19 April 2013
We have noted questions and media queries directed at government departments regarding the tenure of Directors-General (DGs) in the public service. The South African government, like many other organised institutions in the world has a clear cycle of planning, implementation and reporting within the prescripts of relevant legislation. Part of this cycle includes the 5 year strategic plan that is governed by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and other guidelines. Each year, the President sets the tone by outlining the focus for the year in his State of the Nation Address (SoNA). This is followed by the allocation of budget in response to the key priorities outlined by the President.
In order to ensure implementation of the tasks, the President signs Delivery Agreements with members of his Cabinet who in turn oversee the signing of performance agreements with their Accounting Officers, who are DGs.
In view thereof, the number of DGs employed in the public service, their years of tenure and decisions for leaving the employment of government have no bearing on continuity with regards to the implementation of the Programme of Action, as well as service delivery.
Every department is a collective of people who are qualified, experienced and committed to serve the public. The success of any Director-General is dependent on this collective. In cases where a department is without a DG at that particular period the collective continues to steer the ship and deliver in accordance with the set objectives of the planning and implementation plan.
A clear demonstration of this continuity is the strides that government has made since 1994. In his recent message to public servants, President Jacob Zuma outlined the progress that has been made. He said that in the health sector, life expectancy is now firmly on an upward trend. Infant and under-5 mortality rates have improved significantly and the maternal mortality ratio has started to decrease.
“Mother-to-child transmission of HIV has declined sharply and there has been a huge increase in the number of people living with HIV/AIDS who are receiving anti-retroviral treatment. Similarly, there has been a significant decrease in overall serious crime, due to hard working police officials who risk their lives at times, to make our communities safer,” he said.
President Zuma went on to highlight progress in education, he spoke of faster turnaround times in Government and improved monitoring of the services public servants deliver to the public.
The above are but a few examples of the work of government and it is evident of a public service that reaffirms its commitment to deliver on its mandate despite acknowledged challenges and changes in administrative leadership and staff.
Phumla Williams (Acting Cabinet Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 501 0139
Issued by Government Communications (GCIS)