Public Service Commission says no to DA’s demands

Dr Somadoda Fikeni, chairperson of Public Service Commission. Picture: Jacques Naude Independent Newspapers

Dr Somadoda Fikeni, chairperson of Public Service Commission. Picture: Jacques Naude Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 25, 2024


The chairperson of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Professor Somadoda Fikeni, says the DA’s proposal around directors-general (DGs) was counter-intuitive.

Fikeni said the party’s move signalled cadre deployment.

He said this was against the professionalisation of the public service.

“It is ironic how the same party that was championing the rights of public servants against politicians is now the same party that wants to subject them to the same situation they were protecting them from.

“There is a reason why there are laws put in place to protect public servants from such things, and the laws are simple. If the DG is sabotaging the minister, that is tantamount to insubordination and there are repercussions for that.”

Speaking with The Star on Tuesday, Fikeni said the PSC had repositioned itself as an institution that would effectively contribute towards building a capable, ethical and developmental state.

“We are amending legislation and strengthening the role of the PSC to ensure that qualified people are appointed to senior management positions and to move towards creating a single, harmonised public service.

“The process of reviewing the PSC’s legislation is at an advanced stage. It is envisaged that the legislative review process, which would see the current PSC Bill being enacted into law, will be completed by the end of the year.

“Once enacted into law, the PSC Bill will enable the conversion of the Office of the Public Service Commission from a government department, in terms of the Public Service Act of 1994, into a function shift as an independent PSC Secretariat established in terms of the Public Service Commission Act,” he said.

Fikeni said the bill was to ensure that the PSC executed its mandate fully as an independent and impartial constitutional entity.

He added that the mandate of the PSC would be reinforced and extended in terms of local government and public entities in line with section 196(2) of the Constitution.

Fikeni was reacting to the leaked letter from the DA federal chairperson, Helen Zille, where she tabled her party’s expectations in terms of choosing its own directors-general and wish to re-invoke the current contract of the incumbent ones.

Fikeni said if every minister should want to come with their own staff, that would create a bad precedent which would not only invite litigation but would also frustrate service delivery.

He continued that as the PSC, they valued the maintenance of an effective and efficient government, as it was one of the core constitutional mandates of the PSC.

“The repositioning of the PSC will enable us to deliver on high catalytic impact projects that will contribute towards strategic state capacity and ensure that government functions effectively and efficiently.

“The high impact projects further represent a fundamental mindset shift from the audit-driven to more impact-driven performance outcomes. We have also seen an increase in the visibility of the PSC and the strengthening of stakeholder relations, which are an integral part of the repositioning,” Fikeni said.

The Star