For the past two years, staff at the Department of Building and Engineering Services (DBES) staff in the Ministry of Infrastructure Science and technology (MIST) have been going to work to idle.
The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard this yesterday after the Seliebi-Phikwe West MP Dithapelo Keorapetse asked the Permanent Secretary in the MIST, Dikagiso Mokotedi their intention about the situation at the DBES department.
“It is true that people in the DBES department have been idling for the past two years without doing any work which is due to the fact that we decided to outsource some minor maintenance. We decided that ministries should do the work for themselves which left most of the staff with less work to do,” said Mokotedi.
Mokotedi said there were no plans to shut down the section because in some areas, employees in the same department have jobs to do. He added that some people have decided to just laze around especially where management is weak.
However, Mokotedi said if outsourcing proves effective, there might be job losses. “Like any other operation, if outsourcing proves to be more efficient and cost effective, we will opt to do it but for now we will remain that way,” said Mokotedi.
Mokotedi also told PAC that his ministry has, since 2012, had 30 vacancies in senior positions especially for architects, engineers and surveyors.
“We have about 10 percent vacancy rate out of the 300 staff personnel that we have. We lose most of our staff especially in the senior management to the private sector as they offer attractive remuneration compared to us,” he said.
Efforts to find people who can fill the positions did not bear fruit, he said, adding that “…we have been advertising both locally and international for the positions for the past five years but failed”.
He said this has also affected their production, as these people are very key in their operations noting that it causes a dilemma as junior officers lack senior mentors to learn from. Apart from engaging DPSM on several occasions to address this issue, Mokotedi noted that they have tried to offer some incentives for scarce skills, which unfortunately made no impact.
“We suggest that government should engage an outside company to help attract high calibre professionals who can fill the gap.”