Public service keeps posts empty rather than appoint whites – SAIRR

2014-06-26 11:38

Public service managers are being encouraged to keep posts vacant rather than fill them with whites, an SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) consultant said in a newsletter this week.

“In the name of transformation, managers in the public service have actually been incentivised to keep whites out for racial and ideological reasons. Better to leave a vacancy unfilled than to put a white person into it,” SAIRR consultant John Kane-Berman said in the newsletter, published on Tuesday.

He believed this set up newly qualified young black recruits for failure and their failures in turn hurt countless numbers of people dependent on the public service.

He said this was a “lose-lose-lose situation” and “madness”.

The incentives included, among other things, performance bonuses and promotion prospects, he said today.

In the newsletter, Kane-Berman was responding to the death of three babies in Bloemhof, North West, due to water contamination caused by a sewage spill.

Earlier this month, the SAIRR reportedly blamed affirmative action for the deaths, and said the policy should be scrapped.

In his newsletter, Kane-Berman said the majority of “victims” of affirmative action were the “black poor”.

“But affirmative action is one of those holy cows, discussion of which is inhibited by the dictates of political correctness.”

He questioned why so many government sectors were having problems.

“The reasons have a great deal to do with the criteria for appointment of staff at the national, provincial and local levels ... Affirmative action and cadre deployment mean that appointments to government jobs are very often made on grounds of race and/or political allegiance to the ruling party.”

He said skills and experience were a subordinate criteria, and many of those appointed to posts were unqualified.

“Posts are sometimes left vacant if the only person available to fill them is white. It further means that experienced people who happen to be white get out of the public service because they are denied promotion or encouraged to take early retirement.”

Quoting from a report by the Commission for Employment Equity, he said Africans presently held 69% of top management jobs in the government.

“But Africans within the 35 to 64 age cohort from which one would expect top managers to be drawn make up only 36% of the economically active population, while only 4.1% of over 20s have post-school training.

“This suggests that affirmative action has been rigorously implemented in the public sector regardless of levels of experience or formal qualification.”

He said it was widely recognised that South Africa was plagued by corruption, nepotism, incompetence and lack of accountability.

“A few people are beginning to identify cadre deployment as a problem. Very few people are willing to identify affirmative action as part of the problem,” he said.

“South Africans need to wake up to the tragic results of the policies being implemented in their name.”

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