments. However, where certain professional skills or experience are required, we will create the necessary environment for those skills or experience to be sourced to ensure that the new departments function optimally as soon as we can.
To protect our hard-earned democracy, we remain determined to root out corrupt practices within the Public Service. We are of the opinion that our best defence against corruption is transparency, accountability and the knowledge that any person involved in corrupt activities will be prosecuted. We therefore call on all public servants to prioritise serving our people responsibly and with honour.
When it comes to fighting corruption strong leadership is critical. As a department, we are strategically located to create an enabling policy- framework environment for the rest of the Public Service to combat this scourge. To this end, we have noticed that the National Anti-Corruption Forum, NACF, comprised of civil society, business and government, has not met for some time. As a result the Public Service Anti-Corruption Strategy has not been monitored effectively.
To remedy this situation, we have already requested the Public Service Commission, which acts as secretariat to that structure, to immediately convene this forum so that we will be able to discuss and see what is it that we need to do to enhance the work which we are charged to do.
I can confirm that the Department of Public Service and Administration will begin to strengthen relationships and increase our interactions with the provinces. Our experiences of the past 20 years of democracy have exposed certain management challenges that must be addressed. We will adopt a proactive approach in order to prevent provinces or provincial departments from being declared section 100 intervention areas as outlined in the Constitution. To achieve this, we will increase our efforts to work more strategically with provincial premiers and the National Council of Provinces to ensure that we support the provincial administrations.
We will also begin to look at establishing an intergovernmental structure best suited to identify issues before they become major crises. It is important to note that this effort will be based on establishing an effective and collaborative partnership between the Department of Public Service and Administration, the Presidency, the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, National Treasury, the Department of Co- operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the Auditor-General and the Public Service Commission.
The implementation of the Batho Pele policy will be enhanced to ensure that the efforts to improve service delivery bear fruit. The Department of Public Service and Administration will immediately start to strengthen, institutionalise and mainstream the Batho Pele programme, with a direct focus on training frontline officials.
This, we are confident, will also lead to better and more productive relationships between public servants and the public. These efforts will be further enhanced by streamlining and aligning the individual departmental complaints and compliments systems to the national Complaints and Compliments Framework. By ensuring the implementation of the Batho Pele principles in the public sector, we will indeed contribute towards transforming the Public Service into an effective delivery machine.
During this financial year we will also host the second National Batho Pele Excellence Awards. The awards are aimed at recognising and rewarding hardworking public servants and to serve as an incentive for all public servants to strive towards excellence in the execution of their duties. [Applause.] Thank you.
The Department of Public Service and Administration has also secured a negotiated social contract between citizens, the state and public servants. We were humbled by the signing of the Service Charter for the Public Service in August last year. The charter promotes service standards by calling on public servants to meet and exceed them. The charter also seeks to improve service delivery programmes, and reinforces the commitment of all partners to service delivery improvement for the benefit of our citizens.
It would not be wrong to say that we are on course with regard to reinventing and establishing an effective, efficient and responsive Public Service.
The implementation of our Performance Management and Development System, PMDS, for heads of departments and other senior management service members is not as yet optimal. Challenges in this regard include the failure to enter into and sign performance agreements on time and the lack of performance assessments and feedback.
Our focus will now shift towards finalising the revision of the policy on the performance management and development of heads of department and senior management service members and to ensure its effective implementation. Improved human-resources capacity in departments is critical for the effective implementation of the National Development Plan. It is therefore essential that human-resources professionals are not only equipped to enforce rules and implement administrative processes, but also to advise senior management on all aspects of strategic human-resources management and development.
Another challenge is the absence of clear and formalised delegation within departments. This creates instability and makes it harder to establish clear lines of accountability. For this reason, we will provide proper delegation guidelines that will provide junior managers with the authority they require to make and implement decisions.
The National Development Plan highlights the importance of adopting a longer-term approach to developing the skills and professional ethos that underpin a development-oriented Public Service. This includes building the skills base for both now and the future, to contribute towards employment creation and ensure that public sector workplaces become training spaces where entrants are adequately supported in order to develop their skills for employment within the Public Service or the private sector.
To this end, the department will be supporting the appointment of youth in learnerships, internships and artisan programmes in the Public Service over the next five years, whilst providing an opportunity for permanent employment within the Public Service. [Applause.]
To address challenges raised by the Auditor-General in regard to operations management in departments, the department is supporting the implementation of an operations management framework in the Departments of Health, Human Settlements and Education, with a particular focus on improving business processes and standard operating procedures for selected services that the departments provide to the citizens.
To further respond to skills challenges raised in the National Development Plan, we committed ourselves to undertaking additional reforms in the Public Service, one of which is the transformation of the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy, Palama, into the National School of Government. We note the experience of public sector transformation projects throughout the world which teaches us that good governance is not an end in itself but that good governance helps an organisation to achieve its objectives, on the one hand. On the other hand, international experience also teaches us that poor governance can bring about a decline or even the demise of an organisation.
International experience informs us that we cannot change our systems, structures and processes and have our public servants thinking and acting the same, as if nothing has changed. This change of mindset knows no colour or ideological boundaries.
It is about changing how we deal with citizens. It is about producing public servants who understand their role of serving our people unconditionally. The department, in partnership with the National School of Government, has already designed and started a compulsory induction programme for all newly appointed public servants, whilst refresher courses have been identified for current public servants.
In our 2014 election manifesto we committed to, inter alia, forging a disciplined, people-oriented and professional Public Service, and promoting education and training for public servants. To achieve this we will turn every public sector workplace into a training space with the aim to develop industrious public servants.
To further respond to the skills challenges raised in the National Development Plan, we committed ourselves to undertaking further reforms in the Public Service, one of which was the transformation of Palama, as I said.
The strategic intent of the National School of Government is to ensure 100% coverage of education, learning and development across the three spheres of government. In supporting the President's call for more internship opportunities in the public sector, the National School of Government will also intensify its training of unemployed youth graduates through its Breaking Barriers to Entry programme.
As the custodian of labour relations in the Public Service, the Department of Public Service and Administration continues to support departments in the implementation of the disciplinary code and procedure - this includes support to five departments that are under section 100(1)(b) of the Constitution in Limpopo - through the labour relations forum. The department continues to build the capacity of labour relations practitioners to strengthen the capacity, systems and procedures in departments.
Some of the key challenges in regard to discipline management in the Public Service include the lack of accurate information on disciplinary cases. This information includes the number and nature of cases per department and province, the time it takes to resolve them and how much these cases are costing the state. To address this ... [Interjections.]