PSC’s role limited to public service only, not political appointments

Dr Somadoda Fikeni. Picture: Jacques Naude Independent Newspapers

Dr Somadoda Fikeni. Picture: Jacques Naude Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 19, 2024


The Public Service Commission’s (PSC) scope of work is limited to public services, and once you are public office-bearer the public protector would be the one dealing with such investigations, Public Commissioner Somadoda Fikeni told The Star on Tuesday.

Fikeni said the PSC would investigate deputy director-generals only if they were found flouting the recruitment rules, citing the cadre deployment.

“If it is a political leader, a minister, it is the political parties, we enter nowhere. But what we have done as the PSC was not to respond to political parties.

“All that we have done is to work on public sector reforms after reading Judge Zondo’s commission report and the National Development Plan (NDP) Chapter 13.

“We need to professionalise public service. There is a need to clearly delineate a promise between a political and administrative sphere,” he said.

Fikeni said the professionalisation framework intended to do that, adding that was where the PSC was involved in.

The PSC commissioner said this after reports that the commission had rejected the ANC’s deployment committee’s appointment as unlawful.

The reports sought to suggest that the PSC was in agreement with the DA’s assertions that it was unlawful for an executive authority to consider a recommendation of what it called a “controversial” ANC deployment committee in making an appointment.

According to Fikeni, the reports quoted the Zondo Commission’s report, saying that was not the PSC’s stance on the matter as it was not its mandate to venture into the political space.

“The PSC said that an appointment on the recommendation of the deployment committee would be actionable as an unfair labour practice. Various commentators have concluded that accountability in the public service has been eroded,” the report claimed.

However, Fikeni dismissed these assertions, saying that the recently published Public Administration Management Act approved by Parliament was trying to professionalise the deployment.

“As constitutional bodies, we normally never endorsed these or that position, it was rather unfortunate for the publication to publish that. They never went to the ANC to seek for their comment, but they opted to include us in the political war between them and the DA,” added Fikeni.

The commissioner further said that it would have been proper for Chapter 9 institutions to be protected, adding that once they are discredited, they would have destroyed the entire last point of resort for democracy.

This comes after DA member of Parliament Dr Leon Schreiber had lodged a complaint, requesting a formal investigation into the alleged interference of the Cadre Deployment Committee of the ANC into public service appointments.