'DA making claims with mouthful of salaries' - minister denies civil servants being paid for no work

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Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu.
Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu.
  • The DA has claimed that R11 billion in salaries was paid to public servants for not doing any work during the lockdown.
  • Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu has rubbished claims saying that all public servants have been working during lockdown.
  • Mchunu added that these salaries included MPs.

Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu has rubbished claims by the DA that R11 billion in salaries was paid to public servants while not working during the lockdown. 

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In a statement on Saturday, DA MP Leon Schreiber said that at least 84 337 cadres and public servants were paid their full salaries during the lockdown to do nothing.

Schreiber said according to National Treasury, the average salary in the public service is R393 000 per annum, or R32 750 per month.

"This means that, over the past four months of the lockdown crisis, the ANC has spent over R11 billion in taxpayer money to pay the salaries of at least 84 000 state employees who had their workloads reduced significantly," Schreiber said. 

He added that in response to a parliamentary question, Mchunu, bluntly stated that “during the national lockdown, all public servants will continue to receive their full salaries” even if they are not doing any work.

"Mchunu also provided a breakdown per government department of the over 84 000 employees who 'had their workloads reduced significantly' during levels 4 and 5 of the lockdown," Schreiber added. 

'Vital part'

He said the DA will be writing to Mchunu to find out why the government did not require "non-essential" public servants to claim from the UIF-TERS system in the same way that it forced private employees to surrender their salaries.

On Tuesday, Mchunu hit back at the DA, claiming that most of the public servants, such as those in the health and law enforcement sectors, have been performing essential services throughout the lockdown. 

"The rest of the public servants have been working remotely from home but work has nonetheless been performed by public servants," Mchunu said. 

Mchunu added that the he never claimed public servants were being paid for not doing any work. 

"There is no classification of non-essential public servants. Public servants have played and continued to play a vital part in ensuring an effective response to the pandemic.

"The machinery of government consists of various components in order to ensure confirmed government services to the citizens."

The minister said the slashing of public servant salaries would not only affect the delivery of services to the public but would be contrary to the provisions of the Public Service Act. 

In addition, Mchunu also rubbished the DA’s notion that only cadres are being laid their salaries. 

"Public servants also include the judiciary, as well as members in the National Executive and Parliament, who have also continued to receive their salaries in full.

"Parliament had gone into a three week recess following the declaration of the national state of disaster, and were fully paid, including DA MP Schreiber.

"The DA is making all these claims with a mouthful of salaries," Mchunu said.

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