Chairperson, in 2010 President Zuma urged the Public Service to work smarter and faster, to know where people were and what their needs were, and to respond faster to those needs.
This is a realisation that the Public Service in South Africa is in need of an urgent overhaul. In 2011, we are still far from attaining an excellent Public Service culture. I am sure the community of Freemantle High School in the Eastern Cape would bear testimony to this.
The department received an unqualified audit with some irregularities in 2010. I am happy that the major internal and external problems, especially with regard to the State Information Technology Agency, Sita, and the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy, Palama, have been realised and are being addressed.
Minister, the department is still struggling with the development and retention of priority skills. The vacancy rates are still high and this leads to invoices not being processed on time, which results in underspending. Furthermore, the signing of performance agreements on time remains a challenge. Monitoring is essential in order to hold Ministers accountable, with regard to the signing of performance agreements, which would further be filed with the Public Service Commission.
The fact that implementation protocols under the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act have not been developed or co-ordinated properly, means that government's ability to track progress and address challenges is still limited. For example, out of the many issues which were raised by the community of Chris Hani during the 2008 "Taking Parliament to the People", zero or none has been implemented to date. It is promises, promises and promises. [Interjections.]
We cannot claim that the fight against corruption has achieved anything. Hence, one newspaper headline cleverly stated this year that Ministers who want frugality should set a good example. The correct implementation and adherence to the Public Finance Management Act, PFMA, by all departments, is essential. State departments have improved, particularly in the handling of finances in the past year. Nevertheless, much is still being wasted. By October 2010, up to R25 billion was still being investigated for possible tender and procurement fraud.
More concerning is the Public Service wage bill. The ballooning wage bill is likely to compromise economic growth and increase inflationary risk. The total bill has increased by 10,38%.
In conclusion, as stated by Sipho Pityana, South Africa is witnessing a transition from the politics of social justice, liberation and public service, to that of personal wealth accumulation, concentration of political power and hegemony. We cannot continue in this way and expect great things from this nation. I thank you, Chairperson. [Time expired.]