Government’s ever-increasing salary bill — ‘ghosts’ must go

2012-10-26 00:00

FINANCE Minister Pravin Gordhan said it’s likely the state is employing “ghosts”, who should go, so that the country could save money on its ever-increasing salary bill.

Speaking ahead of tabling his medium-term budget policy statement in parliament yesterday, Gordhan said Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and he would establish whether there were “still ghosts in the public service” and weed them out. “There are a number of surplus staff in public service who are not deployed to work.”

He said this as an extra R5,48 billion had to be set aside in his adjustments budget for a “higher than expected personnel remuneration increase cost”, due to above-inflation increases given to civil servants earlier this year.

Gordhan said cuts would be made in the salary budget by looking at overtime, “notches [higher job grades] granted without purpose”, and whether there were too many administrators and not enough frontline staff in the Health Department.

He said the upside of the salary negotiations was that the increases in public servants’ salaries was fixed for the next two years, which meant “at least we now have certainty going forward”.

Gordhan said the effect the recently mooted freezing of government salaries would have on tax income had not been calculated yet. He suggested the project could be scrapped if the costs proved too high. He said the team of business, government and labour leaders which gathered last week to talk about the economy and the salary freezes would “come up with the calculations”.

Gordhan said the government would have to decide “whether we want to take that knock in [tax] revenue at the time”.

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