Forced back-to-school for all public servants

Public Service and Administration Minister Noxolo Kiviet has directed that all government employees must enrol for compulsory training programmes. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Public Service and Administration Minister Noxolo Kiviet has directed that all government employees must enrol for compulsory training programmes. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 4, 2024


PUBLIC Service and Administration Minister Noxolo Kiviet has informed the country's 1.3 million government employees that they will be subjected to compulsory training in an effort to get them highly competent and professionalised.

Kiviet’s directive, issued in September last year and released by the department last month, came into effect immediately.

It states that in research, followed by analysis of data drawn from the Auditor-General’s reports, the government found results of the management performance assessment tool and budgetary review and recommendations reports from the various parliamentary portfolio committees conducted by the National School of Government.

According to Kiviet, the courses will be compulsory for specific target groups of the government’s workforce to develop their skills through concerted and targeted training.

”This approach aims at achieving critical mass within the workforce to drive the change agenda of government, and if left to departments to undertake on their own, there is a risk that these courses will not receive the priority required and therefore the issuing of a directive becomes paramount,” she explained.

Kiviet said the approach would also allow her department to ensure compliance through appropriate monitoring and evaluation to determine achievement of the outcomes or results aimed for.

The move aims to support efforts to create a highly competent and professionalised public service, which includes the attainment of the government’s priority to establish a capable, ethical and developmental state and a more functional and integrated government capacitated with professional, responsive and meritocratic public servants to strengthen relations and efficiency.

In addition, it will prioritise and concentrate training, effort and spend in areas that will achieve the largest and rapid turnaround of non-compliance by departments resulting in improved governance, accountability and achieving critical mass to drive the change agenda.

Kiviet indicated that her directive applies to all national and provincial departments and government component employees.

Departments and state components are required to spend 1% of their personnel budget for training and development.

The training across various levels will include a compulsory induction programme, executive induction programme, and the Khaedu training and deployment to service delivery sites to empower managers to bring change within area under their operational control, ethics in the public service and managing of performance.

Other compulsory training programmes are supply chain management, financial management delegations of authority, re-orientation, and basic and advanced project management.

Newly appointed public servants will be required to enrol on the compulsory induction programme within six months from their date of appointment, and employees will be held accountable for failing to attend or fully complete any identified training.

Government departments will also be able to apply to any applicable sector education and training authority for additional funds to support the requirements of the compulsory training.

To enforce Kiviet’s directive, ministers and MECs will be required to immediately take appropriate disciplinary steps against their departmental heads for not complying.

Heads of departments must also immediately take appropriate disciplinary steps against an employee of the department who does not comply with the directive.

Kiviet “may report to the Cabinet or, through the relevant premier, to the executive council of the relevant province any non-compliance by an executive authority (minister and MEC)”, according to the directive.