Press Release: Submissions In Response To Two Draft Amendment Bills That Seek To Make Changes To The Legislative Scheme Governing The Public Service

The Helen Suzman Foundation (“HSF”) Has Submitted Its Comments To The Department Of Public Service And Administration In Respect Of Two Draft Amendment Bills: The Public Service Amendment Draft Bill, 2020 (“The PSA Bill”) And The Public Administration Management Amendment Draft Bill, 2020 (“The PAMA Bill”).

The PSA Bill seeks to introduce some reforms that will contribute to the professionalism of the public service.  The HSF welcomes these reforms, but expresses concern that the Bill falls far short of the comprehensive reform effort needed to professionalise the public service and insulate the public service from undue political interference.

In its submission, the HSF highlights further reforms that are needed to ensure the professionalisation of the public service, including:

  • That appointments and other career incidents in the public service be shielded from the influence of political actors; and
  • That the Public Service Commission—a ready-made constitutionally mandated independent entity—be given a role in the appointments process to guard against undue political interference.

The PAMA Bill does not go far enough to ensure a high standard of professional ethics in the public service and eradicate and prevent corruption. The HSF recommends that more extensive reforms be adopted, including:

  • That the prohibition against conducting business with the State be extended to family members of senior public servants;
  • That positive obligations be imposed on heads of department to report and initiate disciplinary proceedings in respect of any contravention of the prohibition against conducting business with the State;
  • That the functions and powers of the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit be expanded to include conducting investigations and instituting disciplinary proceedings where there is prima facie case of corruption-related misconduct and where the head of department fails to take adequate action; and
  • That the disclosure obligations on public servants in respect of their financial interests be expanded to include directorships and other remunerative work as well as any business conducted with the State by employees’ family members.

The HSF’s submissions in response to the PSA Bill can be found here.

The HSF’s submissions in response to the PAMA Bill can be found here.  

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