Public administration

Government’s wage bill
Implementation of Batho Pele principles
Regulations and legislation
Public Service Commission
Centre for Public Service Innovation
National School of Government
Public Service Month
Batho Pele
Excellence Awards


The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) draws its mandate from Section 195 (1) of the Constitution, which sets out basic values and principles to which the Public Service should adhere to; and the Public Service Act of 1994 (Act 103 of 1994), which gives the Minister of Public Service and Administration the responsibility to establish norms and standards relating to:

  • the functions of the Public Service
  • organisational structures and the establishment of departments and other organisational and governance arrangements in the Public Service the conditions of service and other employment practices for employees;
  • labour relations in the Public Service;
  • the health and wellness of employees;
  • information management in the Public Service;
  • electronic government;
  • integrity, ethics, conduct and anti‐corruption in the Public Service; and
  • transformation, reform, innovation and any other matter to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Public Service and its delivery of services to the public.

The department provides an enabling environment to ensure government departments that deliver services have adequate capacity to carry out their mandates. In seeking to do this, over the medium term, the department will focus on intensifying the fight against corruption in the public service, reducing government’s wage bill, ensuring adherence to Batho Pele principles, and developing regulations and reviewing key legislation.

The NDP articulates a vision of a capable and developmental state built through strengthening delegation, accountability and oversight in the Public Service. This vision is supported by Priority 6 (a capable, ethical and developmental state) of government’s 2019 – 2024 MTSF, with which the work of the DPSA is closely aligned.

Intensifying the fight against corruption

The department will continue to intensify the fight against corruption in the public service over the MTEF period by strengthening disciplinary action in such cases, and promoting a culture of accountability and ethical and professional behaviour.

Part of combating corruption entails limiting the scope for conflicts of interest through measures such as prohibiting public servants from conducting business with the state. This entails conducting lifestyle audits on certain categories of employees and monitoring the implementation of the financial disclosure framework. The public administration ethics, integrity and disciplinary technical assistance unit developed guidelines for this in 2021/22.

The unit provides technical assistance and support to institutions in all spheres of government; develops norms and standards on ethics, integrity, conduct and discipline management in public administration; and will monitor adherence to the financial disclosure framework once it is adopted.

The unit also forms part of the anticorruption task team and serves in the intergovernmental fusion centre at the Financial Intelligence Centre, where it assists with identifying public service employees investigated for fraud related to government’s response to the COVID‐19 pandemic.

The department plans to support 12 departments over the medium term on the implementation of the guidelines while increasing awareness of public‐sector lifestyle audits, especially in terms of the repercussions of committing fraudulent activities; and providing support to all government departments on the implementation of the guidelines. To carry out activities related to intensifying the fight against corruption, R75.8 million is allocated over the period ahead in the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit subprogramme in the Negotiations, Labour Relations and Remuneration Management programme.

Reducing government’s wage bill

The department is tasked with ensuring that the public‐sector wage bill becomes more affordable. As such, in collaboration with National Treasury and other departments, the department planned to review remuneration policies across government with the aim of developing a single remuneration framework for the public sector (excluding state-owned enterprises).

This is expected to be achieved over the medium term, and will be in line with the principles of fair, equitable and sustainable remuneration.

The implementation of the framework is also expected to reduce remuneration inequality for employees performing similar tasks in different spheres of government.

To carry out these activities, R73.7 million is set aside over the medium term in the Remuneration, Employment Conditions and Human Resource Systems subprogramme in the Negotiations, Labour Relations and Remuneration Management programme.

Improving the implementation of Batho Pele principles

Adherence to Batho Pele principles means putting people first in the delivery of public services. Accordingly, over the medium term, the department will continue to provide the necessary support to departments by monitoring the quality and implementation of the revised Batho Pele programme, and the extent to which departments promote and implement the principles.

Each department is required to develop standards to guide its implementation of the principles. To this end, R48.4 million is allocated over the MTEF period in the Service Delivery Improvement, Citizen Relations and Public Participation subprogramme in the Government Service Access and Improvement programme.

Developing regulations and reviewing key legislation

Over the MTEF period, the department will focus on developing regulations to enable the full implementation of the Public Administration Management Act, 2014 (Act 11 of 2014).

