Public Service Commission Logo

Sometimes people say “we know that there is a Public Service Commission, but why is it there? What does it do?” These are good questions, and we hope to help you in answering those questions. In this article, we intend to clarify the law that establishes the Public Service Commission, and what that law says in relation to what the Commission is established to do.

We shall give some details about the functions that the Commission carries out in line with that law in Zimbabwe, and about the way the Commission is organised to make it possible for those functions to be carried out. Finally, we shall introduce some of the people who are responsible for making sure that the Commission does the work expected of it in a manner that enables the Government ministries to deliver services which the public expects in the best way possible.

What the law says about the Commission

As we all know, the Government of Zimbabwe is made up of three separate branches, namely the Executive (the Presidency, ministries, departments and agencies), Parliament (the National Assembly and the Senate) and the Judiciary (judges and magistrates who interpret and apply the law). The Commission, while not a Government ministry, differs from independent Commissions in that it is an arm of the Executive, created in terms of Section 202 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe amendment (no 20) Act 2013.

This section provides for the establishment of the Civil Service Commission, which is also referred to as the Public Service Commission. Section 202 states that “There is a Civil Service Commission consisting of a chairperson and deputy chairperson; and a minimum of two and a maximum of five other members; appointed by the President.”

Section 199 of the Constitution provides that there is a single Civil Service, which is responsible for the administration of Zimbabwe. An Act of Parliament must provide for the organisation, structure, management, regulation, discipline and, subject to section 203, the conditions of service of members of the Civil Service. This Act is the Public Service Act {Chapter 16:04}.

What the Public Service Commission does

The Public Service Commission is responsible for coming up with structures that enable Government ministries to deliver services to the public. The Commission must also provide qualified people who have the ability and skills to deliver those services.

The coming in of President Emmerson Mnangagwa after the November 2017 Military Coup, he promised to take a new direction that required all citizens, and public servants in particular, to work tirelessly, purposefully and productively to create a high level of well-being and prosperity in the country. Vision 2030, which was pronounced by President Mnangagwa, seeks to point all of us to a new era of better livelihoods for all citizens, whether they live in villages or in cities. Zimbabwe must become an upper middle-income society, with an average annual income of over $4 000 per citizen (Gross National Income (GNI) per capita), by the year 2030.

This means that all Government ministries must be assisted with structures that make it possible for them to facilitate the attainment of the National Vision in the sectors where they have responsibilities, and with personnel who have the capacity and commitment to deliver the services that are required. For that reason, the Commission spends a considerable amount of time discussing with permanent secretaries the best ways to adjust or strengthen the structure and staffing of their ministries. This is sometimes referred to as organisational design.

Sometimes there is a need to create new posts to address new areas. There is also the continuous need to replace civil servants who retire, resign or pass on. It is the responsibility of the Public Service Commission to recruit and deploy personnel to serve in Government ministries. In doing this, the Commission often advertises vacant positions in the press, giving clear descriptions of the jobs being advertised. Those who apply for the positions and have the required qualifications and experience are then interviewed, and successful candidates are placed in ministries.

From time to time, civil servants request to be transferred from one ministry to another. It can be decided that a civil servant has served long enough in one ministry or department, and must move to a different one. All transfers are the responsibility of the Commission, and the same is true for promotions. Sadly, there are also times when a civil servant might deserve to be dismissed or disciplined, an unpleasant responsibility which falls to the Commission.

On the more positive side, the Commission is responsible for training, developing and rewarding staff. Through its 13 training institutes, which are being brought together as the Public Service Academy, the Commission provides courses that equip civil servants for the jobs they have to do. The Commission also looks for suitable courses that are offered by friendly countries and selects people from different ministries to attend such courses. It also approves study leave for personnel who choose to pursue other studies that are relevant to their work.

Through the Salary Service Bureau, the Commission pays the salaries of civil servants and other Government workers. It administers other rewards and benefits of a non-monetary kind, such as duty free arrangements for civil servants who import vehicles for their own use. The Public Service Commission provides buses to transport civil servants to and from work at an affordable cost.

Together with the Office of the President and Cabinet, and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in what is called the Tripartite at the centre of Government, the Public Service Commission is helping to drive the transformation of delivery and ethical culture in Government.[1]


  1. [1], The Sunday Mail, Published: 6 March, 2021, Accessed: 9 March, 2021