Speech on the Public Service Amendment Bill [B13B–2023]
Speech by Steve Swart MP

Issued by the ACDP Parliamentary Media Office

Officials should be true servants of the people and appointed on merit

Feb 27, 2024

Chairperson,

The ACDP believes this Amendment Bill is a step in the right direction in ensuring the vision of a Public Administration that is professional and effective as set out in section 195 of the Constitution.

We know that the State Capture Commission identified that the primary mechanism of state capture to be the strategic positioning of particular individuals in positions of power which was then used to gain control of public procurement and over law enforcement agencies. Corrupt politicians and officials use appointment and disciplinary processes to move law-abiding public servants and replace them with those who are willing to be complicit in corruption.

We also that broad executive powers of appointment and removal without effective checks and balances allowed patronage considerations to pervade public administrative personnel practises and this blurred the lInes in the political administrative interface and this what we see as cadre deployment at its very worst.

The ACDP and the Commission itself also highlighted a multitude of examples of this abuse and we, as Parliament, saw that in the previous Parliament with the Eskom Parliamentary Inquiry and if you read that report that Parliament accepted, it gives evidence of this.

So, this is a step in the right direction, which the ACDP supports. We believe that officials should be appointed on merit. We also believe that they should be true servants of the people who understand the concept of stewardship of state resources, and that resources are not there to be stolen or to be misappropriated.

We also welcome the prohibition on senior public servants holding political office. This will also distinguish political and public administration roles and functions, clarifying the political-administrative interface.

We have also studied Clause 18 of the Bill which deals with the recovery of remuneration that was wrongfully granted to an employee and we understand that this was as a result of the Constitutional Court ruling in the case of the PSA versus the Head of Department of Gauteng. This amendment aligns the provisions with the provisions of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and sets in place mechanisms to ensure that the rights of employees are not undermined.

The ACDP will support this Bill.

I thank you.

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