GOVERNMENT departments looking to expand their headcount should think again.
Tabling his medium-term budget policy statement in Parliament on Wednesday, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said there would be no money to increase staff numbers as government scrambled to deal with a R12.2 billion shortfall in this fiscal year alone on the public sector wage deal.
“The contingency reserves will be drawn down by R5 billion in 2015/16, R10 billion in 2016/17 and R26 billion in 2017/18,” Nene said.
“The revised MTEF [medium term expenditure framework]provides no funds to expand public sector employment over the next three years. Departments that had planned to expand headcount or fill vacancies need to postpone their plans.” Nene suggested further that some departments and institutions may have to reduce staff numbers.
Meanwhile Treasury will allocate an additional R13 billion over the next three financial years in an attempt to cast the net of social protection for poor South Africans wider, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said in his medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) on Wednesday.
Currently 16.7 million South Africans receive social grants, but this would increase to 18.1 million. The increase is attributed largely to the increase in life expectancy among South Africans and government’s efforts to ensure that more children under the age of two are covered by social grants.
By the end of this financial year, government would have spent at least R154 billion on grants. This figure would increase to R168 billion in 2016/17, and R181 bln in 2017/18.
Another proposal in the MTBPS is that a further R6 billion be added to local government funding to help municipalities provide free basic services to the poor. “Rising electricity prices and population growth have put pressure on the ability of municipalities to fund free basic services for low-income households,” the MTBPS document said.