Covid-19 ill-health leave cost the state R14bn, says Ayanda Dlodlo

Between March 28 2020 and October 31 2021, 881,152 employees used normal sick leave and incapacity leave

12 January 2022 - 13:27
Public service and administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
BREAKING IT DOWN Public service and administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
Image: Moeletsi Mabe

The state has spent more than R14bn on public servants who have used sick and incapacity leave since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

This was revealed by public service and administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo in a written parliamentary response published this week.

Between March 28 2020 and October 31 2021, 881,152 employees used these types of leave.

The minister was responding to DA MP Mimmy Gondwe, who asked about public service employees who had taken leave due to ill health since the pandemic struck and the cost to the state.

“The total cost of the public service in respect of the normal sick leave and incapacity leave for the period in point amounts to R14,346,032,476,” said Dlodlo. 

In terms of departments, the police took the most leave.

She provided a detailed breakdown per province and national department as follows:  

  • In the Eastern Cape provincial administration 61,133 employees took leave at a cost of R778,619,363;  
  • In the Free State 44,132 employees took leave at a cost of R581,716,125;
  • In Gauteng 137,165 staffers took leave at a cost of R1,723,825,933;
  • In KwaZulu-Natal 117,580 staffers took leave at a cost of R1,647,791,837;
  • In Limpopo 68,112 employees took leave at a cost of R894,836,235;
  • In Mpumalanga 35,855 employees took leave at a cost of R398,417,813;
  • In the North West 39,435 employees took leave at a cost of R441,439,119;
  • In Northern Cape 15,330 employees took leave at cost of R212,157,011; and
  • In the Western Cape 66,620 employees took leave at a cost of R830,571,532.

In terms of departments, the police took the most leave.

The breakdown of departments was provided as:

  • Police spent R2,272,756,578, as 151 182 employees took leave;
  • Water and sanitation spent R34,914,884, with 2,734 employees on leave; 
  • Justice and constitutional development spent R249,005,957, with 16,325 employees on leave;
  • Correctional services spent R681,622,732, with 38,509 employees on leave;
  • Higher education and training spent R109,240,434, with 9,805 employees on leave.

Dlodlo said the statistics excluded the department of defence and the State Security Agency (SSA).

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