Motlanthe tells of strained relations

2012-11-16 13:45
Kgalema Motlanthe. Picture: Sapa

Kgalema Motlanthe. Picture: Sapa

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Pretoria - The relationship between some civil servants and their political principles is strained, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Friday.

"This connection between the political authority and public administration had no historical frame of reference or long-established tradition in our new democracy," Motlanthe said at the University of Pretoria.

"This has in some cases led to strained relations between ministers and director generals, resulting in the high turnover of senior administrative personnel, who take with them invaluable skills needed in public service."

This loss of rare skills put further constraints on the public service's ability to deliver.

Weak relationship

Motlanthe was speaking at the 5th Annual SPMA (School of Public Management and Administration) conference on public administration and management at the University of Pretoria.

The civil service was the administration while the executive was the government.

Motlanthe said the weak relationship between the two eroded accountability and authority.

"We have to repeat the message that resource wastage cannot be tolerated.

"Public servants must understand that they have the duty to provide these services without the expectation of a bribe," he said.

Motlanthe identified a number of other problems within the public service.

These included a lack of leadership and weak managerial capacity, poor organisational design and low staff morale, lack of skills, and poor performance.

Accountability

It was important that institutions such as Parliament, provincial legislatures, and municipal councils - that provided oversight - made sure public resources were allocated and used according to policy priorities.

They also needed to make sure that there was efficient spending and value for money, and that public servants acted responsibly.

Motlanthe said accountability in the public service was as important as the transformation of the human resources management principles that underpinned work in the public service.

It required a mind-set change and understanding by citizens that they had the right to government services.

He said it was government's primary duty to turn the civil service into a responsive, "purring machinery" that served the people.
- SAPA
Read more on:    kgalema motlanthe  |  politics
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