The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced government to put about 4,400 posts across the public sector on ice.
According to the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) director, Goitseone Mosalakatane, the frozen posts are worth over P7.86 million, with the funds diverted towards fighting the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“The Ministry of Finance had authorised us to withdraw the posts and use the money for COVID-19. Fifty percent (50%) of that money has been taken and used for COVID-19,” she told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recently.
While she agreed with PAC members that this could affect productivity and effective delivery of services in the public sector, Mosalakatane said where there is serious need for personnel, departments are allowed to employ or fill up posts.
“If departments have burning cases, we allow them to hire. The ministries will be allowed to draw from the remaining 50% to fill up posts that are pressing,” Mosalakatane added.
She said there are implications on service delivery, but ministries have been asked to look at priority and critical areas while also rationalising positions. Botswana
Recently, government announced that it would increase civil servants’ salaries after initially halting the move due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The increment is effective end of September 2020, but will be backdated to April 1.
Meanwhile, Mosalakatane told the committee that they would follow up with ministries if there are cases of unpaid workers employed just before COVID-19.This was after Member of Parliament for Mochudi East, Mabuse Pule raised the concern that some public servants who were employed by government and could not work due to COVID-19 have yet to be paid. Pule wanted the director to explain whether this was procedural.
“Legally, the employer has to provide work. We haven’t looked at the issue of COVID-19. I wish they had come to us on the issue. We will check with ministries if they had experimented that,” she said.