Pretoria - Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has welcomed the establishment of a Presidential Remuneration Commission to review salaries in the public service.
President Jacob Zuma established the commission to investigate the conditions and wages of civil servants, with teachers receiving top priority. During the State of the Nation Address last week, Zuma said the appropriateness of the salaries and conditions of service provided by the state to its employees would be investigated.
Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Sisulu said the commission will determine whether the state was getting value for its money and whether the public servants were remunerated in line with their output. She noted that the President had prioritised teachers for the reason that “we have become aware of an on-going grievance”.
“He has chosen to prioritise teachers because teaching is an essential service for the country. It does not matter how smart you might need to be about language usage, the bottom line is that teaching is an essential service,” Sisulu said.
Sisulu said government could not move forward without paying attention to the working conditions of teachers.
The state wanted to make teaching as attractive a profession as it has always been, she said. The Remuneration Commission was the President’s answer to a longstanding salary structure problem.
“More than that, he has shown good faith and has taken the first step in the recognition of the role of teachers in our development.”
Sisulu added that authorities had reviewed the current capacity of the state to deal with corruption in the public service. She acknowledged that the current capacity was unable to deal effectively with the scope and scale of the challenge.
“That is why we are planning to create an Anti-Corruption Bureau, a body that, together with the SIU and other law enforcement agencies will have the necessary powers and authority to deal with major cases of misconduct, especially by SMS members and financial misconduct in the public sector.”
The Bureau will have powers and authority to investigate across the whole of government and will be responsible for investigating, documenting and maintaining databases and ensuring that disciplinary cases are finalised expeditiously.
The issue of public servants doing business with the state was still a major problem. She noted that the National Development Plan, a document approved by Cabinet recently, and the Public Service Commission have recommended that the law prohibits public servants from doing business with the State.
“We have accepted this recommendation and we are working on legislation to effect this and henceforth no public servant would be allowed to do business with the State,” said Sisulu. - SAnews.gov.za