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
NSG Training Trading Account
Public Service Month
Batho Pele
Batho Pele 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 DPSA is at the centre of government. It plays a major policy role in establishing norms and standards for Public Service, which ensure that service-delivery mechanisms, integrated systems and access, human resources, institutional development and governance initiatives are responsive to the needs of citizens.

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.

Accordingly, over the medium term, the department intends to address governance and operational challenges in the Public Service sector, which, among others, include a lack of integration and coordination in services provided by departments; dissimilar experiences of the quality and quantity of government services by the public; departments’ noncompliance with the Public Service Act of 1994 and regulations; and different conditions of service for employees in the local, provincial and national spheres of government, including public entities.

Responding to these and other challenges in the Public Service, over the medium term, will entail intensifying the fight against corruption; developing measures to reduce government’s wage bill; ensuring adherence to Batho Pele Principles; and developing regulations and reviewing key legislation.

Intensifying the fight against corruption

Over the MTEF period, the DPSA will intensify the fight against corruption in the Public Service by strengthening disciplinary action in cases of corruption, and by promoting a culture of accountability, and ethical and professional behaviour.

Part of combating corruption requires limiting the scope for conflicts of interest through measures such as prohibiting public servants from conducting business with the State, conducting lifestyle audits on certain categories of employees, and monitoring the implementation of the Financial Disclosure Framework by designated employees. Accordingly, guidelines on conducting lifestyle audits to intensify the fight against corruption in the Public Service were adopted in 2021/22. Over the medium term, the department plans to provide support in the public service for the implementation of these guidelines.

The Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit is responsible for the development of guidelines on lifestyle audits and provides technical assistance and support to institutions in all spheres of government. The unit develops norms and standards on ethics,  integrity, conduct and discipline management in public administration, and monitors the adherence of designated employees to the financial disclosure framework.

The department aims to increase awareness of public sector lifestyle audits, especially in terms of the repercussions of committing fraudulent activities and provide support to all government departments over the medium term on the implementation of guidelines for conducting lifestyle audits on public servants.

To carry out all activities related to intensifying the fight against corruption, R64.9 million over the medium term is allocated 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 DPSA is tasked with ensuring that the public sector wage becomes more affordable. It is in the process of conducting a review of personnel expenditure that will inform the development of a remuneration policy framework for the public service. The terms of reference have been developed and relevant stakeholders have been engaged. A suitably qualified service provider is expected to be appointed in 2022/23 to review and analyse the framework and provide recommendations for improvements or alternative arrangements.

The department is in the process of establishing a project management office that will introduce reforms with a long term view of building a capable, ethical, and developmental state while managing the wage bill. Five workstreams have been identified –

  • the management of the wage bill and consolidation of bargaining councils;
  • human resource planning and development;
  • the professionalisation of the public service; 
  • the consolidation of medical aid schemes and public sector pension funds; and
  • productivity measurement.

A total of R107.2 million, over the medium term, is set aside for these activities in the Remuneration, Employment Conditions and Human Resource Systems subprogramme in the Negotiations, Labour Relations and Remuneration Management programme.

While doing this, the DPSA will monitor the implementation of the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council resolutions by national and provincial departments with the aim of resolving challenges in implementation before they become disputes. Funding for these activities is within an allocation of R22 million over the medium term in the Negotiations, Labour Relations and Dispute Management 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 DPSA will focus on monitoring the quality and implementation of the revised Batho Pele Programme, and the extent to which departments promote and implement the principles.

This entails, among other things, evaluating whether departments consulted and agreed with citizens in developing standards for each principle. These activities are expected to result in expenditure of R43.3 million over the medium term 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) and reviewing the Public Service Act (1994) and related policies.

Consultations with internal and external stakeholders on the draft white paper on the transformation and modernisation of public administration will inform the drafting of the Public Administration Management Amendment Bill – which is expected to be tabled in Parliament in 2022/23 – and other legislative provisions to enhance the principles of a unified public administration. To carry out these activities, R33.1 million over the medium term is allocated in the Legal Services subprogramme in the Administration programme.


