According to Dr Mbongiseni Buthelezi, executive director at the Public Affairs Research Institute, political influence has hampered the South African public service.
He says government has not done enough to successfully professionalise the public service in South Africa.
We are coming from a history where the civil service is broken up. Going back to apartheid, there were 'Bantustans' and each Bantustan had its own administration. Each of them was highly politicised in many ways. In the Bantustans, we saw the civil servants being very close with the leaders of the Bantustans. When we amalgamated into a unitary South Africa in 1994, we had to bring all of the civil services together into one.— Dr Mbongiseni Buthelezi, Executive director - Public Affairs Research Institute
Dr Buthelezi says many professionals are leaving the public service to work abroad or join the private sector. He argues that public administrators fear speaking up against politicians and calls for a change in organisational culture.
When we talk about politicising, we need to take a greater view and we also need to think where people are educated more and how they are educated.— Dr Mbongiseni Buthelezi, Executive director - Public Affairs Research Institute
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