Ramaphosa lays out new reforms to strengthen fight against corruption in public service

4th March 2024 By: Thabi Shomolekae - Creamer Media Senior Writer

Ramaphosa lays out new reforms to strengthen fight against corruption in public service

President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa noted on Monday that to improve accountability and tackle corruption, an inter-departmental task team has developed a central register to track all dismissals and resignations with disciplinary cases pending in national and provincial government.

Ramaphosa wrote in his weekly letter to the nation that earlier this week, the National Assembly passed the Public Administration Management Amendment Bill and the Public Service Amendment Bill, which would now go to the National Council of Provinces for consideration. 

He said the two important pieces of legislation would improve the functioning of public service, strengthen accountability and increase efficiency.

Also this week, the Department of Public Service and Administration published a new directive to guide departments in implementing the framework for the professionalisation of the public service. 

He said this directive, together with the draft legislation, would have a far-reaching impact on the functioning of the public service.

They gave effect to some of the country’s most important tasks, he added.
He explained that these reforms would help ensure that the best people were appointed to the public service and that they were given support to perform effectively, adding that the reforms contained in the draft legislation would significantly reduce the potential for undue political interference in the administration of government. 

Ramaphosa said that these reforms would improve coordination and accountability and also strengthen the fight against corruption.

He explained that the register currently had over 12 000 records and that work was underway to include information from local government and public entities.

“This will prevent public servants with disciplinary records being appointed in another part of the State. All of these reforms will contribute to building a more effective and efficient State that is responsive and accountable,” he said.

He highlighted that the reforms would enable public servants to do their work without interference and with the necessary support.

“And they will provide impetus to our collective efforts to build a capable State that is better equipped to fundamentally transform and develop our society,” he added.

He highlighted that as part of the draft legislation, public servants who left government may not, within 12 months of leaving, accept employment or appointment to the board of a service provider to which they were involved in awarding a contract.

“They may not perform any paid work or receive any other payment. Service providers or employees who contravene this provision would have committed a crime and could be fined up to R1-million,” said Ramaphosa.

He said that another important part of the most recent directive was that the requirement of work experience had been waived for entry level posts in the public service.

“This must be accompanied by in-service training and support such as coaching and mentoring. Departments are also instructed to establish graduate recruitment schemes to attract young people leaving higher education institutions into the public service,” he explained.

Ramaphosa noted that another important change proposed in the legislation was to prohibit a head of department or an employee directly reporting to them from holding political office. This he said was to strengthen the distinction between political and administrative roles.