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03 June 2019

Hospersa has criticised Government’s plans to cut costs in the public sector by cutting the wage bill.  Instead, the Union has called on Government to address the critical levels of staff shortages in the public sector.  The Union has also cautioned the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) from abusing the retirement savings of public servants by constantly bailing out poorly run State-Owned Enterprises (SOE’s).

According to reports, newly appointed Public Service and Administration (DPSA) Minister Senzo Mchunu, is forging ahead with Government’s plans of trimming the public service and cutting the public service wage bill.  While the Minister has stated that he will work with the Unions, Hospersa has joined the chorus in slamming any plans of possible retrenchments in the public sector.

“We will not allow our members in the public sector to lose their jobs as a result of cutting the wage bill,” said Hospersa Public Relations Officer Kevin Halama.  “The challenges in the public sector cannot be solved by retrenching employees.  It is the deep-rooted corruption and maladministration that has been allowed to run public service departments to their knees and not the working women and men who pride themselves as public servants,” said Halama.

“In fact, staff shortages in the public sector has been normalised especially in the Department of Health (DoH) where health workers are forced to work in critically under-staffed facilities,” said Halama.  “To boost the delivery of public health care, government needs to fill the vacant funded posts as well provide permanent employment to Community Health Workers.  Therefore, it would be disingenuous to plan for retrenchments when departments like the DoH are already buckling under pressure due to staff shortages,” argued Halama.

“The so-called new dawn should first cut down on the bloated cabinet where there are many unnecessary Deputy Ministers.  It should also prioritise fiscal discipline and root out corruption in SOE’s where government bail-outs have become the norm,” added Halama.

In recent months the PIC [which manages the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF)] has had cash-strapped government entities knocking on its doors for financial relief.  The most noticeable of these entities is the struggling power utility, Eskom.  It is reported that the PIC holds 16,8% of Eskom’s outstanding debt and in February last year, it was forced to issue a R5 billion bail-out to Eskom to keep the power utility afloat.

“We have seen the reported abuse of the PIC to bail-out struggling SOE’s” said Halama.  “For the majority of employees in the public service, the pension fund is their only investment for the future. To use the fund to bail-out SOE’s especially those plagued with alleged corruption and maladministration is reckless,” argued Halama.

“As a union with thousands of members in the public sector, we demand that the PIC safeguards our members’ savings to use as and when they are ready to go on retirement.  The PIC should perform its core function, which is investment and not perform Houdini acts for cash-strapped government entities riddled with maladministration and corruption,” concluded Halama. 



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 For interviews please contact Hospersa Public Relations Officer Kevin Halama – 060-546-6353

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