Jackson Mthembu. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Jackson Mthembu. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

A head of public administration will be appointed by April next year, minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu said on Tuesday. 

Mthembu was responding to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address (Sona), delivered last week. 

Mthembu told MPs that a capable state requires effective co-ordinated institutions with skilled public servants, who are committed to the public good and capable of delivering consistently high-quality services, while prioritising the nation’s developmental objectives. A capable, ethical and developmental state is one of the seven priorities Ramaphosa set during Sona. 

“We will ensure the appointment of the head of public administration as espoused in the national development plan (NDP) 2030, by April 2020 to spearhead the professionalisation of the public service and move to make appointments of heads of department more permanent to promote stability,”  Mthembu said. 

The NDP, which Ramaphosa referred to prominently last week, foresees the creation of an administrative head of the public services with the responsibility of managing the career progression of heads of department.

Mthembu said the government has committed to a robust community engagement and consultation programme, which involves the president and ministers, and which will include ministerial performance agreements, which Ramaphosa referred to when he appointed his cabinet in May. 

He said the national government would ensure that government departments prioritise payment of their debt to each other, to municipalities, to state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and to pay service providers within 30 days. 

Mthembu said they were broadening the monitoring system to include frontline service delivery monitoring, citizen-based monitoring, community-based monitoring, and more effective use of the presidential hotline. 

He said these would be linked to the programme of action and its bi-annual review, which is linked to performance assessments of ministers, deputy ministers, and directors-general.