Presidency head to be responsible for directors-general
Johannesburg - The government wants newly-appointed Presidency director-general Phindile Baleni to be in charge of heads of national departments as the administrative head of the public service.
Proposals made by Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu could see other directors-general report to Baleni.
Mchunu has released for public comment proposed amendments to the Public Service Act of 1994 to be in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), which recommends a super director-general based in the Presidency.
The administrative head of the public service will be the top public servant to whom other directors-general will report on operational, organisational and administrative matters.
At provincial level, the same role would be played by the directors-general in premier’s offices.
According to the proposals, Baleni will also be responsible for intergovernmental relations on an administrative level between the Presidency, national and provincial departments and other state components including the co-ordination of their actions and legislation.
She will support President Cyril Ramaphosa on any matter entrusted or assigned to him by or under the Public Service Act or any other law and perform any other function if so requested by the president subject to the Constitution or any other law.
However, the administrative head of the public service, both nationally and provincially, will exercise no power or perform no duty which is entrusted or assigned to any head of the department.
The Department of Public Service and Administration explained that the amendments were to augment the functions of the director-general in the Presidency to include the functions envisaged by the NDP for an administrative head of the public service.
The NDP recommended that the public service be professionalised and for an administrative head position to be created with the responsibility of managing the career progression of heads of department including convening panels for recruitment, performance assessment and disciplinary procedures.
The administrative head of the public service will also be responsible for managing the career progression of heads of department and play a key role in making top appointments, which would allow for the reconciliation of administrative and political priorities.
Public Service Commission (PSC) chairperson advocate Richard Sizani and the proposed administrative head of the public service should convene the selection panel for heads of department and their deputies.
The NDP called for the PSC to play a direct role in the recruitment of the most senior posts in the public service.
It was also hoped that an administrative head of the public service would help stabilise the political-administrative interface.
Normally, the administrative head of the public service has two main roles including ensuring its effective overall management, identify broader challenges in operations and facilitate better co-ordination.
The NDP proposed direct interaction between the national administrative head of the public service and the municipal managers for the largest metropolitan municipalities due to increased delegation to large cities.
Interested parties and organisations have 30 days from April 6 to submit written comments on the draft bill.