Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema has urged Parliament to consider legislation that would allow entities and departments at all spheres of government to insource functions such as cleaning, security and other maintenance-related expenses.
During a National Assembly plenary debate in Parliament on Tuesday, Malema argued that insourcing would build the capacity of state entities to continue functioning and create secure jobs for employees of contractors government is already using. Tempers flared between the EFF and the DA after Malema's address.
The EFF head said abolishing tenders and appointing full-time cleaners, security personnel and maintenance workers would prevent local and provincial government from losing billions to unnecessary contracts.
This would free government from the "chains" of companies like Bosasa, he claimed.
Insourcing security services at government departments and entities was one of the EFF's election campaign promises this year.
Malema said the EFF had used its minority government position in Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality to ensure that 4000 security guards from a contractor were absorbed into permanent jobs there.
Contractors were expensive but offered unstable jobs that paid poorly, he added.
According to Malema, the country must be "rescued" from service providers doing "things the state can do for itself". The only long-term and sustainable solution is legislation that will ensure this, he said.
He cited Bidvest as one example of an unnecessary service provider. He also did not hesitate to mention Bosasa, which has been linked to various corruption allegations.
"Let us unite in saving monies of the taxpayers and ensure the jobs and dignity of South African people. Let us unite behind this proposed legislation and free the ruling party from the chains of Bidvest and Bosasa," Malema said.
African National Congress MP Lusizo Makhubela-Mashele said while insourcing was one measure among many that the governing party was considering to ensure fair compensation, job preservation and skills development, a capable state needed to invest in a high standard of human capital.
"The ANC has developed solutions and has committed itself to the goal of a developmental state. Insourcing should be coupled with other goals to ensure that the entities maintain their capacity to function," said Makhubela-Mashele.
Democratic Alliance MP Cilliers Brink said government did not exist, first and foremost, for the benefit of those working for it, but for the benefit of all.
"In some instances, this may benefit all South Africans, as some functions can only be achieved in-house. But it does not follow that all government functions must be insourced. There are functions that can be better delivered if they are outsourced," said Brink.
EFF MP Vuyani Pambo said due to the #FeesMustFall movement, workers at the University of Witwatersrand workers had been insourced and now had medical aid and UIF cover.
IFP MP Mfakazeleni Buthelezi said the party supported insourcing, but was too aware of the reality that the public service wage bill could not be allowed to get much more bloated.
Freedom Front Plus MP Wouter Wessels said government's efforts to professionalise the public service were undermined by patronage and affirmative action.
African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart said insourcing must ensure financial savings for the public service wage bill and improve the quality of services.