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PARI, the Public Service Accountability Monitor, the Ethics Institute, and Corruption Watch have made a joint submission to Parliament on the Public Service Amendment Bill. The Bill is currently before the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration. We welcome the Bill’s intention to provide clarity on important definitions in the Act, including the provisions regarding prohibitions against public sector employees conducting business with organs of state. As we argue in the submission, however, these clauses could still be strengthened.

We also note that the original intention of the Public Administration Management Act (PAMA) was to provide for a single public service in South Africa. As the memo to the Bill explains, this vision was not fully realised in PAMA, and the ambitions of the Act were scaled back. The concept of a single public service, and its limits and opportunities within the framework of the Constitution, is a topic of importance in relation to developing an effective public administration in South Africa. We would strongly support a national conversation on this theme – in which this concept is actively debated, refined, and proposals made for how this might be operationalised.