Performance, remuneration on summit agenda

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Johannesburg - Beefing up performance in the public sector and a review of the remuneration policy for public servants are among the issues expected to be discussed at the upcoming Public Service Summit on Thursday.

About 400 delegates are expected to arrive in Durban for the summit which hopes to focus on strategies to deal with serious service delivery challenges that have been highlighted in recent weeks.

"We are hoping to emerge out of this conference with a collective responsibility to change the lives of (people) ... that should be the outcome of the conference," said Randall Howard, who is a special advisor to Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi.

The conference, which will take place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Conference Centre, comes at a time when government is speaking of an overhaul in the way the public service operates with 2010 having been declared as the year of speeding up service delivery.

Government is under pressure to improve delivery of essential services amid a recent a wave of service delivery protests in many parts of the country. .

Ministers will for the first time sign service delivery agreements with the President and will be judged based on a set of outcomes focusing on government's key priorities.

Randal said the three-day summit, to be opened by Baloyi, plans to provide an opportunity for government, which is an employer, and social partners to discuss strategies that would ensure a responsive service across all government departments and state-owned entities.

There will also be discussions on topics such as the resourcing of the public service especially in the area of health, education and the criminal justice system.

The issue of improving remuneration in the public service to retain staff and attract skilled people from the private sector will also take centre stage, said Randall.

"We will be looking at issues of minimum wage and the principles that inform the wage gap within the sector ...for instance we need to debate the salary gaps between the cleaner, the middle employees, directors up to the directors-general," he said.

The summit will bring together representatives from government, organised labour and community organizations.