Minister warns of more protests

Durban - Service delivery protests would continue if people's delivery expectations were not met, Public Service Minister Richard Baloyi warned on Friday.

"The public service must start implementing the programmes otherwise we will remain a public service talk shop whilst our people's delivery expectations are not met and they will continue to protest," he said.

Baloyi was addressing hundreds of union members and government servants during the second day of a three-day public service conference at Durban's Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.

The issue of allegations of corruption and unaccountability, unresponsive elected leaders and officials would also fuel service delivery protests.

Numerous protests

There have been numerous of service delivery protests throughout the country recently. Government buildings and municipal councillors' homes have been destroyed in some of the protests.

Residents of eThekwini Municipality’s Welbedatch informal settlement took to the streets complaining about the government’s failure to provide them with houses.

They were monitored by the police and there were no reports of vandalism.

The conference took place under the theme "positioning the public service towards a development state through effective service delivery".

Baloyi said the public service was a key instrument in the hands of the state to deliver on its objectives.

"We must know where people are and know their needs. We must get our hands dirty. We must become a caring, responsive and an exemplary public service that people can be proud of," he said.

Enhancing delivery

The aim of the summit was to discuss enhancing delivery and ironing out the differences between unions and the government before these led to strikes.

Baloyi called on public servants to expose corruption so public funds would be used for development.

The government was reviewing a section of the Public Service Act on discipline to reduce unreasonably long periods of suspension with full pay and to complete disciplinary processes faster, he said.

"We will approach social partners before the end of March, with a proposal to be considered."

'Abolish government agencies'

Congress of SA Trade Unions president Sdumo Dlamini did not attend the summit.

Cosatu was represented by its deputy president James Tyotyo, who said it strongly believed that government agencies should be abolished.

"Our argument is that while these institutions are not private companies, but they are institutions set up as autonomous structures to provide services on behalf of government," he said.

The Shared Services Agency in Gauteng had been put on hold because of the union’s intervention, he said.

Tyotyo said agencies undermined co-ordination in the government.
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