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Inquiry into public service remuneration begins

MARCH 12, 2015
Inquiry into public service remuneration begins

The Presidential Remuneration Review Commission (PRRC) today began its inquiry into the remuneration and conditions of service of employees in the public service with a briefing of representatives in the education sector in Pretoria earlier this morning.

The briefing marked the formal commencement of the commission of inquiry, which was set up by President Jacob Zuma in August 2013.

Representatives of various trade unions, academic bodies, NGOs, community-based organisations, national and provincial education departments were in attendance.

In his address, the PRRC chairperson, retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, said the commission was established by the President to inquire into remuneration and conditions of service practices in the public service and public entities listed in Schedules 3A and 3C of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999; the stability of the public sector wage bill; the effectiveness of service delivery in the public service and the stipulated public entities.

“As is apparent from the terms of reference, the mandate of the commission is very broad. It covers all employees in the public service, regardless of their level of employment, including persons employed in all national and provincial departments including Correctional Services, South African Police Service and the 214 public entities defined in the terms of reference. This covers approximately 1.4 million employees,” said Ngcobo.

Responding to the issue of the delay in the commencement of the commission since its appointment in August 2013, Ngcobo said the commission faced establishment challenges which were compounded by a need for prior planning and an inadequate timeframe.

“These challenges affected the appointment of staff, the procurement of facilities, service providers and securing suitable offices which ultimately, delayed the process of commencing the inquiry.

“Despite these initial challenges, the commission is now on track to deliver on its mandate. It is in the process of filling in key posts. A research unit is in place and has been conducting baseline research into the issues identified in the terms of reference.

“A service provider has been appointed to develop a project plan for the commission and it is expected to be finalised by the end of April,” said Ngcobo.

As early as September 2013, the commission had begun a process of holding preliminary consultations with key stakeholders in the public service including the labour movement, national and provincial governments, the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council and the affiliated bargaining councils, chairpersons of the various portfolio committees affected by the inquiry as well as Ministers also affected by the inquiry.

Ngcobo said that while the commission could not say with any degree of certainty the exact amount of time it would need to complete its work, it was apparent from the estimates of the project plan that given the enormity of the task at hand, the amount of time required would be approximately two years.

The commission has since written to the President requesting an extension of its time frame to complete this task.

The chairperson also announced that a briefing session for stakeholders in the other sectors will be held in April, with the exact date and venue to be announced through a public announcement.

A statement of issues guiding the process of submitting written submissions and an administrative timetable will also be published soon and will be available on the commission’s website www.dpsa.gov/prrc/. – SAnews.gov.za