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RECAP OF DAY ONE PSC Conference: November 2014

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Presentation on theme: "RECAP OF DAY ONE PSC Conference: November 2014"— Presentation transcript:

1 RECAP OF DAY ONE PSC Conference: 11-13 November 2014
Building a capable, career-oriented and professional Public Service to underpin a Capable Developmental State in South Africa RECAP OF DAY ONE PSC Conference: 11-13 November 2014

The Conference highlighted the importance of the implementation of Chapter 13 of the NDP and that our capacity to implement policies is the biggest challenge. The role of a public service in building a capable, developmental state is important but needs focus and any reforms require a thorough evaluation of the transformation journey since 1994. To overcome the burden of poverty, inequality and unemployment we need a public service that is capable and committed to deliver on government’s developmental objectives. A need for culture change was emphasized to ensure that we do not do the same thing repeatedly without cordination and integration of government’s efforts to achieve the outcomes and impact we seek.

The political administrative interface is complex in all countries and instability between EAs and HoDs has a destabilising effect on institutions. The role of EAs in managing the career incidents of HoDs post 1994 was essential. It however, may not be suitable for the long term professional development of the public service. There is a need for the PSC and other institutions to interrogate the underlying causes for the turnover of HODs and develop targeted policy interventions. The political administrative interface is as much of a problem as the lack of internal cohesion in departments.

Working in the public service is about serving the people – not just doing a job. The current community participation mechanisms are compliance driven. There is a need to reengineer and enhance their effectiveness. Citizens Forums provide the opportunity for communities to participate in holding officials accountable for service delivery. The Discussion Document should address the issue of active citizenship and how the public service will transform its responsiveness to citizens. Lessons from other countries suggest that active public participation is central to development. Indeed embededdness - the ability of the state to mobilise and network with non-state actors - is a key attribute of Capable Developmental States.

The removal of the PSC’s appointing powers had a historical purpose, particularly to speed up the transformation process. The time has come to address various challenges associated with decentralisation of the recruitment and selection process by introducing norms and standards and rigorously monitoring these. The hybrid model of top appointments as proposed in the NDP is supported. The recruitment system should see meritocracy and representivity as integrated, constitutional requirements. It was proposed that career pathing across the three spheres of government must be addressed to ensure the professionalisation of the public service and public administration broadly. Lessons from other countries indicate that most public servants are recruited through entry examinations and that the practice of rotation of employees enhances capacity.

There is a need for a nation wide public service skills database; the dpsa HR Connect system must be fully implemented. The skills database should enable the NSG to provide customised education and learning opportunities. All public servants must be educated on the NDP and its links with the Batho Pele principles. The public service can learn from other countries on how to deal with challenges swiftly. Cadre deployment will be more effective if, as in China, deployees are supported by capacity development initiatives through public institutions such as the NSG.

7 LEADERSHIP Due to the broad mandate of the public service, a public service prototype leadership model should be developed. Senior manager competencies must include political, economic as well as functional and technical competencies. Professional ethical standards are diminishing. Ethics and professionalism are central to the professionalisation of the public service. To attain a leadership position in the public service in other countries takes many years of public sector experience. The flexibilities of the South African open recruitment system which allow our best and brightest to enter the public service at any level has advantages. PSCs are constitutionally entrenched as independent bodies. Their independence is determined by the quality of their leadership.

8 CONCLUDING REMARKS The success of a capable, developmental state project will be enhanced by a patriotic national bourgeoisie rather than through parasitic comprador forms of capital accumulation. In building a capable, developmental state there is a need to manage the tensions between continuity and transformation. A commitment to transformation is what our Constitution requires of us to build a development-oriented public service that meets people’s needs. The presentations from other countries confirmed that there is no prototype model for building a capable public service to underpin a developmental state. Lessons from other countries must contribute to building a people-centred, people-driven public service characterised by equity, effectiveness and strong professional ethics and values.

9 Thank you Siyabonga PSC Website:
National Anti-Corruption Hotline for the Public Service: National Anti-Corruption Hotline for the Public Service:

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