PUBLIC Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says she will approach the Cabinet over the low compliance rate for performance evaluations of the heads of national and provincial departments.

In reply to a parliamentary question from Democratic Alliance MP Ena van Schalkwyk yesterday, Ms Sisulu said evaluations for the 2011-12 financial year were still in progress and were due to be concluded by July 31.

She said one national director-general and 11 provincial heads of departments had been evaluated. This represented 3% of the 31 national directors-general who qualified for evaluation, and 16% of the 49 heads of departments.

A director-general or head of department qualified for evaluation after they had been in office for a full 12-month cycle within any given financial year.

Ms Sisulu said that in the 2010-11 financial year, 16 national directors-general and 45 provincial department heads qualified for evaluation. However, only two directors-general and nine heads of departments were actually evaluated.

The Public Service Performance Management Policy provides for a five-point rating scale when conducting performance evaluations for senior managers and directorsgeneral and heads of departments.

Ms Sisulu said that in the 2009 -10 financial year a total of 11 directors-general and heads of departments were evaluated.

Of these, one was rated with the best score of five, nine of the group received a score of four, and one was given a three.

"We are acutely aware of the low levels of compliance with regard to the evaluation of directors-general and heads of department.

"I will be approaching Cabinet with a plan to ensure that all qualifying directors-general and heads of department are evaluated," Ms Sisulu said in her reply.

Dr van Schalkwyk described the results of the evaluation process as "pathetic". "I just can't see how they will be able to finish all those evaluations with the deadline being just around the corner."

She said that directors-general, and provincial heads of department, being the most senior public servants, were directly responsible for service delivery.

"If they know they are not going to be evaluated, then they can take chances, knowing they will get away with it."

Dr van Schalkwyk said that while she welcomed Ms Sisulu's comments about a plan being made, she would have to deal with the issue and progress would be closely watched.

Meanwhile, Ms Sisulu is trying to avoid a strike over wages by public service unions. According to the department, her offer of 6,7% exceeded the budget by R8bn.

This year's budget for public sector wage increases was 5%, according to the budget that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivered in February.

vecchiattop@bdfm.co.za