Over the medium term, the DPSA will focus on developing regulations to enable the full implementation of the Public Administration Management Act of 2014 and reviewing the Public Service Act of 1994 and related policies, which will be done concurrently with the development of the Public Administration Management Amendment Bill.

The department expects the Public Service Amendment Bill and the Public Administration Management Amendment Bill to be tabled in Parliament in 2022/23. To carry out these activities, R29.4 million has been allocated over the MTEF period to the Legal Services subprogramme in the Administration programme.


For the 2021/22 financial year, the DPSA was allocated R531.7 million. The department’s total budget over the MTEF period is R1.7 billion. An estimated 54% (R888.5 million) of this is allocated to compensation of employees and 8.3% (R137.3 million) is earmarked for transfer payments to the Centre for Public Service Innovation. An additional R5.1 million in 2022/23 is a located to compensation of employees to cover costs arising from the 2021/22 public sector wage agreement.

Role players

Public Service Commission (PSC)

The Public Service Commission (PSC) is an independent institution established in terms of Chapter 10 of the Constitution. The commission derives its mandate from Sections 195 and 196 of the Constitution, which set out the values and principles that govern 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. The NDP sets out a vision for building a capable and developmental state and, in doing so, rooting out corruption by building a resilient anti‐corruption system. Priority 6 (a capable, ethical and developmental state) of government’s 2019 – 2024 MTSF gives expression to this vision.

Over the MTEF period, the commission will focus on promoting professional ethics in the public service; monitoring service delivery sites; managing grievances; and ensuring that alleged incidents of public service misconduct are appropriately investigated. Expenditure is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 1.3%, from R286.3 million in 2021/22 to R297.7 million in 2024/25. Compensation of employees’ accounts for 75% (R652.1 million) of the commission’s projected expenditure over the medium term.

To promote a high standard of professional ethics in the public service, the commission expects to produce four professional ethics articles per year and continue to conduct research in the field, increase the percentage of investigations finalised within 90 working days from 60% in 2021/22 to 85% in 2024/25, scrutinise compliance with the financial disclosure framework, and refer all anti-corruption hotline cases for investigation within seven days of receipt of a case report. These activities will be carried out in the Integrity and Anti‐corruption programme, which has an allocation of R63.3 million over the medium term.

Section 196(4)(f)(ii) of the Constitution obligates the commission to investigate grievances reported by public service employees relating to official acts or omissions of public servants. Over the medium term, the commission will manage these grievances and make recommendations to its executive authority. The commission aims to increase the percentage of grievances finalised within 30 days from 65% in 2021/22 to 85% in 2024/25. These activities will be carried out in the Leadership and Management Practices programme, which has an allocation of R43.8 million over the MTEF period.

The commission will continue to focus on the professionalisation of the public service by promoting ethical conduct in human resource management and leadership. In aiding this, the commission will conduct research, and monitor and develop capacity on key public service issues, such as ethical practices in recruitment processes, effective discipline management, and the effective management of employee development. To carry out these activities, R29.3 million is allocated over the MTEF period in the Leadership and Management Practices programme.

The commission will continue to oversee service delivery by conducting inspections on key departments that are directly involved in providing services, and support Parliament in exercising its oversight role by holding the executive accountable. For these purposes, R27.3 million over the medium term is allocated in the Monitoring and Evaluation programme.


For the 2021/22 financial year, the PSC was allocated R282.3 million. Expenditure is expected to increase at an average annual rate of1.3%, from R286.3 million in 2021/22 to R297.7 million in 2024/25. Compensation of employees’ accounts for 75% (R652.1 million) of the commission’s projected expenditure over the medium term.

Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI)

The responsibility for innovation in the Public Sector is vested in the Minister for Public Service and Administration. The CPSI is tasked 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 service delivery to the public.

Over the medium term, the centre aims to use innovation to improve service delivery by partnering with other government departments, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, tertiary institutions, academics and international entities to identify or develop innovative solutions to challenges facing the public service.

