Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma says government is making progress in reviewing its disciplinary code and procedures that address the slow pace of filling funded vacancies.
Answering questions from MPs in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Zuma said the guidelines have been drafted to help deal with such cases.
According to a report done last year by the Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Department - which looked at the analysis of the expenditure of personnel budgets, together with general personnel information on PERSAL - the employee database indicated that on average, less than 3% of funded posts were vacant at any time.
Zuma said this meant that, in general, national and provincial departments were doing well in terms of filling funded vacant posts.
The report also found that some departments had captured unfunded vacant posts on the database, which contributed to the impression that there were large numbers of vacant positions.
The President said there was also a tendency to fill more administrative posts than technical posts, which were required to improve service delivery.
Zuma made an example of the health sector, where there had been a 71% growth in administrative appointments and only a 39% growth in health professionals between 2003 and 2010.
He said only a few national departments such as Water Affairs, Public Works as well as Justice and Constitutional Development, have had high vacancy rates.
"This is linked to the difficulty in attracting skilled personnel to government. Some departments, such as the Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs, were undergoing restructuring and had relatively high vacancy levels for that reason," Zuma told MPs.
Zuma said they were working around the clock to address these issues.
The Department of Public Service and Administration had issued an instruction to all departments to fill the funded vacancies and remove unfunded ones from their personnel systems.
"Secondly, the Forum of South African Directors-General has been directed to ensure that vacancies are filled within four months instead of the average of six to nine months, which had become a norm in the public service," said Zuma, adding that progress reports would be provided to Cabinet and the President's Coordinating Council periodically.
These progress reports, he added, would determine whether or not any action needed to be taken against a particular department for not filling vacancies timeously.