Address of the Minister for the Public Service and Administration adv. Ngoako Ramatlhodi, MP, on the occasion of the 18th Annual Public Sector Trainers Forum conference

Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration, Ms. Ayanda Dlodlo
Honourable Premier of the Northern Cape Province, Ms. Sylvia Lucas
The Executive Mayor, Sol Plaatjie Municipality, Mr. David Molusi

Heads of the MPSA Portfolio 
Senior managers in various government departments
Members from the structures of the HRD Council
Trainers from all nine provinces, national departments; local government, sectoral colleges 
HRD Managers in all government departments and private sector organisations
Academics, researchers and students in HRD and Public Administration,
Business Leaders from different sectors
Leaders of all Organised Labour Federations 
Distinguished guests

As I enter the week since my appointment to this Portfolio, I am glad about the reception I have been receiving from various entities that are part of the Ministry of Public Service and Administration.

During the past few days when I was interacting with various stakeholders in the Public Service, I have always emphasised that the fact that there is a new leadership in the Portfolio, does not necessarily mean there will be a warehouse of changes.  What my predecessors did in this Portfolio, was through a mandate of government and I come with the same approach of continuing to enhance the functioning of public service and administration.

The National Development Plan is very clear on what type of Public Service should South Africa have.  A transformed, effective, well-trained Public Service that is more interested in exceeding the expectations of service delivery from the society.

In order to achieve this ideal Public Service, training of public servants will be one of the major pillars of success.  It was against this background that the National School of Government was established to provide training and development programmes for the public servants.  This training entails empowering and capacitating public servants with the necessary skills to execute their service delivery responsibilities.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Public Sector Trainers’ Forum (PSTF) was established in 1997 as a non- statutory body to advocate Human Resource Development (HRD) within the Public Service.  It was reconfigured in 2008 to make it relevant to the training and development landscape thereby involving the local government sphere, organized labour and the national youth body – hence the name-change from Public Service Trainers’ Forum to the Public Sector Trainers’ Forum.

The Forum is a non-statutory body formed by mutual collaboration of all stakeholders. It is sponsored by the Principal of the National School of Government to whom it becomes accountable.

This 18th Public Sector Trainers Forum conference takes place shortly after the Public Service month is celebrated under the theme of taking the public service to the people.

The theme for this PSTF conference is, “Developing Human Capability for Productivity in the Public Sector” and it is implemented further through considerations that call for productivity through skills development in the public sector; impact-directed human resource development and global trends in leadership and human resource development.  The theme for this conference is mindful of the fact that the growth and development strategies should be supported by the human resource development imperatives.

It is the implementation of these strategies that could indeed move South Africa and the public service forward in terms of skills’ transfer. In order to produce skills that support our expected growth, the public sector should continue to provide education and training opportunities that serve as pillars for our growing economy. The public service academies should contribute to reducing the skills shortages in specific areas of their sectoral involvements.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The National Development Plan envisions the building of a capable developmental state with capable institutions and the capacity to provide relevant and responsive interventions for the benefit of South African citizens. The future requires a state that is capable of playing a developmental and transformative role, with skilled public servants who are committed to the public good and capable of delivering consistently high-quality services to all South Africans. Capacity building occurs in a social environment which brings with it a particular history, traditions and knowledge.

It requires “embeddedness”, with coordinated action by the executive, judiciary, legislative sector, independent constitutional bodies and the public service to create platforms for civic voice and action through integrating and facilitating programmes and the availability of resources for people-led development.

The NDP identifies critical interventions to build a professional public service and consequently a capable state. The anticipation of well-run departments staffed by skilled public servants, who are capable, motivated and ethical has significant implications for public administration education and learning programmes, and the impact they are intended to have on the functioning of the state.

In 2013, parties to the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) committed to a Public Service Charter – a social contract, commitment and agreement between the State and public servants towards improving service delivery, professionalising and encouraging excellence in the public service, facilitating social dialogue among partners, and ensuring an effective, efficient and responsive public service, amongst others.

The State as employer has committed towards creating an enabling environment within the provisions of available resources for public servants to perform their duties, to introduce modern and innovative procedures and systems for the delivery of services, and to maintain a disciplined public service, amongst others.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Critical among the commitments by public servants are the following:

  • Loyally execute the policies of government in the performance of your duties;
  • Serve the public in an unbiased and impartial manner in order to create confidence in the public service;
  • Commit to the optimal development, motivation and utilisation of staff and the promotion of sound labour and interpersonal relations;
  • Accept the responsibility to undergo ongoing training and self-development; and
  • Demonstrate professionalism, competency, excellence, transparency and impartiality in the performance of official duties

The PSTF conferences are important because they bring together expertise across the broader spectrum. The forum itself is of intellectuals, practitioners and labour activists whose interest is to contribute towards the development of skills through “education” and “training”. The forum is a platform for robust engagement that bridges the gap between diagnostic and application skills.

It is a trainer’s forum recognising that the state should continue to “educate” and “train” in order to build a capable and career orientated developmental public service.  It is for this reason that the PSTF conferences are underpinned by the following HRD related strategic objectives:

  • Advance the development, professionalization and growth of HRD practitioners;
  • Contribute to the awareness and adoption of quality standards;
  • Create a platform for discussion, implementation and possible reviews of policy frameworks; and
  • Foster partnership with stakeholders to improve HRD practices.

Whilst the conference engagements are expected to be robust, they should also be results orientated and support evidence based decision making processes. The engagements should promote and facilitate the implementation of government policies in respect of capacity building and development.  They should continue to be purposeful and bring performance improvements through skills transfer and application.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

This forum provides an opportunity for information dissemination and sharing of the best practices because the provinces share their experiences with national government. The National and Provincial government share their expertise with local government, various sector education and training authorities and other role players in the developmental public service activisms.

The inauguration of new members of the Advisory Committee as it appears in the  programme demonstrates that as this PSTF starts, a new team is already being assembled to prepare for 2016 PSTF conference among other activities that are involved in their term of office.  Later in the programme of the conference, there are different awards that are designated for different categories of those that have made significant contribution in various areas of common interest.

I congratulate the Joint Advisory Committee, the Northern Cape PSTF Project Task Team, the Northern Cape Office of the Premier and the entire provincial administration as well as the National School of Government for providing leadership in the realisation of this conference. I furthermore congratulate all the speakers that are lined up to deliver their papers and wish them well in their endeavours.   I thank all the sponsors for partnering with government in the realisation of the objectives of this conference.

Overall, I wish the conference great success and I hope that it proceeds as planned.

I thank you.





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