Home Opinion and Features Public Service Commission slams govt as citizen satisfaction nosedives

Public Service Commission slams govt as citizen satisfaction nosedives

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The Public Service Commission has slammed the government, including President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office, for being unresponsive in resolving some of South Africans’ most pressing needs.

The PSC found that the overall level of citizen satisfaction declined in most services provided by the government. Picture: Steven Naidoo, Independent Newspapers

THE PUBLIC Service Commission (PSC) has slammed the government, including President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office, for being unresponsive in resolving some of South Africans’ most pressing needs.

In its report on the performance of national departments based on the principle that peoples’ needs must be responded to, the commission found that the overall level of citizen satisfaction declined in most services provided by the government.

The report, dated December 2023, also states that the presidential hotline suggests that the government was unresponsive to the needs of the citizens it serves, specifically on social benefits during the second quarter of the current financial year (2023/24).

The PSC describes the presidential hotline as an apex complaints management system utilised to ensure that the government responds efficiently and effectively to the complaints, enquiries and suggestions made by citizens, which then equates to responsiveness.

”Though there is a higher feedback rate of NACH (National Anti-Corruption Hotline) cases to the PSC, which creates an impression that departments are responsive towards corruption, local government is said to be the least trusted sphere of government as compared to the other spheres of government,” reads the report.

The commission further indicated that as the feedback rate of NACH cases to the PSC increases, there is an assumption that departments are responsive and that assertions of non-responsiveness can be made for provinces with lower feedback rates and closure rates that are below 80% – North West, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal – that also notes are generally riddled with service delivery challenges.

”Statistics SA shows that local government is the least trusted sphere of government in seven of nine provinces with exception to Gauteng and Western Cape,” the PSC said.

It warned that lower levels of trust in government services may be an indication that the state is not responsive to the needs of the public.

The level of citizens’ satisfaction declined in most services such as public housing, policing, courts, home affairs, social security services, public schools, SA Revenue Service, and institutions of higher learning, according to Statistics SA.

In addition, the PSC stated that though the resolved cases are only 19% of the total, the presidency reported that, generally, the turnaround time improved from two months to 24 hours in the second quarter.

”However, the resolution rate remains low considering that there are carried over cases from quarter one as well as backlog of the Presidency e-mail inbox.

This would then suggest that there is no sufficient capacity to ensure a higher resolution rate, which would then further suggest that the government is unresponsive to the needs of the citizens it serves, specifically on social benefits during the second quarter,” the PSC explained.

The commission said the Presidency reported that a total of 3,513 complaints were logged during the second quarter of the 2023/24 for both provincial and national departments.

The Department of Employment and Labour had the most complaints with 1,335, and these related to social benefits.

Included in the 3,513 complaints are only 681, or 19%, that have been resolved thus far nationally.

”People’s needs refer to government services, which are further entrenched in the (Bill of Rights) and therefore should be treated as rights, not privileges,” the PSC said.

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