Critical services remain available to the public

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

All Directors-General (DGs) and Heads of Departments (HODs) have been directed to identify the minimum critical and essential services that must remain available to the public.

This as South Africa prepares for its first government-ordered lockdown, which will get underway at midnight on 26 March 2020. 

Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu on Wednesday outlined his department’s plans to curb the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) at a Governance State Capacity and Institutional Development Cluster media briefing.

Mchunu said the focus of the public service is the continuous provision of critical and essential services for the effective functioning of the public service during the nationwide lockdown, as declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday.

To this effect, Mchunu said the department has issued directives and circulars to ensure that all national departments and provincial administrations deliver critical and essential public services, and for all of them to contribute towards the containment of COVID-19.

He said HODs must put in place plans and measures that will ensure service delivery continuity of critical and essential services. HODs must also consider and approve the institutional capacity of their respective departments for the duration of the state of disaster for COVID-19.

“Critical and essential services must be fully operational and be escalated with redeployed resources from non-critical services to where needed. HODs must consider a rotation system for this group of employees.

“An HOD may consider remote work arrangements with the framework of the department’s service delivery imperatives.

“Employees responsible for the rendering of direct critical and essential services should not be considered for the arrangement of remote work.

“Employees occupying non-critical positions that do not necessitate their presence at the workplace should be considered for a remote work arrangement or alternatively be considered for redeployment to critical services,” Mchunu explained.

Retired and former public servants with the requisite skills, including health professionals and engineers, have also been approached for deployment to critical services, where it is needed.

All HODs must provide staff for critical services including:

  • Payment for service providers and salaries;
  • Human resource support to employees at work and those working remotely, and
  • Budget and planning processes.

The directives determining the provision of critical and essential services required for the effective functioning of the public service during the COVID-19 outbreak and the 21-day lockdown has been approved, and is expected to be published on the DPSA website and social media pages today.

Wake up daily and perform your duties

Meanwhile, Mchunu has urged all public servants, who will be home or working remotely from home during the lockdown, to wake up daily and perform their duties.

“We also call upon public servants to be cautious, as there is an invisible killer lurking amongst us. You can do your bit to slow its passage through the corners of our country by observing all protocols communicated by our government, including the social distancing guidelines and staying at home during this period of 21 days,” Mchunu said.

He further expressed his appreciation to all public servants in the health, education and security sectors, who are on the frontline and all people who have been leading government’s response.

“We thank them most sincerely and urge all of them to march on and serve at all time.” –

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