Minister Ayanda Dlodlo spearheads plan to tackle public sector wage bill
Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo is spearheading a process within the public sector to mitigate the impact of the rising public sector wage bill in the context of a constrained fiscus.
The minister outlined details of the initiative during a breakfast briefing on Wednesday ahead of her budget vote speech later this afternoon in Parliament. She said it would ensure that personnel expenditure remained within the budget ceiling of the medium-term expenditure framework.
The initiative will include the development of a comprehensive remuneration strategy that covers the three spheres of government‚ including public entities in the medium term. The organisational structures and whole establishment of the public service will be reviewed and aligned to ensure the optimum utilisation of human resources.
"We are also seized with extensive work to look at the organisational structure of the department. This work will result in a directive that will seek to limit the personnel additional to the structure and this will be done without affecting the operations of the department‚" the minister said.
Also‚ ministers and deputy ministers will be required to strictly adhere to the ministerial handbook regarding the appointment of support staff in their offices. This limits the number of staff to 10 for ministers and six for deputy ministers.
Further measures announced by Dlodlo were the strict management of overtime‚ payment of performance bonuses‚ leave‚ implementation of the occupation specific dispensation and the exiting of employees through voluntary severance packages.
She said that these measures and initiatives would form part of the performance agreements of heads of departments to ensure their implementation.
Another area of concern raised by the minister was government expenditure on information and communication technology (ICT) which in 2016/17 amounted to R36-billion. The key cost drivers in this respect were for consulting and solution implementation services‚ networking costs as well as software licensing.
Dlodlo said she would be announcing measures and interventions across the public service to curb the escalating ICT cost. Directives would be issued to ensure that procurement is rationalised and to encourage the interoperability of all information systems and its management.
The minister expressed confidence in an "amicable outcome" to the public sector wage negotiations currently underway. Government’s latest offer is for a pay increase of 6% to 7% for 2018-19 and consumer price index (CPI) plus 1% to CPI plus 0.5% for the successive two years. Unions have demanded CPI plus 2% for the lowest levels and CPI plus 1% for the highest. Labour has set its CPI calculation at 5.5%.