Ramaphosa: Govt doesn’t need to cut down its workforce

Ramaphosa said the government needs to do the opposite and employ more in some sectors where there is a shortage of staff.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in the National Assembly on 31 October 2019. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday told Parliament that government did not need to cut down its workforce because of the high public wage bill.

He said the government needed to do the opposite and employ more in some sectors where there was a shortage of staff.

Ramaphosa was responding to questions in the National Assembly where he was quizzed about the country’s struggling economy.

The president agreed with his finance minister that the government’s wage bill is a cause for concern and requires a discussion with organised labour.

“That needs to be looked at and we are going to be looking at that. The more this grows, the more we become constrained.”

While tabling the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement on Wednesday, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni warned government wages take up 46% of its spending and the situation is becoming unsustainable.

However, Ramaphosa said this was not because of the number of state employees, who were in short supply in some sectors.

“Our population has grown, our hospitals need more staff of those health workers.”

He told MPs that several factors have led to the high wage bill like above-inflation increases over the years.