A Plan to Fix Our Municipalities – Professionalise the Public Service

Today, ActionSA’s Mayoral Candidates for Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, Abel Tau, Herman Mashaba and Tlhogi Moseki, respectively, staged a picket outside of Tshwane House to fight for residents’ right to have access to an effective, reliable, and fit for purpose public service that insources frontline staff where they are needed most.

Serving in the public service should be one of the most cherished and rewarding career paths in South Africa. However, years of cadre deployment, corruption, the manipulation of self-serving hiring practices have crippled the public service – residents have lost faith in government’s ability to serve them. No place has this been more evident than in the DA-led City of Tshwane.

To this day, the Democratic Alliance (DA) is yet to take residents into their confidence and explain their R80 million salaries bungle. For a full year, over 600 general workers reported to the City for work but were forced to stand idle as there was no work for them – despite the desperate need for competent workers who attend to resident complaints across the City. In all of this, not a single DA-politician has been held to account. Even more concerning, the DA has kept mum on allegations of fraud and corruption in the matter, with allegations of contract payments having been made to ghost employees.

In Johannesburg, eThekwini, and Ekurhuleni, matters are no better. Cadre deployment and poor management of workers have destroyed service delivery.

Under ActionSA’s governance, the public service would become a beacon of service delivery to residents through the implementation of our plan for professionalising the public service, where residents trust us to govern.  

We will no longer tolerate mediocre performance or failing service delivery. We will create a performance-driven, competitive, yet caring, workplace for municipal officials, but we will also expect our officials to work hard and get the job done. We will transform our municipal organisations to ensure that rate- and tax-payers’ money is spent on service delivery, not on “Millionaire Managers.” We will overhaul the top-heavy structures of our municipalities and replace them with organisations that are ready to serve the residents of our municipalities.

Most importantly, an ActionSA government would end the exploitation of front-line service workers by instituting a comprehensive plan of insourcing which not only creates dignified jobs but delivers quality services to residents. Our security staff and cleaners will have permanent contracts that provide dignity and favourable employment conditions, rather than being left to the whims of tenderpreneurs.

Today, we delivered our plan for professionalising the public service to the City of Tshwane’s administration, providing them with a blueprint for fixing service delivery in the Tshwane. We will be sharing our plan with the cities of Johannesburg, eThekwini, and Ekurhuleni.

To unlock customer-centric service delivery, we would:

  • Adopt merit-based recruitment practices: we will implement recruitment policies that places merit, competency, and experience at the centre of all appointments, especially in management positions. Political patronage and cadre deployment will have no place in our administrations.
  • Implement Skills Audits: we will conduct skills audits to identify any officials improperly appointed to their positions and ensure that all officials are capable of fulfilling their duties.
  • Improve Talent Acquisition: we will reform recruitment practices to ensure that we hire only competent and ethical employees to work for our municipalities, while working to recruit skilled graduates into the public sector.
  • Enforce Performance management: we will implement innovative performance management systems that rewards service with pride and holds officials that fail to serve residents adequately accountable for their non-performance. Performance management practices will no longer be mere box-ticking exercises.
  • Adopt a zero-tolerance approach to non-ethical behaviour.
  • Institute Organisational Reform: we will identify and remove barriers to organisational efficiencies and streamline our administrations. We will focus all the efforts of our organisations on functions that improve service delivery and cut down on top-heavy structures.
  • Launch Paid Municipal internships to attract competent university graduates with critical skills for ensuring service delivery.

As part of our comprehensive plan, we would end the exploitation of workers by unscrupulous tenderpreneurs. In the City of Johannesburg, tenderpreneurs were charging the City approximately R12,000 for the provision of a single security guard, while the security guards received only R4,000 per month in compensation. We cannot tolerate this manipulation of our procurement and staffing systems. To fix this problem, ActionSA will, amongst other measures:

  • Conduct insourcing feasibility audits in all municipalities where we govern.
  • Adopt insourcing criteria: with an understanding that it will not be financially feasible to insource all workers providing services to the municipality, we will therefore adopt insourcing criteria to guide our decisions on which workers to insource. These criteria will include:
    • Potential for exploitation: we will identify any potential tenders where workers may be exploited by external service providers, or where service providers are overcharging municipalities for services.
    • Nature of services provided: we will focus on insourcing workers that provide services to the municipality relating to security, cleaning, gardening, catering and laundry.
    • Cost efficiency: we strongly believe that insourcing can be cost efficient, and all our insourcing programmes must be based on comprehensive cost-benefit analyses to make sure that our residents still get good value-for-money service delivery.
  • Create affordable and dignified employee benefit packages for insourced workers: we will provide tailored employee benefit packages for insourced workers to ensure that they have access to subsidised healthcare and pension plans.
  • Review all contracts where any services are outsourced: we will review all municipal contracts that source labour from external service providers to ensure that such contracts are cost-effective and deliver the desired results.

It is clear for all South Africans to see that our present political system and leaders have failed communities by allowing the decline of our public sector. South Africans are gatvol of the status quo.

ActionSA is the only party that can FIX South Africa and it starts by fixing our municipalities, and we stand ready to deliver good governance to all South Africans.