Chapter 10

Public administration

This chapter sets out the principles which govern the public administration and people who are employed by the state. It also sets out the principles and framework within which the public administration must operate in order to deliver government services to the people.

The government cannot hope to realise the vision set out in the Constitution, or deliver the services embodied in chapter 2 of the Constitution, such as housing, education and health without an effective public administration.

The public service must be structured and function in terms of national legislation and must effectively and efficiently execute the lawful policies of the government. Section 195 of the Constitution states that the public administration must be governed by the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution, including the following principles: 

    1. A high standard of professional ethics must be promoted and maintained.
    2. Efficient, economic and effective use of resources must be promoted.
    3. Public administration must be development-oriented.
    4. Services must be provided impartially, fairly, equitably and without bias.
    5. People’s needs must be responded to, and the public must be encouraged to participate in policy-making.
    6. Public administration must be accountable.
    7. Transparency must be fostered by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information.
    8. Good human-resource management and career-development practices, to maximise human potential, must be cultivated.
    9. Public administration must be broadly representative of the South African people, with employment and personnel management practices based on ability, objectivity, fairness, and the need to redress the imbalances of the past to achieve broad representation.


Audio Visual

President Mandela gives his State of the Nation address in Parliament. Mandela ends his address with the words, “Let us all get down to work”.

“We must construct that people-centred society of freedom in such a manner that it guarantees the political and the human rights of all our citizens.”– President Mandela, extract from State of the Nation Address, 24 May 1994

President Nelson Mandela announces his cabinet. It includes members of the African National Congress, National Party and Inkatha Freedom Party.

“There was pride in serving in the first democratic government in South Africa, and then the additional pride of serving under the iconic leadership of Nelson Mandela … [He] represented the hopes of not just our country, but of oppressed, marginalised and the poor in the world.”– Jay Naidoo, then Minister of RDP housing
“We place our vision of a new constitutional order for South Africa on the table not as conquerors, prescribing to the conquered. We speak as fellow citizens to heal the wounds of the past with the intent of constructing a new order based on justice for all.”– President Nelson Mandela, 10 May 1994