The Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Mr Senzo Mchunu, has called upon the National School of Government (The NSG), to enhance its role in assisting government to promote ethics, productivity and innovation in the public service.
Minister Mchunu addressed the National Strategic Planning Session of the NSG in Pretoria today, 20 October 2020. The NSG forms part of the portfolio of the Minister, and is responsible for the training of public servants in the national, provincial and local government spheres as well as State Owned Entities in terms of its expanded mandate. The Strategic Planning session is taking place under the theme “Delivering on our Mandate in a Rapidly Changing World” and will assist the NSG to develop its 2021/22 Annual Performance Plan.
The Minister said the goal of Government is to build an ethical, developmental and capable state and reminded the NSG to enhance its role towards the achievement of this goal. He said the public sector has an important role to play in building a developmental state that would be able to intervene and contribute to building an environment in which the economy would grow and create jobs.
Minister Mchunu also emphasised the need to promote ethics in the public service. “We need to bring back people’s trust of Government and the public sector. As you train public servants, instill in them that we want to achieve an ethical, capable developmental state”.
The Minister commended the NSG on its Ethics in the Public Service course targeting all public servants in the country. The Minister also called for a hardworking civil service. “As public servants, you need to ask yourselves what you have achieved each day when finishing a day at work. Part of being ethical is being conscious about your work.” He said Government had no tolerance for lazy unproductive public servants who spend hours doing nothing. “Some people spend four hours on a Monday morning reviewing the weekend activities instead of working”.
He raised concern about the inadequate access to tools of trade for public servants below senior management level. Many public servants are unable to enroll for online courses as they do not have laptops or data. “This problem became more pronounced during the Covid-19 lockdown period. It needs to be corrected. We need to invest in such gadgets for all public servants; they need to have these tools for self-development and also because the era we live in demands that we use such gadgets to deliver services for the people”, said Minister Mchunu.
Minister Mchunu also made a strong call for innovation in the public service, saying public servants need to be innovative and be able to solve problems using new ICT tools. They should also be flexible and creative in providing solutions and not only focus on identifying problems. “Let us declare war on the lack of innovation in the public service. Innovation is not only required in the private sector. We need it in the public sector as well”.
Minister Mchunu noted that there were fewer people working during the lockdown but the productivity was high due to innovative methods that were used through digital technologies to get the work of Government done.
The session was also addressed by the CEO of Accenture Africa, Mr Vukani Mgxathi, who emphasised the need for the digital transformation of higher education in order to meet the demands of the new digital economy. “We must radically rethink the skills we need and transform how we teach people to learn and apply them throughout their careers”, said Mr Mgxathi. He called for a three step approach, which is: to speed up experiential learning, shift focus from institutions to individuals and to empower vulnerable learners.
Source: Government of South Africa