Historical evaluation of the roles of Public Service Commissions in South Africa, 1912-2008
Bain, Edwin Gordon
Nealer, Eric John
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The historical development of public service commissions in South Africa had been a process that formed part of the administration of the country since Unification in 1910. Although public service commissions existed in the former colonies prior to 1910, it was only after the establishment of the Union of South Africa that a central public service commission was established in 1912 for the first time. This central public service commission not only played an important advisory role to the Governor- General, but also in the management of the public service at the time. Its creation in terms of the South Africa Act, 1910 (the Constitution) also formed the basis for the development of successive central and provincial public service commissions in the country and the development of the public service ever since. The article commences with a historical analysis of the pre-democratic public service commissions and continues with such an analysis during the transitional and post-democratic stages. It further explores the nature of the powers and functions of these personnel management institutions as well as the legal prescriptions relevant to such powers and functions. The article concludes with a summary of the salient features of the powers and functions of public service commissions, their roles in the development of the public service during the indicated stages, and (in the case of the post-democratic stage) the Public Service Commission's contribution to upholding the basic values and principles governing public administration in terms of the 1996 Constitution.
- Faculty of Humanities