JOHANNESBURG - The Public Servants Association on Thursday urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to provide concrete details on how he plans to tackle weak economic growth, corruption and crime, reduce wastage in spending by the government and state-owned enterprises (SOEs), reduce youth unemployment and improve delivery of basic services in his address to parliament on the state of the nation.
The PSA said Ramaphosa must in his speech on Thursday evening also give more details about the planned unbundling of struggling power utility Eskom into three divisions, which he announced earlier this year.
The address to parliament will be Ramaphosa's first major opportunity to outline policy after his African National Congress, in power since 1994, won a fresh mandate to govern in May 8 national elections, albeit with less support than it garnered in 2014.
It comes after data from Statistics South Africa showed the economy contracted by 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019.
"The focus should be on the immediate challenge to improve efficiencies, address technical and operational challenges and improve Eskom’s’ balance sheet," the PSA said in a statement.
"The Public Investment Cooperation (PIC) can no longer be expected to waste public servants pension savings on attempts to rescue Eskom and other ailing SOEs, and the National Treasury cannot continue granting unending guarantees, which put pressure on the fiscus while citizens continue to foot the bill."
It said there was substantial space for savings, from fighting widespread corruption and combating structural inefficiencies in government.
The public sector union expressed concern about the state of government infrastructure, saying workplace conditions for the civil service "remain a death trap while public servants continue to be working in overcrowded prisons, ill-equipped hospitals, clinics, government offices and schools".
It said the process embarked upon by government to grant early retirement packages to employees aged between 55 and 59 years would result in the erosion of skills and expertise in the public service.
- African News Agency (ANA)