Minister Ayanda Dlodlo tightens requirements for one to become a government employee

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Public Service and Administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo says a framework aimed at the professionalisation of the public service will be presented to Cabinet in the next two months.

Dlodlo said the framework, which includes reviewing and tightening the government’s recruitment processes, among others, is part of the reforms being undertaken, as per President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pronouncement that the foremost priority is to build a capable, ethical and developmental State.

“In support of this priority, the framework for the professionalisation of the public service is being finalised,” she said on Monday.

During the State of the Nation Address, the President announced that this will include tighter measures for recruitment of public servants, continuous professional development through the National School of Government and partnerships between State bodies, professional associations, and universities.

The Framework for the Professionalisation of the Public Service was gazetted in December 2020 for public comments.

A ministerial task team of subject experts from across sectors was established to undertake an extensive peer review, which has now been completed.

“The revised framework will be presented to Cabinet within the next two months and will be proposing fundamental reforms,” Dlodlo said.

Dlodlo said the framework would, as part of the reforms that are being proposed,  include:

  • A stronger emphasis on merit-based recruitment and appointments. The principle of merit shall apply at pre-entry level, as well as to assessments, progression, and promotion. This reform will require a review of public sector recruitment frameworks and practices;
  • Introducing instruments to undertake integrity testing before any individual joins the public sector. Government is serious about wanting ethical public servants, who serve with the highest degree of integrity;
  • Stabilising the political-administrative interface across the public sector. This will be achieved by appointing a head of the public service, who will play a critical role in managing the career incidents of director-generals. Regarding the tenure of heads of department, government shall consider making the tenure 10 years, subject to performance;
  • Collaborating with higher education institutions, professional bodies/associations and government departments/organs of state, and the industry to work closely on curricula development matters to support the development of public servants and those who wish the join the public service;
  • Reviewing the recognition of prior learning and exploring the possibility of targeted recruitment to optimise its use in the public sector by those whose prior experience needs to be recognised, not only for academic purpose but even for the awarding of professional designation by professional associations/bodies/councils/boards.

“We need to have in the employ of the State qualified officials with relevant skills and competencies for the job they have been employed to do, and such should have ethical disposition steeped in the Batho Pele principles.

“In other words, those who know what they are doing, and perform their duties conscientiously with a strong sense of public service, embodying the basic values and principles of public administration, as enshrined in the Constitution,” said Dlodlo.

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