Mchunu wants to retain top civil servants to boost stability in government
by Siyabonga Mkhwanazi
Johannesburg - Minister of Public Service and Administration Senzo Mchunu has indicated that they will soon submit recommendations to Cabinet about how the government can hang on to its directors-general following a high turnover.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has in the past proposed that they wanted to do away with DGs and heads of departments entering into five-year contracts, but instead be employed permanently to create stability in departments.
Since he took over Ramaphosa has been responsible for appointing DGs in concurrence with the Cabinet.
This is to avoid ministers hiring and firing DGs at any time because of tensions. This was said to create instability. In the past when ministers were appointed into the Cabinet they would axe or suspend DGs.
Mchunu said in a written reply to Parliament, after a question by Mimmy Gondwe of the DA, the turnover rate for DGs and heads of department was 5.7%.
“The quarterly (October 2020 to December 2020) turnover rate is 5.7%.
“Turnover does have an impact on the delivery of services however there when a head of department exits office, an official is appointed in an acting capacity for business continuity.
“The departmental impact is that there is a required transition period in which the acting official needs to be briefed on the deliverables of a department to manage the responsibilities whilst in an acting capacity.
“Regarding mechanisms, research has been undertaken on the turnover of heads of department and includes recommendations on their retention.
“The recommendations are to be presented to Cabinet once finalised,” said Mchunu.
The minister also revealed that the vacancy rate at national level was 9% and in the provinces it was at 12%.
This was for positions across the public service.
The National Treasury has in the past few years been implementing a freeze in positions except for critical posts.
The treasury was also targeting to cut the wage bill by R300 billion in the next three years.
But the unions are up in arms with Cosatu this week saying they would be prepared to go on strike over the wage increases.
This was after the government reneged on the 2018 wage deal, but the unions lost the fight in the Labour Court and have appealed the decision in the Constitutional Court.
The highest court in the land has said it will hear the matter in August, but Cosatu and its affiliates said this will be too late.
The unions have also tabled a CPI plus 4% increase wage demand at the bargaining council.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said Mchunu would engage with the unions in the latest round of wage negotiations for this year.
The unions have said they were not backing down and want an increase.