Hon Chairperson, the hon Minister and hon Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration, hon chairperson of the portfolio committee, ladies and gentlemen and respected guests, before I proceed, I just want to indicate to Mr Mc Gluwa that it cannot be right that a member of your constituency takes it upon herself to make sure that she comes to see for herself that you are delivering what she asked you to. In such a situation one begins to say that there is something terribly wrong with you. [Interjections.]
Chairperson, I deliver this Budget Vote speech against the backdrop of the two most important political milestones in the history of our country.
The first one is the successful and peaceful hosting of the national elections during which the people's movement, the ANC, was mandated to govern by the majority of this country.
The second is the adoption of the National Development Plan: Vision 2030, which is the blueprint for charting a new course and writing a new story, Masupatsela.
At the centre of this magnificent plan of growth and development and the reduction of poverty and inequalities, is the commitment of this government to a capable developmental state that is able to produce leadership, sound policies and a skilled workforce and managers, has clear lines of accountability, can tackle corruption in the Public Service and has appropriate systems to use to achieve these objectives.
The Minister for the Public Service and Administration, hon Collins Chabane, in his address to the conference of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration, Iasia, spoke about the National Development Plan, NDP, which sets out a vision for our future and says that it is not the growth plan of a political party, it is our plan as a nation.
The Manifesto of the ANC aptly states that we need to, "Forge a disciplined, people centred and professional public service," able to develop, manage and monitor human resources as this is a prerequisite for a stable administrative interface. But the big question is: How do we, as government, propose to do or achieve this mammoth task?
Firstly, the introduction and launch of the Public Service Charter, which seeks to ensure, among other objectives, an effective, efficient and responsive Public Service, is a case in point. The former Minister for the Public Service and Administration, hon Lindiwe Sisulu, during the launch of the Public Service Charter, aptly captured it when she said the service charter is, and I quote:
... a statement of intent that enables service beneficiaries to understand what they can expect from the state and forms the basis of engagement between government, citizens and organs of civil society.
The charter further determines, amongst other things, how government should act against issues of corruption and fraudulent activities in the Public Service, and that includes issues of nepotism and maladministration.
Furthermore, the transversal management policies which strive to ensure good governance and facilitate best human resource management functions and practices is imperative and is a tool for this programme. For the sake of emphasis, Chairperson, this should be applicable to all spheres of government.
Remember that the attributes of the developmental state that we all aim for is highly dependent on the efficiency of the three spheres of government. At the 52nd ANC National Conference in Polokwane, the ANC adopted a resolution.
This resolution gives context and framework of our desire to realise the state that we are talking about. Paramount also to the purpose of this programme, which is the human resources management and development programme, is to develop and implement an integrated strategy to monitor employment practices, conduct human resource planning and diversity management, and to improve the health and wellbeing of the employees of the state.
It therefore stands to reason, hon Chair, that among the six funded programmes of the Department of Public Service and Administration, the spending patterns of programmes that I am talking about, in particular, will focus on the following: building a capable Public Service, improving recruitment policies and reducing vacancy rates.
To further strengthen the Department of Public Service and Administration, in the state of the nation address the President also highlighted the following: a target of 2% for the intake of internships for experiential training; the finalisation of the national disability rights policy; and the approved equity targets on race, gender and people living with disabilities.
The NDP sets out Vision 2030 for South Africa with key targets, and already the ball is rolling. We are indeed a government at work. We are indeed taking strides in making Public Service and Administration a pillar of strength for this government.
The modernisation of the Public Service is critical in ensuring the Public Service that we all envisage. The introduction of state information technology plays a central role in the rolling out of relevant skills. Furthermore, improving the capacity of cadres in the Public Service necessitated the establishment of the National School of Government, NSG, so that as government we respond to challenges of skills training and development.
Yes, there are challenges and shortcomings; however, good work is in progress. Note the following: training on the needs analysis at local government has been done; financial management skills training has been rolled out in Limpopo and Mpumalanga; and a good working relation with four academies for the training of councillors is effective across the country. I am talking about the programme in the Free State, Western Cape, KwaZulu- Natal and Gauteng. These academies are linked to the NSG and it should be borne in mind, hon members, that all training programmes are monitored and evaluated on site.
So, the application of learning studies and the programme evaluation yields positive results; but, of course, more needs to be done. I can boldly say to the House that 114 training programmes have already been rolled out to close to 40 000 students per annum; and of this 114, 46 were accredited. So, the ethos and the ideal concept to develop this is consistent with the development of a management cadre.
Can I pose this question: Does the National School of Government have a role to play in the country? Does the National School of Government have a place in our society? Does the National School of Government have a function to perform? The answers to all three questions is an unequivocal yes!
However, the political willpower and the organisational support is critical to the development of this school so that we can compare ourselves to the likes of the cole Nationale d'Administration, ENA, the school of government in France, China, Senegal and Kenya, to name but a few, in the years to come. So, my emphasis here is that we are on the right course.
The ANC led-government remains resolute in its quest to develop and create a Public Service that pursues a developmental agenda, strengthened by the priorities to which I have alluded. The Constitution of South Africa provides mechanisms for monitoring, evaluating and investigating public administration practices. Our strength in this particular regard lies with the Public Service Commission, PSC, which is invested with the custodial oversight responsibilities for the Public Service.
The PSC, being the champion of public administration excellence in South Africa, has a right to have grievances lodged and report on finalised cases of financial misconduct. All this is done in the spirit of good governance. The Constitution is there to protect it; it has to do its work. [Interjections.] The Presidency, demonstrating a total commitment to the eradication of corrupt practices in the Public Service, Mr Mc Gluwa, launched the National Anti-Corruption Hotline, which is also managed by this organ.
The successful investigation of cases of alleged corruption reported through the National Anti-Corruption Hotline, Nach, has since 2004 resulted in the recovery of R330 million from perpetrators. The PSC has commenced with 100% scrutiny of financial disclosure forms. In 2013 alone, 73% or 9 413 senior managers' disclosures were scrutinised to assess actual and potential conflicts of interest.
Over 3 300 potential conflicts of interest and 54 actual conflicts were identified, reinforcing the recommendation that Public Service managers are not expected to do work with government. This is a good work in progress. Of course, it will be politically naive of me to say all is hunky-dory, there are no hurdles. [Interjections.]