Mchunu said that Covid-19 has claimed more than 1,000 lives within the public service.
He revealed this on Friday during the launch of the integrated public service month, September, which he said is a month where the public is sensitised of the services delivered by government and when the services are reviewed in order to ensure that quality services are delivered to the citizens.
“As government, we deem it important that the citizens of the country have access to the necessary quality services. We want to highlight the collaborative efforts by all public servants, inclusive of the elected personnel, in the form of members of parliament, councils, the judiciary and the executive within all spheres of government,” Mchunu said.
He said public servants put people first, “followed by the service” and then themselves who have to “render the service”.
The minister called on all public servants to conduct themselves ethically, in line with their professions and in line with section 195 of the country’s Constitution, which states: “A high standard of professional ethics must be promoted and maintained”.
“Similarly, we take this opportunity to call on all public servants, to not only desist against any criminal and corrupt activities but to fight and isolate it and expose anyone who commits such acts. Public service must enhance good governance and not be associated with corruption,” Mchunu said.
The minister said in order to professionalise the public service, the national school of government (the NSG), responsible for strengthening state capacity through education, training and development, is currently providing a number of programmes to public servants, which are tailor-made to upskill and equip public servants.
“Further to this, the cabinet approved two new training programmes on 27 August 2020. The first programme, ‘Economic Governance Spring School for Members of the Executive’, is specifically targeted at ministers, deputy ministers, premiers, mayors, MEC’s and MMC’s. The second programme falls under the ‘Framework for Continuing Leadership Engagements for Heads of Departments’ in their capacity as accounting officers and is a programme which will be offered to accounting officers across all three spheres of government as well as chief executive officers in SOE’s,” he said.
The government has discussed with unions issues such as a danger allowance, the supply of adequate PPE and leave provisions.
“We understand the importance of arriving at solutions and wish to advise that apart from the fiscal constraints, inclusive of budget cuts and deferral of funds to the Covid-19 relief fund, which hamper on government’s ability to provide certain allowances to public servants, there currently is no policy which deals with, amongst others, remuneration of public servants during a pandemic and for that reason, a Disaster Policy Framework will be developed to address these defects. Government will, however, continue its engagements with labour.”
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)