n Journal of Public Administration - From a separated to a unified public service : the search for seamless delivery of public services in South Africa

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



A developmental state like South Africa requires a capable and effective public service to implement its national development plan. In essence, to achieve its developmental goals, South Africa will have to depend upon the commitment, strength and competence of public servants who must convert the stated developmental goals into coherent programmes.

Currently, the South African government is structured into three spheres; the national, provincial and local. Each of the three spheres derives its public service delivery mandate and competence from the , 1996. Furthermore, in terms of the the public service is comprised of the national and provincial spheres of government, while the local sphere of government remains distinct and independent from the other two. Therefore, this structure has led to a public service delivery by national and provincial spheres on the one hand and the local sphere on the other. Consequently, the , 1996 recognises the interdependence of the three spheres and fosters co-operation among them in the quest to deliver public services.
The single public service envisaged in the commonly known Single Public Service Bill currently before Parliament contains a potential for bridging the organisational gaps associated with the current structure of government and is intended for citizens to benefit from a seamless interface with government machinery. Apart from the service delivery opportunities offered by the unification of the administration in the three spheres of government in a Single Public Service, some challenges remain. The notion of a Single Public Service in ensuring seamless public service delivery in South Africa is critically examined in the article. The objectives of the notion are critically explored as well the opportunities and challenges presented by the unification of the administration in the three spheres of government on public service delivery. The article concludes with recommendations for seamless service delivery.

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