NSI’s Executive Director, Ivor Chipkin, Advocates for Public Service Reform on Radio Islam
On February 5th, 2024, Ivor Chipkin, the Executive Director of the New South Institute (NSI), shared his expert insights on the Public Service Amendment Bill during an interview with South Africa’s Radio Islam. This discussion was a significant moment for NSI, aligning with its ongoing efforts to address challenges within the South African government’s organization and public service.
Chipkin’s remarks during the interview underscored the urgency and importance of the Public Service Amendment Bill, describing it as “probably the most important piece of legislation in Parliament since 1994.” He detailed the bill’s objectives to tackle issues of organizational performance, public service, and corruption—problems that, according to him, “largely stem from design issues in the Public Service dating back to 1994.”
In a clear and factual manner, Chipkin emphasized the need for the bill, which seeks to reduce political discretion in the public service by reforming the appointment process and operational decision-making. He noted the uncertain future of the bill in Parliament and called for public support to ensure its passage, stating, “People should inquire about candidates’ stances on public service reform and the Public Service Amendment Bill when thinking about voting.”
Prior to this interview, NSI had already publicly expressed its support for the bill in a press statement released on February 1st. In this statement, Chipkin welcomed the bill’s return to the parliamentary calendar, highlighting its potential to professionalize and modernize the South African public service by reducing political control over appointments and operations. This stance is not new; it reflects NSI’s consistent advocacy for a capable and autonomous public administration, as evidenced by their research and publications.
One such publication, “The Five Cs of the Contemporary Crisis of Government and How to Overcome Them,” published in October 2023, further demonstrates NSI’s commitment to public service reform. This report, co-authored by Chipkin, delves into the core challenges facing South African public administration, including contradiction, confusion, competence, centralisation, and corruption. It advocates for specific reforms aligned with the goals of the Public Service Amendment Bill, such as enhancing the role of the Public Service Commission and implementing a Professionalisation Framework.
Chipkin’s dialogue on Radio Islam, the supportive press statement, and the insights provided in the “Five Cs” report are interconnected elements of NSI’s broader strategy to foster significant administrative reform in South Africa. Through these efforts, NSI aims to contribute to the creation of a more efficient, responsive, and people-centric government, addressing systemic issues that have long hindered service delivery and governance in the country.