PRESENTATION TO THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION REPORT ON THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC SERVANTS IN TERMS OF PREVAILING PROVISIONS WHO ARE ELECTED AS MUNICIPAL COUNCILLORS IN THE LIMPOPO AND WESTERN CAPE PROVINCES Date: 7 November 2007
PRESENTATION OVERVIEW • Introduction • Objectives of the investigation • Methodology • Regulatory framework • Statistical overview of Public Servants elected as Municipal Councillors. • Management of Public Servants as Municipal Councillors. • International Perspectives • Recommendations • Conclusion
INTRODUCTION • During recent local government elections in 2006, public servants availed themselves as candidates and were elected as municipal councillors. • If the election of public servants as municipal councillors are not effectively monitored & managed, the State could be faced with the following: • Salaries may be paid to employees who are no longer working for a Department/ Provincial Administration. • The performance of the employee may be negatively affected as he/she may be utilizing official hours to attend to Council duties. • Since fellow employees may feel that there are officials who receive preferential treatment, it might impact negatively on the morale in departments. • Officials serving as councillors could be performing remunerative work outside the Public Service (RWOPS) without permission to do so as required by the regulatory framework (Section 30 of the Public Service Act and the Code of Conduct). • The question arose as to whether public servants are serving as elected public representatives on a part-time or full-time basis. The question is also raised considering the “partisan” responsibilities that go with holding political office.
OBJECTIVES OF THE INVESTIGATION • The investigation aimed to determine whether – • there are public servants who have been elected as municipal councillors in the Limpopo and Western Cape provinces • public servants elected as part-time councillors are managed by departments in terms of section 30(b) of the Public Service Act, 1994 which provides that public servants may not perform remunerated work outside the Public Service without obtaining the approval of the relevant Executing Authority or an officer authorised by the authority • public servants elected as full-time councillors resign from the Public Service • it is ethical for a public servant to serve as an elected public representative and still remain employed within the Public Service • The investigation focused on departments in the Limpopo and Western Cape provinces. • The two provinces have diverse profiles and are able to provide useful baseline information and a good basis for comparative analysis.
METHODOLOGY • Municipalities in the two provinces were informed of the PSC’s investigation, and information of all councillors elected to municipal councils, both at district and local levels were requested. • Information supplied by municipalities were processed and electronic data-lists of district and local municipality were created. • Electronic data-lists were submitted to PERSAL to identify municipal councillors employed in the Public Service during the 2006/07 financial year. • Feedback from PERSAL was analysed and verified. • Departments were requested to verify the employment-status of public servants who were elected as municipal councillors.
STATISTICAL OVERVIEW OF PUBLIC SERVANTS ELECTED AS MUNICIPAL COUNCILLORS • According to the data obtained from the various municipalities, 1 877 persons (public servants and non-public servants) serve on municipal councils. • Of the 1 877 persons, 1 057 are in Limpopo Province and 820 in the Western Cape Province. • Out of the 1 877 persons elected on municipal councils, a disturbingly high number were public servants (i.e. 606 persons). • Based on information obtained from the respective municipalities, of the 606 public servants serving on councils, 456 were employed in departments in the Limpopo and 150 in the Western Cape Provinces. • PERSAL verified that the number of current public servants elected as municipal councillors, subsequent to the municipal elections held in March 2006, is 340. • The difference of 266 between the data supplied by the municipalities (i.e. 606) and that verified by PERSAL could be ascribed to the termination of public servants’ services and other factors.
STATISTICAL OVERVIEW OF PUBLIC SERVANTS ELECTED AS MUNICIPAL COUNCILLORS(continued) • Of the 340 public servants elected as municipal councillors – • 321 are in Limpopo and 19 in the Western Cape • the majority are employed in the Provincial Departments of Education (i.e. 73% in the case of Limpopo & 72% in the Western Cape) • 124 are female and 216 male • the majority (52%) falls in the age group 40 – 49, followed by the age groups 30 – 39 (28%) and 50 -59 (17%) • 85% are employed at the production level, i.e. salary level 1 to 8.
MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC SERVANTS ELECTED AS MUNICIPAL COUNCILLORS • Subsequent to obtaining & analyzing information from departments, the PSC found, amongst others, the following: • Departments verified that all the affected public servants are elected as municipal councillors in a part-time capacity. • Not in all instances were public servants informed by departments’ human resources components of the provisions and conditions that regulate their participation in municipal elections. • Public servants elected as councillors did not in all instances request & obtain approval from the EA/designated official to perform remunerative work outside the Public Service as is required under the Public Service Act, 1994.
MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC SERVANTS ELECTED AS MUNICIPAL COUNCILLORS(continued) • Deficiencies identified in the management of public servants elected as councillors included the fact that not all departments – • continuously monitor the nature and extent of public servants’ duties and responsibilities as councillors • determine whether the nature and extent of public servants’ duties and responsibilities as councillors are in conflict with their official duties; • monitor the impact that public servants’ duties as councillors have on their attendance and performance of work • ensure that public servants serving as municipal councillors perform their duties as councillors outside official hours • require that vacation leave be taken in instances where employees have to perform Council-related duties during official hours of work • In the Office of the Premier and the Department of Agriculture in Limpopo, as well as the departments of Agriculture and Health in the Western Cape, control measures were implemented to manage public servants elected as part-time councillors.
PUBLIC SERVANTS ELECTED AS MUNICIPAL COUNCILLORS: INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES • Lessons that could be drawn from Nigeria, Botswana, India, Canada and Australia include the following in respect of public servants elected as municipal councilors: • The Nigerian Public Service prohibits the participation of public servants in political activities. • In Botswana, if a currently serving official chooses to join politics, he or she is expected to terminate his or her services with the State completely. • The Indian situation is more or less similar to that of Botswana and Nigeria, a person can only be a civil servant or a politician. • The Canadian Public Service has issued Political Activities Regulations. These are quite comprehensive and serve as a good point of reference for the South African Public Service in this regard. These regulations provide for leave without pay for public servants wishing to become candidates in political elections. The Canadian PSC is entrusted with the responsibility to satisfy itself that an employee’s ability to perform his or her duties in a politically impartial manner will not be impaired by becoming a candidate in elections.
PUBLIC SERVANTS ELECTED AS MUNICIPAL COUNCILLORS: INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES • In Australia departments (agencies) in consultation with the employee may determine the appropriate timing of leave or resignation taken into account current duties and the level of political activity if the employee is elected as a councilor. Departments apply discretion in determining to what extent an employee’s impartiality is compromised. • What came out clear from this analysis is that the majority of countries (Nigeria, Botswana, and India) do not allow public servants to hold political office because of the partisan responsibilities attached to political office.
RECOMMENDATIONS • The PSC strongly believes that the practice of continuing to employ public servants elected as part-time councillors should be discontinued considering the partisan responsibilities that go with holding political office. • If the practice is to continue, the management of such public servants will have to be improved in terms of the following problem areas identified: • Departments will have to improve the management of information/data and effective record keeping, including the regular updating and maintenance of accurate records including details of public servants elected as municipal councilors and approvals for remunerated work outside the public service. • Departments should on an annual basis determine and record trends pertaining to, amongst others, the performance of Council-duties by public servants during office hours. Furthermore, the responsibility of determining and recording trends should be allocated to specific officials. • Special care should be taken by departments to ensure that the current prescripts regulating the performance of remunerated work outside the Public Service are adhered to (HoDs to note their responsibilities in this regard allocated to them by the Public Service Act, 1994, and the Public Finance Management Act, 1999.
RECOMMENDATIONS (continued) • The Public Service Act, 1994, should be amended to make it clear that public servants elected as councillors must resign from the Public Service. If this approach is not adopted then the Act should be amended to include – • conditions for the election of public servants as municipal councillors; and • the provisions of the circular minute of the DPSA dealing with the management of public servants elected to municipal councils. • Departments should also develop their own policies, regulating the employment of public servants elected as councillors, providing for - • The responsibility of departments to advise employees of the provisions/conditions that regulate their participation in elections. • The responsibility that a public servant has to inform his/her Department of his/her intention to partake in elections and the impact on his/her hours of attendance. • Should an employee be elected as a full-time Municipal Councillor, he/she must be required to inform the Department accordingly and resign.
RECOMMENDATIONS(continued) • Should an employee be elected as a part-time Municipal Councillor, he/she must be required to inform the Department of his/her election, the nature of the duties & responsibilities as a councillor, etc. • The format and manner in which approval is to be requested & granted to perform remunerative work outside the Public Service. • The responsibility of departments/supervisors to continuously monitor trends.
CONCLUSION • The PSC’s position on the continued employment of public servants elected as municipal councillors is that this should not be allowed. However, if the practice is to be continued it is clear that much more detailed attention must be given to the correct management of public servants elected as part-time municipal councillors. • The findings and recommendations emanating from the investigation should assist departments in managing public servants serving as part-time municipal councillors in an efficient and effective manner. In this regard, adherence to the following factors will be a step in the right direction: • maintenance of accurate statistics • institution of effective record keeping practices • determination of trends • adherence to the regulatory framework