Peter Kilfoyle, Minister for Public Service at the Cabinet Office is sharing new thinking about modernising UK public services with Dr Zola Skweyiya, South African Minister of Public Service and Administration. His programme includes a visit to the South African Management Development Institute which has the lead role on public service training in South Africa.The visit is part of a long standing export of UK public service expertise to South Africa. Nelson Mandela approached the then British Prime Minister in 1990 and asked for technical assistance in preparing for the transformation of the Apartheid Civil Service. The Civil Service College was invited to undertake much of this work and between 1991 and 1994 undertook training and development activities for about 75 of the ANC’s most senior officials. This work, funded by the ODA (now DFID) took place both in South Africa and in Europe and helped those who had been assigned to work on the transformation to prepare both themselves and their strategy.
Following the elections in April 1994 many of the original trainees took up senior positions in the new Government and became Ministers, Ambassadors, Police Commissioners, Army Generals and Directors General in national public service ministries. They were keen to see the links with the College continue and since 1994 the College has been working on a number of partnership ventures in South Africa.