Policies not followed in ministry appointment: PSC

Thuthukile Zuma. Picture: Vathiswa Ruselo
Thuthukile Zuma. Picture: Vathiswa Ruselo

Departmental policies and procedures are not being used when appointments are made in government ministries, the Public Service Commission said on Wednesday.

"Departmental recruitment and selection policies and procedures are not used when recruiting, selecting and appointing employees who support executive authorities," the PSC said in a study.

"There is a general perception within ministries that departmental policies do not apply in the ministries."

Chapter eight of the ministerial handbook had, in most cases, been interpreted as the recruitment and selection policy used by ministries to employ staff in their offices.

The PSC conducted a study to assess the implementation of the policy framework on the appointment of ministerial staff in national and provincial departments.

The commission found that in most departments the recruitment, selection and appointment of the chief of staff was not in line with the senior management service (SMS) handbook.

"This means that there is no adherence to the processes that need to be followed to recruit and select senior managers in the public service.

"The minimum skills required for the position, that is, management, administrative, liaison and interpersonal relations are not met, resulting in poor functioning of the ministry."

This meant that the deputy director and lower levels were affected by the processes followed at the top levels.

Competencies required were not tested and no due process was followed in most instances.

According to the study, there was a misunderstanding of the core competencies required in ministerial offices.

In July, it was reported that President Jacob Zuma's daughter Thuthukile, 25, was appointed chief of staff at the telecommunications and postal services department, making her the youngest head of a minister's office.

According to the Mail&Guardian, Thuthukile would earn almost R1 million a year. Further, it appeared the post was never advertised.

Thuthukile Zuma reportedly previously worked with Siyabonga Cwele at the State Security Agency.

She is the youngest of the president's four daughters with his former wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former Cabinet minister who is currently African Union Commission chairwoman.

The PSC said it also found in its study that there was non-compliance with prescripts in terms of redeploying employees.

"The challenge is compounded when incompetent employees are transferred to departments on a permanent basis," it said.

Other challenges highlighted in the PSC's report were the relationship between ministers and departments, the reshuffling of ministers, and job security.