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Public Administration Laws General Bill in the Pipeline

April 8, 2021


A Draft Public Administration Laws General Amendment Bill is in the pipeline.

The proposed legislation, a private member’s bill, was published in Government Gazette 44383 for comment.

The draft bill was drawn up by Dr. Leon Schreiber, a Democratic Alliance member of parliament.

According to the explanatory summary, as a result of political interference in public administration, which manifests in the “appointment of public servants and other officials on the basis of political loyalty rather than on the basis of demonstrated merit, South Africa’s public service is collapsing under the weight of corruption and a lack of skills”.

Dr Schreiber also points out that the “type of destructive political interference exposed by the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture is possible because the Public Service Act, 1994 (Proclamation 103 of 1994) provides for the President, Ministers, Premiers and Members of the Executive Council to be closely involved in the career incidents of public service servants, including appointment, promotion and dismissal, without enforcing the need for appointments to be based on demonstrated merit”.

He adds that the Draft Framework towards the Professionalisation of the Public Service, published for comment in December 2020, while correctly identifying the problem, proposes reforms that are “ironically not decisive enough”.

“The amendments contained in this Bill addresses the shortcoming of the Framework by introducing the appropriately decisive reforms called for in the Framework.”

The draft bill seeks to give the Public Service Commission the “powers and human resources that will enable it to ensure merit-based recruitment throughout the public service”.

Comment on the proposed content of the draft bill is invited within 30 days of the date of publication.