Senzo Mchunu: Public Sector Wage Bill Can Be Reduced Without Retrenchments

Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu.
Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu.

Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu on Wednesday said the Public Sector Wage Bill was bloated and he was determined to trim the fat.

According to the South African Institute of Race Relations, government spent over R500 billion in salaries annually.

Mchunu said his plan to cut the wage bill did not include the retrenchments of public sector workers as this would have a detrimental effect on service delivery.

The minister told Eyewitness News that the high cost of public administration was not driven by the number of people working for government. He said the high cost was a result of too many litigation procedures among government employees, high salaries of senior officials, and the use of private sector consultants even where government had the capacity.

Mchunu vowed to change this.

“We employ people to do what exactly the government wants them to do, but then they can’t do it and we have to hire somebody else [to do the job]. This is the fat that we are going to be cutting.”

He added that jobs for public servants were safe, for now.

“We are not retrenching even as we deal with the reconfiguration of the state. We believe that the whole wage bill can be driven downwards without retrenching workers,” he said.

Mchunu expressed confidence that through working with stakeholders, including labour, he would find solutions to reducing the Public Sector Wage Bill without shedding jobs.