Mr Dumisani Hlophe, DPSA Acting Deputy Director General, National Labour Relations and Remuneration Management (NLRRM).

The Personnel Expenditure Review (PER) research results were presented to the MINEXCO meeting of the Department of Public Service and Administration. This PER is aimed at ensuring a capable and ethical public service in South Africa and has revealed significant findings and proposed recommendations to address personnel expenditure challenges and ensure government efficiency.

The PER study, which delivered two major outcomes, focuses on evaluating the implementation of previous recommendations and providing a comprehensive report on the HR value chain. The highlight of this review was therefore the terms and conditions of service across various institutions to achieve alignment and improve the efficiency of the public sector.

Despite facing limitations in accessing data from the South African Local Government Bargaining Council and comparable data from OECD countries, the study collected data from other stakeholders, both within and outside the public service. The PERSAL data, a comprehensive system capturing public service personnel information, proved instrumental in analyzing personnel expenditure trends.

One of the significant achievements of the PER study was the extensive consultation process. Over 120 consultations and activities were conducted at national, provincial, local government, and State-Owned Enterprise (SoE) levels. These consultations, comprising structured face-to-face and virtual sessions, allowed stakeholders to contribute their insights and perspectives. These consultations made the PER study the largest qualitative research endeavour, on par with previous studies conducted in 1999, 2006, and 2012.

The presentation revealed several key findings across various sectors. In the health sector, challenges related to remuneration costs, overlaps in salary ranges, and issues with translations were identified. The social development sector faced concerns regarding the definition of qualifications and experience requirements for certain roles. The justice sector highlighted the need to review norms and standards, including other legal posts, and align years of experience for prosecutors and advocates. In the basic education sector, issues such as leave management and high-cost drivers like marking fees and qualification bonuses were addressed.

Based on these findings, comprehensive recommendations for improvement were outlined. These recommendations include reviewing all Occupational Specific Dispensations (OSDs), reducing or removing notch increases, centralizing control of OSD determination, and revising rural allowances and conditions of employment for interns. The proposed changes aim to enhance efficiency, streamline processes, and create a more equitable and ethical public service.

The Personnel Expenditure Review represents a crucial step towards achieving a capable and ethical public service in South Africa. The government aims to foster growth, development, and alignment across public sector institutions by addressing the challenges and implementing the recommended changes.

As the study progresses, further actions will be taken to refine the recommendations and ensure their successful implementation. The government’s commitment to creating a capable and ethical public service remains strong, with the PER study serving as a roadmap for positive change in the nation’s administrative apparatus.

Mr Dumisani Hlophe is the DPSA Acting Deputy Director General, National Labour Relations and Remuneration Management (NLRRM).