Following consultations with internal and external stakeholders on the draft White Paper on the Transformation and Modernisation of Public Administration, regulations for the Act were submitted to relevant stakeholders. The amended Act is expected to be finalised and tabled in Parliament in 2023/24.

Once in effect, it will inform the formulation of further regulations and other legislative provisions to enhance the principles of a unified public administration. The department also plans to review the Public Service Act of 1994 and related policies over the period ahead. To carry out these activities, R34.8 million over the medium term is allocated in the Legal Services subprogramme in the Administration programme.


Public Service Commission (PSC)

The Public Service Commission (PSC) is an independent institution established in terms of Chapter 10 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996. It derives its mandate from sections 195 and 196 of the Constitution, which set out the values and principles governing public administration. The commission is vested with custodial oversight responsibilities for the Public Service, and monitors, evaluates and investigates public administration practices.

It has the power to issue directives on compliance with personnel procedures relating to recruitment, transfers, promotions and dismissals. Over the MTEF period, the PSC planned to continue promoting constitutional values and principles; investigate grievances; conduct research and monitor compliance with the Public Service monitoring and evaluation system and adherence to applicable procedures and standards of service delivery; and produce reports on human resource management in the Public Service.

Total expenditure is expected to increase from R295.5 million in 2022/23 to R318.5 million in 2025/26, with compensation of employees comprising an estimated 75.4% (R689.6 million) of this spending. By promoting constitutional values and the principles governing public administration, the commission hopes to change the behaviour and attitude of public servants in their daily activities.

To give effect to this, the PSC, in collaboration with various spheres of government, planned to host 20 engagements per year on constitutional values and principles to promote service delivery and functionality in the public service. Spending for these engagements is within the Monitoring and Evaluation programme, which has an allocation of R138.9 million over the medium term.

The PSC will continue to investigate grievances related to labour or human resources lodged by public servants to their respective departments, and finalise 85% of them by recommending appropriate actions within 30 days of receipt. This is budgeted for in the Leadership and Management Practices programme, which has an allocation of R154.7 million over the medium term.

The commission is tasked with conducting investigations following the receipt of complaints from the public or of its own accord. Complaints could be related to, among other things, corruption, appointment and procurement irregularities, and the conduct of public servants. The objective of investigations is to identify shortcomings and/or wrongdoings and provide redress to citizens through the effective and efficient delivery of public services.

Accordingly, the commission will continue to manage the functioning of the National Anti-Corruption Hotline and conduct research and advocacy work to promote professional ethics in the Public Service.

To quantify its progress, the commission intends to produce three oversight reports on the implementation of the ethics framework and four articles on the promotion of professional ethics per year over the medium term. Expenditure on these activities is within an allocation of R181.4 million over the MTEF period in the Integrity and Anti-corruption programme.

Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI)

In terms of Section 3(1)(i) of the Public Service Act of 1994, the responsibility for innovation in the public sector is vested in the Minister for Public Service and Administration. The CPSI is tasked by the Minister to fulfil this mandate, which includes establishing norms and standards relating to transformation, reform and innovation to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Public Service and its delivery of services to the public.

Over the medium term, the department aims to use innovation to identify and offer solutions to service delivery challenges. It plans to do so by partnering with other government departments, nongovernmental organisations, the private sector, tertiary institutions, academics and international entities to enhance government’s implementation of the district development model. The process of developing innovative solutions involves investigating challenges and then finding or creating a prototype, approach, model, service or product for further testing, piloting and/or replication.

Accordingly, in 2023/24, the department plans to initiate four new research and development projects, such as the development of apps for emergency medical services. These are expected to enhance the delivery of services such as forensics and transport. These and other related activities will be carried out in the Research and Development and Institutional Support and Replication subprogrammes in the Public Sector Innovation programme.

The programme is allocated R70.3 million over the MTEF period. As part of its efforts to bring about a culture of innovation in the public sector, the department will continue to coordinate nine innovation knowledge platforms that share innovative approaches, solutions and models across all spheres of government. Many of these initiatives are aimed at supporting the development of digital skills among young people. These activities are allocated R28.1 million over the medium term in the Enabling Environment and Stakeholder Management subprogramme in the Public Sector Innovation programme.

