Media release

Governance and Administration Cluster media briefing

03 March 2010

3 March 2010

Minister of Home Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma


The purpose of this media briefing is to provide more details on the pronouncements emanating from the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and to brief the nation on the plans of government for 2010.

The focus of the briefing is on key strategic projects of the Governance and Administration cluster as well as key policy issues driving the work of the cluster based on its outcomes. These include anti-corruption, National Identity campaign amongst others, national macro organisation of the state, Batho Pele programmes, gender and disability programmes, integrated public service and local government turnaround strategy.

Home Affairs

The department continues to protect and verify the status of citizens and regulate migration in order to reduce corruption. In this regard, tighter controls and systems have been put in place to ensure that documents are produced and distributed securely.

Soon we will embark on campaigns to ensure that all citizens have their births registered and are issued with their first identity documents at the age of 16 years. We also aim to establish a culture and practice of registering all births. Our counter corruption measures would include building an integrated, modern, secure system and processes while cleaning up and maintaining a clean national population register.

Public Service and Administration (DPSA)

Anti-corruption programmes

In fulfilling its role of building institutional capacity, specific to fighting corruption, the department will drive the following projects:

* Minimum Anti-Corruption Capacity (MACC) Audit and
* Anti-corruption capacity building programme, aimed at preventing, detecting and investigating corrupt and unethical practices in the workplace.

A total of 108 provincial departments and 36 national departments have been contacted for the minimum anti-corruption capacity audit, we are currently verifying information submitted by these departments. The audit will be finalised by end of this current financial year. A training programme on Anti-corruption Capacity Building for general employees has been accredited by Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSETA) at national qualifications framework (NQF) level four in 2010/11 financial year 920 officials at national and provincial level will be trained.

Integrated public service

In terms of the norms and standards for all three spheres of government, a working team consisting of representatives of the Department of Public Service and Administration, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and South African Local Government Association (SALGA) will be convened to refine the current draft proposals on the norms and standards for all the three spheres of government. These proposals emanate from the research that was conducted on areas for harmonisation on norms and standards for human resource management between the different spheres of Government.

In addition to this we have also developed a draft Bill on Public Administration and Management that will provide the legislative basis for the further development of more detailed norms and standards on human resource management practices, as indicated in the November 2009 briefing. This process will lead to a set of Regulations that will augment the draft bill.

Gender and disability programmes

The cluster will intensify monitoring and evaluation measures for the implementation of the job access and gender equality strategic frameworks. This will be done with the view to attain 50 percent target of women in the senior management level and two percent target of people with disability in the public service.

We are reviewing the handbook on reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities in the public service and we will then develop a policy on reasonable accommodation and assistive devices in the public service. This will enable government efforts of promoting good governance in the Public Sector through building an effective and caring government.

Batho Pele Change Management Engagement programme

Batho Pele policy remains government's leading campaign to achieve the desired crucial transformation of the hearts and minds of the public servants. This is a public service culture re-orientation programme that is aimed at aligning the behaviour and attitudes of public servants towards the practice of Batho Pele ethos.

In order to intensify the implementation and impact of this policy, the Minister for Public Service and Administration has launched the "Batho Pele Impact Assessment" which seeks to strengthen the integrated implementation of Batho Pele and the impact thereof across the three spheres of government.

This will enhance partnerships, collaborations and better coordination towards the implementation of Batho Pele and intervene decisively and coherently in the economy and society to address social and economic developmental goals.

Each province has also been given one principle of Batho Pele to implement. The integrated service delivery for the implementation of Batho Pele impact assessment is linked to monthly service delivery themes. The annual Batho Pele Learning network made up of participation across the three spheres has been replaced by the Batho Pele Impact Assessment Network.

National Macro Organisation of the State

The Department of Public Service and Administration is engaging the provincial administrations to share the outcomes of National Macro Organisation of the State project, which gave administrative effect to the reconfiguration of national departments in line with the ministerial portfolios.

The purpose of the provincial visits is also to share lessons learned, including the configuration of affected departments, to promote alignment between the national and provincial spheres regarding processes and departmental configurations and to provide advice on request.

Personnel salary system (PERSAL) clean-up

The Department of Public Service and Administration has committed to develop a strategy and a guide on the management of PERSAL. A series of workshops are planned to popularize the strategy and guideline throughout all of government. This process will be monitored on a quarterly basis by a steering committee consisting of National Treasury, State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and Department of Public Service and Administration Governance Human Resource Management and Development.

Next generation e-government

The Department of Public Service and Administration has begun a process within national and provincial government to:

* Create awareness on progress made with respect to the next phase of e-government implementation
* Build a common understanding of what needs to be done as part of the next generation e-government implementation
* Garner support for the proposed next steps and
* Ultimately, secure commitment to realising our collective vision of enabling e-government and by so doing ensuring service improvement and better government.

Following several national and provincial consultative meetings, an agreement was reached on a proposal to develop a prototype of a transversal e-government platform. The platform would be transactional in nature and would automate and enable the six pro-poor services that straddle the Social and Justice Cluster.

These services are:

* application to register birth.
* application for an identity document.
* application for foster care grant
* application for an old age pension
* applications for a maintenance order and
* application to give notice of death

Review of the disciplinary hearings process in the public service

The management of discipline falls within the authority of individual departments. Problems with the disciplinary procedure can mainly be attributed to the application of the procedure rather than the procedure itself. One of the main principles of the disciplinary procedure is that discipline must be applied in a prompt, fair, consistent and progressive manner.

The procedure therefore provides for two disciplinary routes to be utilised, namely progressive discipline for less serious cases of misconduct and formal disciplinary hearings for serious cases. Long periods of precautionary suspension seem to be the biggest area of concern.

