Government have opened an opportunity for public servants who prefer to go on early retirement without penalties, says Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu during his maiden Budget Vote Speech in Parliament.
“We have opened an opportunity for public servants who prefer to go on early retirement without penalties, to do so in terms of Section 16 (6) of the Public Service Act.
“This in an effort to offer long-serving employees who feel they have contributed to the State and would like to exit the service, but are bound by hefty penalties that are incurred through this process,” he said.
Minister Mchunu said within the Public Service, they also have employees who are no longer well, but who are waiting for the approval of their medical boarding, which is a rigorous one.
He said for the well-being of these employees, this option would also help them a great deal.
“This will also afford government an opportunity to attract new blood into the system that will bring innovative ideas and help in fast-tracking service delivery, thus providing job opportunities for young cadre of employees,” he said.
The Minister said the early retirement option has been available since April this year and the window closes later this year on September 30, 2019 and no employee, further emphasizing that has been coerced to take it.
“It has also been discussed with employees and public sector unions and the response we are receiving is positive.
“Once the window closes, the Department will then be in a position to assess as to how many employees have taken advantage of the offer and how much impact it will have on the fiscus, in terms of cost-cutting measures,” he said.
He further announced the following as other cost cutting measures across the public service space:
- Phasing out of some public entities as part of reconfiguration of Government; and
- Reviewing the implementation of the Policy and Procedure on Incapacity Leave and Ill-health Retirement (PILIR)
“We have a challenge with over indebtedness of our employees and we will be working with national Treasury and other relevant bodies to ensure that we assist public servants to manage their finances better.
“If we do not do that, we are running a risk of having employees who are prone to engaging in corruption or are unproductive due to stress levels as a result of their over indebtedness, leading to a deficit of trust between public servants and their number one clients, the public,” he said.
Payment of Bonuses
Minister Mchunu said the dwindling fiscus has necessitated that government reviews how it can operate with the bare resources at its disposal.
He said part of this review is the reconfiguration of government, as announced by the President.
According to the Minister, the reconfiguration process will not only affect government departments, but even Executive Authorities.
“We are also moving towards a decremental approach to the complete reduction of bonuses in the public service from 1.5% to 0% by 2022 and the implementation of a new dispensation thereafter,” he said.
The Ministerial Handbook
Minister Mchunu said there are areas that are a concern on the Ministerial Handbook and therefore receiving attention.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has assigned three Ministers including Minister Mchunu, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia De Lille to deal with the areas identified.
The three areas of concern are upper limit on purchasing of cars, tariffs on private vehicles and security upgrades.
While the three Ministers may look into other issues apart of the identified concerns, they are however expected to complete the task in two months and report to Cabinet.
Employment opportunities for the youth
The Minister said public service is intervening by removing experience requirements for entry-level posts in the public service space.
This intervention would ensure the achievement of the following goals of government:
- A shift from an isolated training initiative to a long-term approach that focuses on recruiting people with relevant aptitude and developing their skills over the course of their careers within the public service;
- The supply of skills in each department is more directly managed to enable the public service to maintain a sufficient and capable skills base. Each government department will undertake initiatives and agreements that facilitate a continuous availability of talent to undertake the responsibilities of the respective departments; and
- The public service supporting government’s efforts in addressing the challenge of the high rate of youth unemployment in the country.