A priority function of any government should be to not only maintain, but also to constantly improve, the quality of life of all South Africans.
A UDM government will ensure that its Public Service and Administration department focuses on providing quality service delivery to South Africans across all Government departments.
This document identifies the priority areas that the Department of Public Service and Administration under a UDM Government will focus on to ensure that Government departments achieve their objectives of delivering quality services that are reliable, timeous and affordable to all South Africans.
Problems in the public service that require urgent attention are:
1.1. The appointment, selection and turnover of Directors General
Currently Ministers have the prerogative to appoint individuals with whom they feel comfortable to top positions in their Departments. This occurs without them necessarily being adequately qualified for the post, let alone fairly recruited for these powerful positions. It has the effect of politicising what should be an administrative position. This ANC tradition of appointing loyal cadres to high profile positions often compromises on knowledge and ability, potentially prejudicing the interests of citizens.
The appointment procedures for top public servants within departments as well as the high turnover and parallel movement of these Director Generals have resulted in a lack of continuity within the public service, impacting negatively on both policy reform and service delivery.
1.2. Lack of adequate public service transformation
To the surprise of many “transformation” under the ANC Government was only a jobs-for-pals scheme that coerced experienced public servants to leave the public service.
1.3. Uneven allocation of Public Service expenditure
The inability of National, Provincial and Local Government Departments to deliver because of inadequate financial and management skills results in underspending and rollovers, which negatively impacts on the delivery of basic services.
1.4. Inadequate accountability of Management
Capacity development and the institutionalisation of a performance management system within the public service in order to promote accountability, is not yet a reality. Public service managers who fail to deliver on their agreed services, or who did not spend their budgets, are not penalised or held accountable for the underperformance of their particular Departments. The Public Finance Management Act needs to be properly implemented in all departments.
1.5. Inadequate attention to Aids
As the largest employer in the country the effect of AIDS on the workforce will impact dramatically on service delivery unless something is done, fast.
1.6. High perceptions of corruption
Corruption, as the abuse of public power for private gain, diminishes the public’s trust that Government and its employees have the interests of citizens at heart. This perception is reinforced when little or no action is taken or at least publicised against those responsible for acts of corruption, who are rather “redeployed” to other sections of the public service.
This situation needs to be addressed with urgency if citizens are to take government announcements of zero tolerance in the fight against corruption seriously.
There is a growing danger of Ministers becoming super-DGs, and usurping the powers of Accounting Officers. They issue directives in the absence of, or contrary to, the advice of DGs and senior officials, on such matters as tenders and other administrative processes. This has happened in the Arms Deal and various other occasions.
2. Mission statement
To ensure a professional, non-partisan, cost effective public service that will provide quality services equally to all South Africans. The Department of Public Service and Administration shall lead the modernisation of the public service by designing, developing and implementing management policies, systems and structural solutions to improve service delivery in South Africa.
The objectives of the Department of Public Service and Administration under a UDM government are:
3.1.1. To develop appropriate policies and research instruments to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of government departments in delivering basic services.
3.1.2. To improve the standard of public service management in order to impact positively and tangibly on quality service delivery.
3.1.3. To develop a proper promotion policy for public servants.
3.1.4. To constantly improve and develop the skills and competencies of all public servants through specialised training and development courses.
3.1.5. To maintain accurate data, information and records on the public service and to use this data as the basis for information-driven strategic decision-making.
3.1.6. To promote increased efficiency and reduced wastage within the public service and to ensure improved service delivery (both essential and maintenance services) on the part of the public service that meets the basic needs of all South African citizens.
3.1.7. To treat all public sector clients making use of services with courtesy, respect and dignity and to encourage regular consultation and feedback with service users to ensure that services adequately address client’s needs.
3.1.8. To complete the transformation of the public sector into a proud and professional service-orientated administration.
3.1.9. To develop E-Government and implement these programmes successfully by modernising public service delivery with appropriate technology such as telephones, e-mail and the internet.
3.1.10. To implement a HIV/AIDS risk management policy.
3.1.11. To implement measures to address the causes, conditions and consequences of maladministration and corruption within the public service.
3.1.12. To promote awareness around the code of conduct for public servants as an integrity management tool within the public sector.
3.1.13. To ensure the effective implementation of senior service management competency profiling and performance management systems linked to service delivery.
3.1.14. To develop corporate knowledge and establish a learning culture within the public service.
3.1.15. To establish mutually supportive partnerships with private sector entities which serve to enhance service delivery.
4. UDM solutions
In line with the UDM objectives for the public service stated above, this section proposes a variety of ways in which a UDM Government would confront the challenges in a way that ensures citizens benefit from an optimally functioning public service.
A UDM government which values the trust of its citizens will strive to gain the confidence and faith of the voting public and restore a sense of pride in Government as one which serves the interests of all South Africans.
4.1. Measuring Service Delivery
A UDM Government will determine from the outset the critical success factors for each Department in terms of optimal delivery of services taking into account budgetary and other constraints. A measuring tool will be developed that evaluates the rate of success with which a particular Department is implementing UDM Government policies and budgets in delivering services (such as providing electricity to a specific number of households). This instrument will provide an important accountability tool against which citizens can hold their Government accountable.
4.2. Accountable Management
A proper system of evaluation and target-setting for career public service managers will ensure that energies are directed at effective service delivery, the result of which will in turn determine the career successes of motivated and talented public servants.
A UDM Government will determine a system of management competency profiling. All public service managers will enter into measurable performance agreement contracts with their different Departments. In order to be able to do this a performance management system must be established and managers must commit themselves to it. This system should also play an active part in determining the promotion of managers, to timeously address shortcomings and to intervene as and when necessary. The Public Service Commission will ensure