This could include the creation or implementation of prototypes, approaches, models, services or products for further testing and piloting. In 2022/23, four new research and/or development projects are set to be initiated. These and other related activities are expected to be carried out in the Research and Development and Institutional Support and Replication subprogrammes in the Public Sector Innovation programme. The Public Sector Innovation programme has a budget of R62.6 million over the MTEF period.

As part of its efforts to bring about a culture of innovation in the Public Sector, the CPSI will continue to coordinate nine innovation knowledge platforms that share innovative approaches, solutions and models across all spheres of government. Funding for these activities is within an allocation of R26.7 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 centre aims to identify at least two innovative solutions for replication in targeted government sectors to address challenges in service delivery. Replication is carried out in the Institutional Support and Replication subprogramme, which has a total budget of R15.6 million over the medium term.

For the 2021/22 financial year, the CPSI’s budget allocation was R41.4 million. The centre’s expenditure is set to increase at an average annual rate of 4.6%, from R41.5 million in 2021/22 to R47.4 million in 2024/25. Compensation of employees is the largest spending area, accounting for 54.6% (R75.5 million) of the department’s total budget, increasing at an average annual rate of 5.4%, from R22.2 million in 2021/22 to R26 million in 2024/25.

National School of Government (NSG)

The Public Service is at the coalface of government. Lack of professionalism does not only impact service delivery, it also dents public confidence. Advancing honesty, ethics and integrity in the Public Service is critical if government is to build a capable state. Through the NSG, government continues to roll out courses and training programmes for its officials, from entry level to senior management and the Executive.

The NSG responds to its mandate by developing relevant training and development programmes for delivery to 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 institutions. The school uses its trading account as a delivery vehicle for its core output.

Over the medium term, the department will continue to focus on providing education and training to public servants and public representatives in the three spheres of government, state-owned entities and other organs of state by increasing the number of virtual and online learning and training programmes it conducts and implementing ICT projects to support this.

The department plans to increase its online training programmes from 36 in 2021/22 to 44 in 2024/25. To accommodate this, the department has had to increase its investment in ICT and aims to implement 6 ICT projects over the period ahead, including the acquisition of new ICT infrastructure and upgrading the e-learning management system. This is intended to ensure that the department also increases the number of learners accessing compulsory and demand-led training, education and development programmes. These activities will be carried out in the Administration programme, allocations to which are expected to increase at an average annual rate of 1.9%, from R110.9 million in 2021/22 to R117.3 million in 2024/25.

For the 2021/22 financial year, the NSG was allocated R214.3. Total expenditure is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 3.2%, from R214.3 million in 2021/22 to R235.6 million in 2024/25. Transfers and subsidies from the Public Sector Organisational and Staff Development programme to the school’s training trading account constitute 49.9% (R347.8 million) of the department’s budget over the medium term. Compensation of employees comprises an estimated 26.6% (R181.1 million) of total expenditure over the period ahead.

NSG Training Trading Account

The NSG Training Trading Account carries out its expanded mandate of building capacity in all spheres of government, state-owned entities and organs of state through its training trading account. Over the medium term, the entity will focus on increasing the number of learners educated, trained and developed through compulsory and demand‐led courses or programmes; and increasing the number of online education, training and development interventions conducted.

Accordingly, the number of learners educated, trained and developed per year is expected to increase from 40 460 in 2021/22 to 42 460 in 2024/25, while the number of online learning education, training and development interventions per year is expected to increase from 36 in 2021/22 to 46 in 2024/25.

Expenditure is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 2.9%, from R210.4 million in 2021/22 to R229.5 million in 2024/25, with compensation of employees accounting for an estimated 48.8% (R323 million) of this spending. Revenue is expected to increase in line with expenditure.

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 2021 PSM celebrations took place within the context of the continued fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and on-going efforts to build back stronger and better. It was commemorated under the theme: “The Year of Charlotte Maxeke – building the capacity of the State through a resilient workforce that responds to the coronavirus pandemic”.

The theme sought to reinforce government’s commitment to continue serving the public despite an ever-changing service delivery environment shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic and other external forces. The Constitution demands that the Public Service, amongst others, maintains and promotes a high standard of professional ethics; promotes efficient, economic and effective use of resources; and is accountable for its actions.

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 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 2021/22