The Aids pandemic is threatening to overwhelm South Africa's civil service, but government departments are not implementing measures to tackle the problem, says the Public Service Commission (PSC). Presenting its State of the Public Service report to the media in parliament on Tuesday, the PSC said Aids was eroding the public service workforce.
HIV/Aids threatens to place enormous pressure on the public service, both in terms of increasing demand for services, while eroding its work force through increased absenteeism and increased mortality, the report states.
PSC director-general Mpume Sikhosana said although a comprehensive public service Aids policy had been adopted, the way departments applied it was inconsistent.
The policy contained guidelines on sick leave management and the provision of medical aid to staff. Sikhosana said because the subject was such a sensitive one it was difficult to provide the actual number of civil servants who were infected.
He said the public service provided employees with condoms and information on how to prevent infection. Another problem was that many public servants could not afford medical cover, so the policy made recommendations on extending access to health insurance.
Touching on corruption within government, PSC deputy director-general on good governance, Professor Richard Levin, said a national hotline would be put in place after the elections in April. Levin said corruption had become a major concern after 1994.
Levin said the public service and administration ministry had conducted a survey, largely perception based, where they questioned households and businesses. The other concern of the PSC was overhauling the civil service to fairly represent the demographics of the country.
PSC deputy director-general Odette Ramsingh said that while the black/white ratio had been met, there were still problems around female managers and the disabled. (Source: News24.com, 18/02/2004)
For the 'State of the Public Service Report' [.pdf] and
Turning the Tide on Corruption Dec 2003 / Jan 2004 [.pdf]