The Inkatha Freedom Party urged government on Friday to consider creating a school for public servants.
Finance spokesman Narend Singh said this need was underlined by news that national government departments spent R33.5 billion on consultants over three years.
“The excessive use of consultants as evidenced by the report of the auditor general, is a clear indication of a failing public service,” Singh said in a statement.
“Cadre deployment, nepotism, and cronyism must become a thing of the past. Merit must be the only basis upon which public servants are employed into senior positions.”
He said the school would provide prospective government employees with a one-year basic course in public administration before they were deployed.
Deputy Auditor General Kimi Makwetu told reporters on Thursday that eight departments spent 74 percent of this total, or R24.6bn.
The departments chosen from 42 nationally, were: correctional services, defence, environmental affairs, health, police, rural development and land reform, transport, and water affairs.
According to the summarised audit outcomes, the defence department spent the most on consultants, at R10.4bn from 2008/09 to 2010/11.
Singh said he hoped the report was a “wake-up call” for the departments.
“We therefore call upon government to put more focus into specialised training of public servants that are placed in strategic positions, as it is imperative that we have skilled people who are able to perform their allotted tasks,” he said. - Sapa