n Journal of Public Administration - Confronting management dilemmas : the introduction of single public service legislation in South Africa

Volume 43, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



This article examines provisions in the draft legislation to introduce a single public service in South Africa. It will argue that critical commentary citing the proposed legislation's centralising tendencies are reflective of tensions that have been described in the literature on New Public Management. This tension is created on the one hand by instituting measures that delegate greater authority and discretion to public service managers over human resources and organisational conduct, whilst concurrently introducing centrally determined measures to ensure that managers are held accountable. With this in mind, this article will argue that the human resource management reforms introduced in the single public service legislation amounts to a dilemma of sorts, where the theoretical possibility is created of bureaucratic constraints, necessitated by accountability needs, being levied in conjunction with the increased authority delegated to line department managers over Human Resource Management (HRM) and related organsational matters. This article will indicate that this management dilemma extends to how the legislation will need to confront the problem of management vacancies in the South African public service. Overall these observations initiate real avenues for carrying out new empirical research on the evolution of public sector reform in South Africa.

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