Manuel's plan cuts into cadre deployment policy
THE National Planning Commission wants to strip cabinet ministers of powers to appoint senior officials in their departments.
The NPC has also slammed the manner in which the government appoints directors-general of departments, saying the current practice "blurs the lines of accountability".
In its national development plan 2030, titled Our Future - Make it Work, which was tabled and presented to President Jacob Zuma in Parliament yesterday by National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel, the NPC tore into government's cadre deployment policy though it did not mention it by name.
"In South Africa the current approach to appointments blurs the lines of accountability. The requirement for cabinet to approve the appointment of heads of departments makes it unclear whether they are accountable to their minister, to the cabinet or the ruling party," says a section of chapter 13 of the NDP.
The plan also criticises the powers cabinet ministers have to appoint senior officials working directly under D-Gs.
In terms of the current practice, ministers have the prerogative to choose their own deputy directors-general with cabinet's concurrence, while the cabinet approves the appointment of D-Gs.
There have been concerns in government circles that some D-D-Gs, who enjoy close relationships with their ministers,I were undermining their D-Gs, while some D-Gs have had frosty relations with their ministers.
The cadre deployment policy, which has been blamed for deteriorating service delivery, was criticised by ANC delegates at the party's national policy conference in Midrand in June where the party revealed that it would start deploying educated and well-trained people to senior positions in government.
The NPC has proposed that:
- The role of the public service commission in recruiting senior government staff be strengthened;
- A hybrid approach to top appointments be adopted to allow "the reconciliation of administrative and political priorities";
- An administrative head of the entire public service be set up to manage "the career progression of heads of departments, including their performance assessments and disciplinary procedures"; and
- Give senior officials "full authority" to appoint staff in their departments.
"We seek a professional civil service which can weather changes in political administrations," Manuel said.
Turning to the economy and job creation, the document contains recommendation on how to tackle the economy over the next 20 years.
Crucial proposals on the economy and employment included raising exports, while taking steps to prevent excessive over-valuation of the currency.
The 484-page document also calls for improving skills development, and breaking disincentives to hiring young people.
It also focuses on strengthening the social wage to raise the living standards of the unemployed and those with lower-paying jobs.
Political parties broadly welcomed the plan even though most of them said that they doubted the government's ability to implement it.