One of these platforms is the annual Public Sector innovation awards, through which the department identifies at least two innovative solutions submitted to the awards for replication in targeted government sectors, particularly for identified service delivery challenges. Replication initiatives are carried out in the Institutional Support and Replication subprogramme, which is allocated R20.4 million over the period ahead.

The department’s budget is set to increase at an average annual rate of 3.6%, from R45 million in 2022/23 to R50.1 million in 2025/26. Compensation of employees accounts for 57.2% (R83 million) of the department’s total budget, increasing from R25.1 million in 2022/

National School of Government (NSG)

The NSG is mandated to provide training or effect its provision interms of the Public Service Amendment Act, 2007 (Act 30 of 2007).

The school carries out its mandate by developing relevant training and development programmes for delivery to South African public service officials at all levels.

Through education and training, the school promotes the progressive realisation of the values and principles governing public administration, and enhances the quality of human resource capacity in public service institutions. The school uses its trading account, which was established in terms of the PFMA of 1999, as a delivery vehicle for its core output.

The department’s overarching objective is to contribute to fulfilling the educational, training and development needs of the public service.

To achieve this, over the MTEF period, the department will focus on continuing and increasing its active online learning interventions, and revising the funding model of its entity to improve revenue generation.

The number of online education, training and development interventions provided over the medium term was expected to increase from eight in 2022/23 to 10 in 2025/26.

To achieve this, the department planned to continue implementing six ICT projects per year in fields such as learning and training management systems to enable the school to operate more efficiently in its operations. These projects will assist the school in increasing the number of learners accessing compulsory and demand‐led training, and education and development programmes. These activities will be carried out in the Administration programme, which is allocated R355.4 million over the MTEF period.

The department will continue to work on revising its entity’s funding model by looking at alternative and broader sources of revenue beyond the fiscus to ensure financial sustainability. This will entail, among other interventions, a drive to increase the uptake of the school’s education, training and development offerings from 75% in 2022/23 to 80% in 2025/26.

Spending for these activities is within an allocation of R338.9 million over the medium term in the Management and Corporate Services subprogrammes in the Administration programme. Spending on the revised funding model is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 3.2%, from R5 million in 2022/23 to R5.5 million in 2025/26.

Total expenditure is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 2.6%, from R231.1 million in 2022/23 to R249.4 million in 2025/26. Transfers to the training trading account constitute 50.4% (R361.8 million) of the department’s budget over the medium term, while the remaining 49.6% is allocated to the Administration programme.

Public Service Month

South Africa commemorates PSM in September each year. It is a regular national event that requires all the national and provincial departments to participate by putting in place activities and campaigns to improve service delivery. PSM is a follow-up to and mirrors the UN and Africa Public Service Day, which takes place on 23 June every year. 

The PSM serves as a reminder of what it means to serve communities and to also look at the impact the government has, especially around issues of service delivery. As part of the PSM, public servants are expected to:

  • Roll up their sleeves and spring-clean their service delivery points;
  • Visit schools, hospitals, police stations and courts, talk to citizens, mediate the delivery of services and getting things done;
  • Unblock the bottlenecks and red-tape in the delivery of services;
  • Ensure the systems and infrastructure are working and use public resources efficiently to the benefit of the citizens; and
  • Recommit themselves to belong, to care and to serve the people.

Batho Pele

The Batho Pele initiative is aimed at improving service delivery to the public. Batho Pele is a Sesotho phrase meaning “People First”. From this concept, eight principles for transforming Public service delivery were derived. These are:

  • regular consultation with customers
  • set service standards
  • increased access to services
  • higher levels of courtesy
  • more and better information about services
  • increased openness and transparency about services
  • remedying failures and mistakes
  • giving the best possible value for money.

Batho Pele Excellence Awards

The annual National Batho Pele Excellence Awards serve to recognise public servants who are selfless, dedicated, committed and go the extra mile in servicing citizens. Eligible to public servants across the three spheres of government, the awards seek to entrench transformation and professionalism in the Public Service.

Source: South Africa Yearbook 2022/23

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