The FW de Klerk Foundation strongly supports Cabinet’s adoption of a national framework towards the implementation of professionalisation of the public sector, which would move away from cadre deployment to merit-based appointment.

The framework reads that “cadre deployment practices must be reconsidered for merit-based recruitment and selection in the public sector.” The Zondo Commission report highlighted cadre deployment as a violation of section 195 of the Constitution, which requires that appointments in public administration must be based on “ability, objectivity [and] fairness”, as well as section 196, which establishes the Public Service Commission (PSC) who must exercise its function – public appointments – independently and impartially without “fear, favour or prejudice.”

However, cadre deployment is a fundamental part of the ANC’s plan for National Democratic Revolution. At its 53rd National Conference at Mangaung in 2012, it resolved that “In the new phase of the NDR, deployment should always be preceded by systematic academic, ideological, and ethical training and political preparation. Cadre deployment should be underpinned by a rigorous system of monitoring and evaluation of the performance of cadres deployed and elected to leadership positions.”

This, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo holds, is illegal and unconstitutional – as “there is no mention [in the Constitution] that membership of a political party, and… the recommendation of an ANC deployment committee or any other political party should be a prerequisite for [public] appointment”. Instead, the Constitution explicitly excludes the “prejudice and detriment of any employee for the support of a particular political party or cause”. The Zondo Commission report found that cadre deployment was the key facilitator of inefficiency, non-delivery, patronage, and corruption in the public sector.

The FW de Klerk Foundation supports the Cabinet’s plan to put an end to cadre deployment in the public sector, a move that will promote constitutionality and the rule of law. As highlighted in the framework, merit-based appointment in the public sector is crucial to “building a capable, ethical, and developmental state”.