Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu said the department would open an opportunity for civil servants who preferred to go on early retirement without penalties to do so. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) said on Thursday it was disappointment by the department of public service and administration's intent to cut more than 30 000 jobs.

During his budget vote speech in Parliament, Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu said the department would open an opportunity for civil servants who preferred to go on early retirement without penalties to do so.

These voluntary severance packages are meant to reduce the wage bill by more than R20 billion by letting go 30 000 public servants aged between 55 and 59 over a period of three years.

In a statement, Nehawu opposed the move, saying the government should strengthen the public service by implementing strategies that would enable workers to be more effective and productive. 

"The government should focus on eradicating wasteful, fruitless and irregular expenditure that is taking place in the public sector," it said. 

"This will be more rewarding in that, significant amounts of billions will be saved without having to reduce service delivery, present employment, and future employment in the public sector."

Nehawu said it would ensure that there was proper engagement at the public service coordinating bargaining council on the government's offer regarding voluntary early retirement scheme and that the exercise should not leave critical posts unfilled.

African News Agency/ANA