Public Service and Administration Budget Vote
By Prof CT Msimang MP

 

National Assembly: Cape Town, 26th May 2011 

Honourable Chairperson: 

 

This department has one of the toughest mandates in government, specifically the mandate to improve the service delivery from government to the people of our Country. Batho Pele or the principle of service to the people embodies the ideal that should be first and foremost in minds of all government employees and officials, the ideal of service.

 

Aristotle once said that man is a zoon politikon and that the highest office man can aspire to in life is the office of public service in and for the public good, and further that Politics can and should lead men and women to excellence when it comes to community life.

 

The sad reality is that this ideal has been trampled underfoot by the greed and corruption of many government officials and politics is now seen by many as just another avenue towards a life of power, status and affluence. We are indeed a very far cry from the rule of the philosopher kings as envisaged by Plato in his Ideal Republic.

 

Mr Minister, your Department is at the veritable coal face. You are responsible for creating the norms and standards that will lead to the overall improvement of service delivery by government departments.

 

The IFP commends the Department for recent policies and regulations that have been adopted to curb corruption but the test for any policy or regulation is in its implementation. One such policy is the Financial Disclosure Framework for senior managers in the Public Service. This framework requires Senior Managers to disclose in prescribed forms, all their registrable interests to be scrutinized by the PSC in order to identify any potential conflicts of interest. One would expect the Senior Managers to set a good example by complying with this requirement.

Regrettably in the 2008/2009 PSC report no less than 1743 failed to comply.

We are yet to hear what punitive steps the Department will take to discipline such managers.

 

We are currently in service delivery crisis mode, sporadic outbreaks of service delivery protests are occurring nation wide and have in many instances led to the death of civilians and damage to property and infrastructure. Situations such as these cannot and must not be allowed to arise again.

 

The principles of Batho Pele must be entrenched in our public service sector. Impact assessments must be conducted and continuous monitoring should take place, and where the principles are found to be lacking, swift corrective actions should be immediately implemented.

 

Our citizens must be engaged on their service delivery concerns, communities must be engaged and solutions found in partnership with our people.

 

Initiatives such as the Khaedu project, with its management toolkit for problem identification must have the full support of government and should be greatly encouraged with mandatory participation for all senior management service members.

 

The Department must however be complimented on its efforts to curb excessive government spending through its cost containment measures such as restrictions of the use of business class travel, participation in the government fleet management scheme and by reducing the size of government delegations to both national and international destinations, which also have the desired knock-on effect of reducing governments carbon footprint upon the environment.

 

Corruption has no place in government and those found guilty of perpetrating same should feel the full might of our law.

 

Government cannot serve two masters; it exists solely at the will and behest of the people whom it serves. There is no place for self serving officials in government. Let the clarion call resound.

 

The IFP supports this budget vote subject to the correction of the discrepancies highlighted above.

 

I thank you.

 

Prof CT Msimang MP