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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Chapter 10 - Public Administration

Basic values and principles governing public administration

195. (1) Public administration must be governed by the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution, including the following principles:

(2) The above principles apply to

(3) National legislation must ensure the promotion of the values and principles listed in subsection (1).

(4) The appointment in public administration of a number of persons on policy considerations is not precluded, but national legislation must regulate these appointments in the public service.

(5) Legislation regulating public administration may differentiate between different sectors, administrations or institutions.

(6) The nature and functions of different sectors, administrations or institutions of public administration are relevant factors to be taken into account in legislation regulating public administration.

Public Service Commission

196. (1) There is a single Public Service Commission for the Republic.

(2) The Commission is independent and must be impartial, and must exercise its powers and perform its functions without fear, favour or prejudice in the interest of the maintenance of effective and efficient public administration and a high standard of professional ethics in the public service. The Commission must be regulated by national legislation.

(3) Other organs of state, through legislative and other measures, must assist and protect the Commission to ensure the independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness of the Commission. No person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of the Commission.

(4) The powers and functions of the Commission are -

i     to investigate and evaluate the application of personnel and public administration practices, and to report to the relevant executive authority and legislature;

ii     to investigate grievances of employees in the public service concerning official acts or omissions, and recommend appropriate remedies;

iii     to monitor and investigate adherence to applicable procedures in the public service; and

iv     to advise national and provincial organs of state regarding personnel practices in the public service, including those relating to the recruitment, appointment, transfer, discharge and other aspects of the careers of employees in the public service.

(5) The Commission is accountable to the National Assembly.

(6) The Commission must report at least once a year in terms of subsection (4)(e)

(7) The Commission has the following 14 commissioners appointed by the President:

(8)

i     recommended by a committee of the National Assembly that is proportionally composed of members of all parties represented in the Assembly; and

ii     approved by the Assembly by a resolution adopted with a supporting vote of a majority of its members.

i     recommended by a committee of the provincial legislature that is proportionally composed of members of all parties represented in the legislature; and

ii     approved by the legislature by a resolution adopted with a supporting vote of a majority of its members.

(9) An Act of Parliament must regulate the procedure for the appointment of commissioners.

(10) A commissioner is appointed for a term of five years, which is renewable for one additional term only, and must be a woman or a man who is

(11) A commissioner may be removed from office only on

(12) The President must remove the relevant commissioner from office upon

(13) Commissioners referred to in subsection (7)(b) may exercise the powers and perform the functions of the Commission in their provinces as prescribed by national legislation.

Public Service

197. (1) Within public administration there is a public service for the Republic, which must function, and be structured, in terms of national legislation, and which must loyally execute the lawful policies of the government of the day.

(2) The terms and conditions of employment in the public service must be regulated by national legislation. Employees are entitled to a fair pension as regulated by national legislation.

(3) No employee of the public service may be favoured or prejudiced only because that person supports a particular political party or cause.

(4) Provincial governments are responsible for the recruitment, appointment, promotion, transfer and dismissal of members of the public service in their administrations within a framework of uniform norms and standards applying to the public service.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.