The Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administrationerformance Monitoring and Evaluation welcomes the conclusion of the public sector wage negotiations and the signing of the agreement by unions and the state. The Committee welcomes the conclusion mainly because of the fundamental role public servants must play in the delivery of essential services to our people.
The signing of this agreement averts a potentially crippling strike similar to the 2010 public service strike which saw essential services disrupted. This included the disruption of healthcare services, and the disruption of classes and other essential services offered by various government departments. “We are elated that our people, a majority of which are poor, will not be subjected to disruptions in essential services especially those that have to travel far to access these services,” said Mrs Bertha Mabe, the Chairperson of the Committee.
Furthermore, the Committee welcomes the multi-term agreement because it opens up the space for the state and employees to focus on the important issue, the provision of quality services. The Committee urged the department and workers during its strategic planning session late last year to work towards a multi-term agreement as it viewed this as a necessary tool in avoiding annual uncertainty.
The Committee also values the consideration made by unions and employees on the scarce national financial resources. The Committee is aware of the competing challenges caused by the high cost of living as well as massive strain that the public sector wage bill places on the declining budget. “The acceptance of this agreement confirms that employees are conscious of the developmental challenges facing the country and the strain this puts on the declining budget,” Mrs Mabe emphasised.
The Committee is also cognisant that this agreement will be complemented by the work done by the Presidential Remuneration Review Commission, headed by former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo and established by the President in 2013 to review the conditions of service and remuneration of public servants, with a view of proposing measures in line with international benchmarks. While the Commission’s work will focus on the entire public service, the first priority is educators. Besides the conditions of service and remuneration, the Commission will also look into whether government is getting value for the service for which it pays remuneration.
As this year’s negotiating process is put to rest, it is now up to the employees to prove to society as a whole that this increment is well deserved. This can only be achieved by provision of quality services to the public. “The public will only regain full trust in the public services when employees render efficient and effective services as prescribed by the Batho Pele principles,” Mrs Mabe emphasised.
The Committee extends its appreciation to all stakeholders that participated in this process, especially the union negotiators and their government counterparts as well all public servants for their patience while the process was being concluded.
ISSUED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION, MRS BERTHA MABE.
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Source : Parliament of South Africa