The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) is at the center of Government. It plays a major policy role in establishing norms and standards for the Public Service, which ensure that service-delivery mechanisms, integrated systems and access, HR, institutional development and governance initiatives are responsive to the needs of citizens.
This mandate has evolved over the years from transforming and modernizing teh Public Service through the development and implementation of policies and frameworks, to providing implementation support to ensure compliance, improve service delivery and strengthen monitoring and evaluation.
DPSA is obliged to think about the effect of issues such as administrative reform on the population, broadly, and more specifically focus on the interest groups, namely children, women, youth, and people with disabilities.
As contemplated by Cabinet in December 2002, internship is a public service graduate work experience program targeting unemployed graduates. Internship gives students workplace experience or an opportunity to practice the work skills they have studied and will practice in the future. Internships of different kinds are common in fields including medicine, social work, and engineering.
Internship in the public service is a planned, structured, and managed program that provides work experience for a specific period varying from 3 to 12 months. A designated mentor may support an intern in the public service.
In South Africa, internship is a practical program to assist with the continuous development of people for future appointment in the labor market. It is directed at young people who are completing their studies or who have completed their studies and are unemployed.
DPSA internships target the following groups:
- Unemployed South African graduates from higher education institutions who have completed their degree or diplomas.
- Unemployed graduates who have not been exposed to work experience related to the area of study that they have completed.
The two groups mentioned above are the main intended beneficiaries of the program and may be referred to as “graduate interns”. They must be distinguished from “student interns” who are currently studying at a higher education institution and are required to complete a period of internship in order to meet the requirements of the qualification for which they are studying.
Through carefully selected practical work assignments, internships allow the intern to come to a better understanding of the public service, its value and work ethic, and the opportunities it offers.
Within the DPSA internship program, your role and responsibilities as an intern include:
- Forge conceptual links between theoretical knowledge acquired at tertiary institutions and practical work.
- Feedback between theory and practice in order to reinforce the alignment of the two.
- Negotiate the detail of internship contracts.
- Supply mentors with feedback on the effectiveness of internship programs and mentoring arrangements.
- Enter into contracts with departments.
- Enter into performance agreements with mentors.
- Abide by the rules, regulations and protocols of departments.
- Demonstrate a proactive approach to self-development.
- Participate in the general activities of the component in which internship activities take place.
On completion of the DPSA internship program, you will receive a testimonial letter indicating the program areas that have been completed in line with your internship contract. A certificate will not be provided since the internship is not a formal accredited and standardized qualification. The aim of the internship is to add value to the qualifications of interns so that they can more easily obtain employment.
DPSA Internship Benefits
Throughout the DPSA internship program, you will receive a monthly allowance based on the qualifications that you have obtained. The degree(s) that you have completed is will be converted into “credits earned”, which are used as the basis for calculating the allowance that you will receive. The number of credits for each degree that you have completed will be added together. The most common examples are:
- If you have a first degree (of three years), you will be allocated 160 credits.
- If you have completed a first degree (three years) (360) and an honors degree (129), you will be allocated a total of 480 credits.
- If you have a first degree of four years, you will be allocated 480 credits.
- If you have completed a first degree (360), and honors degree (120) and a master’s degree (180), you will be allocated a total of 660 credits.
The annual allowance that you will receive is calculated based on the credits that you already earned.
You must meet the qualifying criteria to be eligible for the following provisions in the public service:
- Payment for performing overtime duty
- Travel and subsistence
- Night shift allowance
- Danger and special danger allowance
- Standby allowance
- Camping allowance
- Clothing for work
Allowances are payable on a monthly basis. You will be appointed in addition to a department’s approved establishment. You will have to enter appropriate contracts with departments stipulating the monthly allowance and other conditions of service during the term of the internship.
All prescripts regarding annual, sick, special, maternity, family responsibility leave and all other kinds of leave (if any) and related leave prescripts for employees appointed in a full-time capacity under the Public Service Act, 1994, apply to interns.
Besides a monthly allowance, all interns will also receive accommodation which can be subsidized with transport costs, where possible. If government accommodation is not available, interns from rural areas may be paid accommodation allowances to stay in urban areas (R 400).
Applying for DPSA Internships
In order to be eligible to apply for DPSA internships, you must meet the following minimum requirements:
- Be studying towards, or have completed a diploma or degree, or participated in a recognized formal training program at an institution of higher learning that is registered in terms of the Council for Higher Education (CHE) and SAQA, or must be specifically assigned by your organization to acquire knowledge or experience in a discipline relevant to the public sector
- Be committed or have the desire to follow a public service career in a specific strategic occupation that has been identified
- Possess a relevant skill / study area and study record
- Be willing to remain in or be deployed to a rural area
Interns may not register for more than one internship program in a department. To prevent this, all candidates must be registered on PERSAL. In principle an intern may be admitted to another internship in a different department if the structure and the experiential opportunities are different.