Kimberley - The Public Servants Association (PSA) has estimated that 5 000 civil servants in the Northern Cape stand to lose their jobs following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that he will tighten the belt on public spending by reducing perks, freezing wage increases and curbing wasteful expenditure.
This follows a review of the ministerial handbook that has outlined cost-containment measures on government benefits.
PSA provincial manager Steve Ledibane said on Wednesday that there were plans to reduce the public service sector by about 30 000 jobs across the country.
“The Northern Cape has an unemployment rate of 29.4 percent while it has the lowest population of 1.2 million people. Even the loss of 100 jobs would have a dire effect on impoverished families. Voluntary retrenchments will first be offered to personnel. While this will save money . . . it will come at the cost of losing officials with skills and experience. This will result in a brain drain and skills deficit. How are public servants expected to keep up with inflation without salary increases?”
Ledibane added that while those who chose to take voluntary packages were promised that they would not be penalised by tax, they would ultimately be punished by the current economic crisis.
“The very same people, who have not reached pensionable age, will have to become recipients of social grants, that in turn will place more pressure on the public purse. The economic outlook is very bleak.”
He indicated that along with looming job cuts, allowances and benefits would be further reduced.
Ledibane stated that the threshold for petrol allowance claims, that came into effect as from March 2018, is 12 000 kilometres which is reimbursed at R3.61 per kilometre. “This means that even if public servants make use of their own vehicles, they will not be able to claim for tax purposes.”
He pointed out that provincial government employed less than 27 000 officials across 13 departments. “There are a number of vacant funded posts that have not been filled. This is affecting service delivery. The main reason for the high unemployment rate in the Northern Cape is because job seekers from outside the Province are being given jobs that do not require specialised skills.”
Ledibane was concerned that the majority of government employees who would be affected by job losses would be working-class officials who would be left without an income to take care of their families.
“Despite intentions to reduce his Cabinet, President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed two deputy ministers in some portfolios along with two director generals,” he pointed out.
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