Lindiwe Sisulu`s decision to launch a new school of government, aimed at providing compulsory training for public servants, is noteworthy, but her critics have questioned why millions will be spent to train officials for something they were hired to do.
Sisulu believes the move is a positive step towards building a capable state and said that “successful companies have a policy of lifelong learning”. She admitted this year that, although the government paid its employees “very well, there was a need to manage them better”.
Sisulu has had a fractious relationship with unions. She blamed the South African Democratic Teachers` Union for delaying the appointment of the presidential remuneration commission. The commission, which has a budget of R25-million, is to be headed by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, but has yet to get off the ground.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers` Union has complained about outstanding issues such as the housing scheme and minimum service level agreements.
Most support functions are still outsourced and there is a still a reliance on expensive consultants.
Sisulu has pushed hard for the Public Administration Management Bill, which aims to bar government officials from doing business with the government.
She is finalising the review of the handbook for members of the executive and presiding officers, a move likely to see Cabinet ministers giving up their luxury cars and credit cards, and downgrading their hotel rooms.