In terms of the procedure, a department must hold a disciplinary hearing within a month of an employee being placed on precautionary suspension. Where the investigation into the case requires a longer period and is complex, the precautionary suspension period can be extended to 60 days.

Unfortunately the MPSA does not have the power to force departments to adhere to the provisions. Departments are constantly encouraged to make every effort to finalise cases promptly.

Many reasons exist as to why disciplinary cases are not finalised promptly. Departments are often unable to finalise their investigations timeously, especially where forensic investigations are involved. In other cases the employee charged with misconduct frustrates the disciplinary process by not attending the disciplinary hearing and then tendering sick certificates. One of the main reasons for long precautionary suspensions is the appeal process.

In terms of the procedure, executive authorities must finalise appeal cases within 30 days. This rarely happens. The procedure was therefore amended to provide that if the appeal is not finalised in that period the employee must return to work and await the outcome while on duty.

To improve the area of discipline in the public service and especially the area of excessively long precautionary suspension periods, the possibility of setting up a disciplinary unit under the auspices of the Department of Public Service and Administration to assist departments in difficult and high profile disciplinary cases will be explored in the new financial year.

New provisions to the disciplinary procedure to prevent long periods of suspension will also be explored. It must be borne in mind that the disciplinary procedure is a negotiated procedure and that any amendments to the procedure would have to be taken through the negotiation process.

Development of the new public sector cadre

In order to ensure that the public sector cadre development initiative is fulfilled, minimum annual training days will be set aside for Public Service Cadre programme. Targeted mandatory training programmes and development will be set as a yard-stick to establish whether or not the Programme is making in-roads. It is envisaged that a single government entity will be established for the public sector. The entity will among others ensure that the programme in question is achieved.

MPSA will ensure the establishment of a comprehensive funding model for public sector training linked to skills development legislation to replace cost recovery approach. Minimum levels of training per annum for public sector officials in specific competency areas will be set. Government will introduce a national integrated public sector training system, covering the three spheres of government as well as streamlining the government-wide institutional landscape for public sector training.

Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs

Local government turnaround strategy

Local government in South Africa has for some time been in distress, with municipalities unable to effectively perform their core functions resulting in communities progressively losing confidence in government. The situation has continued for the past 15 years, with intermittent service delivery protests becoming the expression of the public's discontent with government. In 2009, the department decided to conduct an assessment of all 283 Municipalities in the country in the following areas:

* service delivery and infrastructure
* financial management
* relationship between municipal management and labour unions
* governance
* spatial conditions and
* local economic development

The assessments led to the compilation of the state of local government in South Africa report in 2009, which was deliberated on at the Local Government Indaba with a broad consultative process with various sectors of the South African public.

Further consultations with stakeholder groups led to the development of the local government turnaround strategy. The local government turnaround strategy was approved by Cabinet on 2 December 2009. Following the approval of the local government turnaround strategy by Cabinet in December, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is now in the process of rolling out the programme in the provinces in the following phases:

Phase one

20 January and 9 February 2010: Provincial support teams undertook visits to municipalities to identify two of the most vulnerable municipalities per province which required urgent assistance from government.

Phase two

10 February to 31st March 2010: The full roll-out of municipal turnaround strategies for priority or targeted municipalities as well as the completion of municipal turnaround strategies for all 283 municipalities in the country. The consolidation of the municipal turnaround strategy priorities with the integrated development plans and budgets of municipalities is critical in this phase.

Phase three:

1 April to 30 June 2010: Focus on provincially coordinated integrated development plans' analysis sessions to examine draft integrated development plans' and municipal turnaround strategies within them. During this phase the integrated development plans, and the budgets and service delivery budget implementation plans will be adopted by municipal councils.

Phase four

1 July to 31 March 2011: MECs will comment on the commitments made to the integrated development plans. Implementation of the integrated development plans will go hand in hand with hands-on rapid response support processes, leveraging of stakeholder support and reporting and monitoring.

Operation Clean Audit 2014: To ensure that by 2014, all 283 municipalities and nine provincial government departments in South Africa are consistently achieving clean audits on their annual financial statements. In addition, they should be maintaining systems for sustaining quality financial statements and management information.

Clean Cities, Clean Towns campaign: To ensure citizen cities, towns and villages are clean and promoting the creation of wealth out of waste.

Debt collection and public mobilisation: To encourage a sense of responsibility among South Africans by calling on the nation to do the right things to make South Africa a better place to live in for all.

Infrastructure and economic development: To accelerate service delivery by initiating programmes and projects aimed at eradicating infrastructure backlogs and ensuring co-ordination of all infrastructural projects in municipalities.

We have also undertaken working visits to first world countries that have particular expertise in integrated municipal information and communication technology (ICT) systems and e-governance. South Africa has an opportunity in leveraging ICT to achieve all the objectives of the local government turnaround strategy.

The department appreciates the response of South Africans to the minister's call to 'come to the party, and be part of making Local Government efficient, effective, accountable and responsive'.

Civil society has responded to the clarion call.

A range of stakeholders have volunteered their professional services to support municipalities for example: South African Engineering Associations, the Institute for Municipal Financial Officers, some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and many other organisations and individuals).

As the process has moved to the municipalities, now we call upon citizens to ensure that you become part of the process

All members of this cluster are committed to coordinating the work of their respective departments in order to ensure an integrated approach to service delivery, governance that is aimed at improving government planning, decision making and the coordination of all government programmes at national, provincial and local government level.

Thank you

Issued by: Department of Home Affairs

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