SOUTH AFRICA: Early retirements threaten PS


Cutting Public Service numbers through early retirements could undermine service delivery, a South African Parliamentary Committee has been told.

The Standing Committee on Finance was holding public hearings on the National Budget, which has targeted the State’s wage bill with a plan to voluntary retire up to 30,000 employees over the next three years.

However, a submission by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said the public wage bill accounted for 35 per cent of the Government spend “and that is a stable level in line with international norms”.

Deputy Parliamentary Coordinator for Cosatu, Tony Ehrenreich (pictured) said the Public Service headcount was already falling by 1 per cent a year.

“Cosatu is concerned that the effect of reducing staff in the Public Service would have a huge impact on service delivery,” Mr Ehrenreich said.

“While we see staff being cut, we see management positions being increased.”

He said Cosatu wanted to see the size of Cabinet being reduced, as well as the size of Mayoral Committees.

“Cosatu also wants perks for politicians to be cut, and a salary cap or freeze to be placed on the management of state-owned enterprises,” Mr Ehrenreich said.

“The huge salaries some chief executives earn are unacceptable.”

He was backed by the representative from the lobby group Budget Justice Coalition, Daniel McLaren, who said the Government’s “regressive” austerity policy had resulted in declining capacity in Government Departments.

“Government’s intentions to reduce the size of the Civil Service is not to improve efficiency, capacity or performance of Departments but rather to reduce operational costs,” Mr McLaren said.

“This cost-cutting policy has left Provincial Departments understaffed, with consequences for critical Departments like Health and Education.”

He said this was affecting capacity at a time when “we need all hands on deck to deal with various socioeconomic issues”.

Pretoria, 3 March 2019


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Publish date : 2019-03-18 14:24:17

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