African commissioners urged to promote good governance

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Minister Ayanda Dlodlo has urged African public service commissioners to redouble their efforts to promote good governance and excellence on the African continent. 

Speaking at the fifth General Assembly of the Association of African Public Services Commissions (AAPSCOMs) in Kempton Park, the Public Service and Administration Minister said solutions to challenges facing the continent lie in structures such as AAPSCOMs, has the express purpose of promoting good governance and public service excellence on the continent. 

“I have no doubt in my mind that as experts in public administration, your deliberations during your three-day meeting will without doubt provide solutions to some of the public service challenges that the continent faces. 

“We know that good governance is not easy and tends to become a nebulous concept, as it embraces many concepts of importance. Notions like the struggle against corruption, greater accountability for poor management of public funds and vigilance against human rights abuses can only be attained when there is competent management of a country’s resources and affairs in a manner that is transparent and accountable.  

"Where there is corruption, wastage of public funds, lack of accountability and human rights abuses, development will suffer. If we were to take the argument that effective service delivery is the outcome of good governance, which can best be promoted through sound oversight, we would be on the right track,” Minister Dlodlo said. 

The Association of African Public Services Commissions comprises Public Service Commissions across the African Continent. 

Its primary purpose is to collaborate and share best practice among Public Service Commissions on the continent in order to promote good governance and service delivery. 

Overcoming inefficiency 

The fifth general assembly, which is attended by delegates from Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Uganda and Zambia, convened under the theme ‘Building and strengthening the capacity of the public service commissions to meet the challenges of public administration and service delivery in Africa’. 

Minister Dlodlo further pledged her government’s support and commitment towards the work of the AAPSCOMS and that such bodies need to integrate their work with the initiatives of the African Union. 

“We need to find a way through which we can integrate this important work with other institutions in the African Union such as the APRM [African Peer Review Mechanism] program or the Open Government Program initiatives,” she said. 

This way, the impact of good governance efforts would increase and the role of AAPSCOMS would be more visible in making the public service more accountable, efficient and transparent. 

Minister Dlodlo said delegates should emerge from the general assembly with practical measures that will contribute towards the effectiveness of the public service. 

The Minister said South Africa has similar challenges to those of other African counties. However, she said a critical success factor in the National Development Plan (NDP), Vision 2030, is the existence of a developmental State that is cable of tackling the root causes of poverty, unemployment and inequality across all spheres of government. 

Minister Dlodlo said a number of countries in Africa are also playing an important role in the allocation of funds towards health and education and this is resulting in significant improvements in child mortality, primary enrolment rates and access to life-saving medicines. 

In South Africa, education is an apex priority of government’s pro-poor policy. The South African government took a policy decision to subsidise free higher education for poor and working class undergraduate students. 

“Not only will the policy shift on education assist students from poor backgrounds to achieve tertiary qualifications but it will also enable them to contribute in a meaningful way,” the Minister said. 

The Fifth General Assembly of AAPSCOMS will also be used for the appointment of its office bearers, which are the president and vice presidents. 

South Africa has held the AAPSCOMS presidency through the Public Service Commission since 2009 and will be stepping down at this Fifth General Assembly. –