The Public Service Commission’s (PSC’s) 2010 report on the state of the public service casts a sharp and often unflattering eye on the one-million-employee state sector and its ability to deliver on a mandate that ranges from the provision of houses to creating a more equal society. Some insights include:
The report alluded to a 2009 department of local government review of municipalities, which noted “a culture of patronage and nepotism is now so widespread in many municipalities that the formal municipal accountability system is ineffective and inaccessible to many citizens”.
Most departments had skills development plans in place, but the PSC voiced doubts about their “credibility”. Government human resource departments “lacked credible strategies to attract and retain a competent workforce”, the report found.
The report noted that municipal “capacity challenges” and “the risk of corruption” meant the criteria for housing allocations were “many times not applied fairly or transparently”.
The report noted that in the two months between its launch on September 14 last year and November 20, the hotline received 13 569 calls related to provincial departments and 13 634 to national departments. Just 17% of provincial queries and 39% of national queries were resolved by the end of November.
The report said the low resolution levels would adversely affect the hotline’s credibility.
The PSC report also noted that budgeting and financial management were “a critical aspect of accountability which would need greater attention”.