Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu says the quality of the public service requires consistent and sustainable improvement.
On Thursday, Mchunu delivered his budget vote speech in the National Council of Provinces, where he told MPs South Africa’s aspirations as an ethical, capable and developmental state should be understood in the context of a nation yearning for a better life, post-liberation.
“There have been louder, more decisive calls for accountability, transparency, improved performance, citizenry satisfaction and government legitimacy.
“This will require a sober and well-balanced approach, which will enable us to advance and meet the expectations placed on public service from all perspectives. The public service must come of age and be accountable on its own.”
Mchunu added the image of the public service, notwithstanding its general orientation, was still tainted by several negative perceptions. He said: “Low professionalism, low innovation and productivity, low level of skills and qualifications, laziness incompetence and corruption. Secondly, it still has traits of low capacity to translate public pronouncements into actionable policy and delivery in the interests of the people.
“The other perception that continues to stigmatise the public service is a sub-culture of ‘sophisticated capture’ and corruption. Do all our accounting officers and supply chain managers have resilience against rot and corruption?”
Mchunu added if a transformed public service was to be realised “the current situation of a declining economy, and the state of the fiscus, need to improve for the better”.
He reiterated his call for a single public administration and public service.
“The single public administration does not seek to undermine the distinctiveness of local government as a sphere; rather, it seeks to improve the manner in which the spheres interrelate and to provide for the harmonisation of systems, conditions of service and norms between the public service in the national and provincial spheres on the one hand, and the municipalities on the other.
“The creation of a single public administration seeks to correct and harmonise unnecessary fragmentations.”
EFF MP Sam Zandamela said the department no longer existed for the purpose and mandate which it was intended for.
“We are always told that the ruling party is working hard to create a developmental state, but all we see is the ruling party is working hard to steal our tax money,” he added.
DA MP Tim Brauteseth said: “It’s as if the ANC believes it has earned the divine right, much like the National Party before them, to rule the country according to their ideology. The concept of governing was alien.”