'Public Service being rewarded for mediocre work'

Senior managers in the public service cost the State R4.1 billion and pocketed, on average, R811,235 a year -- while presiding over state machinery that barely reached half the targets set, the DA says

This emerged from the 2011/12 annual reports for national government departments, Democratic Alliance spokesman Kobus Marais said.

“An analysis of the available information on performance targets in the various departmental annual reports shows that national government departments spent, on average, 96.5% of their budgets, but achieved only 52% of their targets.

“Senior managers were, however, rewarded well for this mediocrity,” he said in a statement.

The reports showed that R4.1 billion was spent on the salaries of 4279 permanent employees on senior management level (levels 13 to 16).

A further R378 million was spent on salaries for 450 contract staff in senior management, average salaries were R811,235 for permanent senior managers and R1.314 million for contracted staff in senior management positions (based on averages provided by departments).

Some R41.13 million was spent on performance bonuses for senior managers.

Permanent senior managers in six departments earned an average salary of more than R900,000 a year. These included:

- public enterprise (R935,700),

- public service and administration (R949,000),

- defence (R949,507),

- justice and constitutional development (R1.101 million),

- correctional services (R1.109 million), and

- sport and recreation (R1.6 million).

In the two departments that spent the most on performance bonuses for senior management — National Treasury with R14.3 million and environmental affairs with R5.5 million — the Auditor General (AG) did not note the percentages of targets met.

In the case of Treasury, the AG indicated that the 42% of the targets relevant to programmes were not time bound or tied to a specific deadline. For environmental affairs, the AG had “no material findings” on the performance report.

“It is surprising that the department of basic education, which achieved only 47% of their targets, had the third highest spending on performance rewards for senior staff — R3.1 million,” Marais said.

Massive discrepancies between performance and outputs achieved were also noted for various departments.

The higher education and training department reached only 29 percent of their targets, but paid R1.24 million in senior management bonuses.

The water affairs department achieved 8% of their targets, but paid R669,000 in performance bonuses to senior staff.

At the justice and constitutional development department, R1.04 million was paid in performance bonuses to senior managers in a department that reached only 18% of its targets.

“We cannot continue to reward poor performance in the public service.” 

A review of the remuneration policy and performance management system in the public sector was critical, he said.