Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Public Services Commission (PSC) commissioner Yasmin Bacus says they are encouraged by this week’s Cabinet approval of a draft bill that if signed into law will see the commission’s independence being significantly boosted.
She said the proposed changes in the form of the Public Services Bill, will enable the institution to operate more independently, and have their recommendations taken more seriously by the government.
The changes are likely to be implemented in the next term of government after next year’s elections, but the commissioner said these were encouraging developments.
“The primary objective of the bill is to establish an independent Secretariat for the PSC. The establishment of the independent secretariat is intended to strengthen the independence and impartiality of the PSC, as it will no longer be supported by a national government department,” Bacus told The Mercury yesterday.
In addition to this, the bill seeks to extend the mandate of the PSC to municipalities and public entities as they are currently excluded from the definition of public service.
She said that this was an important development as local government and public entities were part of the public administration.
It has been argued that given the amount of resources that are pumped into local government, it is equally important to ensure that the sphere gets all the support it needs, and Bacus believes that through the bill they will be able to meet such a demand.
According to the commissioner, the main imperatives of the PSC Bill are: To repeal the Public Service Commission Act, 1997. Promulgate a new Public Service Commission Bill 2023. Enable the Public Service Commission to operate as an independent and impartial constitutional body with its own secretariat.
Improve efficiency and impact of the PSC in the public service and public administration as part of building a capable, ethical and developmental state.
Ensure that the PSC mandate extends to municipalities and public entities.
She explained that the PSC Bill was approved by Cabinet in May 2023 for approval for publication for public comments by June 9 and was approved by Cabinet for submission to Parliament and will now go through all the parliamentary processes and any other relevant consultation process.
“The PSC Bill 2023 will then hopefully be tabled in Parliament by the end of September 2023.
“This will mean that our recommendations do not only get noted by government departments, but also get implemented and that will bring about much needed accountability, efficiency and service delivery,” said the commissioner yesterday.
The commission was commended recently by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts for ensuring that KZN public servants declared their interests after five years of consistent pleas for them to do so.