Do your job or get out, Manuel warns public servants

Trevor Manuel. (Gallo)

Trevor Manuel. (Gallo)

An overhaul of the public service is needed in order to implement the National Development Plan, says Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel.

"It will be a difficult process to overhaul the public service but that is what is needed, to provide a service that suits South Africa,"  Manuel told journalists in Parliament.

He was addressing the media alongside Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, following President Jacob Zuma's State Of The Nation address last week.

"As mentioned in the president's speech last week, there will be a committee set up to monitor performance of the public service in order to improve efficiency," Chabane added.

Chabane was referring to the task team mooted in Zuma's address, which the president said would investigate the terms of service and remuneration of all government employees – in particular teachers at state schools.

Details remain unclear as to when the task team will be formed or how it will function, but Manuel said it will be key to rooting out unproductive elements in the civil service.

Acting and implementing
"This is central to the [national development] plan. We may need to act urgently, but we can't act outside the confines of the law," Manuel said.

"Surely, if you are unable to fulfill a critical post in the public service, it is in the interests of democracy to remove you."

The NDP plots a course of action for South Africa until 2030, including proposals of completely eradicating poverty and moving the reducing South Africa's Gini coefficient inequality rating from 0.7 in 2009 to 0.6 in the next 17 years.

It was crafted by the national planning commission (NPC), which is chaired by Manuel.

So far it has been championed by Zuma as the plan to provide a roadmap for South Africa's future, but exact details of its implementation have been at best sketchy.

But Chabane and Manuel both said more details would become clearer in the coming months - in particular during the 2013 Budget speech to be be delivered by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan next Wednesday.

"We are beyond the phase of analysis and planning. The time is now to act and implement," Manuel added. – Gallo

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