We have another zero this week – this time it’s those government departments who, according to a recent Mail & Guardian study, waste millions of rands of taxpayers’ money on senior civil servants who are being paid for early termination of their contracts.
The M&G reports that up to R44-million a year could potentially be going down the drain in this manner.
The findings were part of a study conducted on the high turnover of department heads in recent years. The report established that between May 2009 and May 2014, our government departments have been headed up by no less than 177 permanent and acting directors-general (DGs) in total.
Of these, 28 did not serve their full terms, which usually means that they get paid out for the balance of the contract – with a director-general receiving as much as R1 768 893 a year for the remainder of the term.
Those who leave early, for whatever reason, have the option of taking a percentage of their remaining total salary but, says the newspaper, this is not the norm. Most “prefer to be deployed at a similar pay grade”.
President Jacob Zuma has reshuffled the Cabinet five times in five years, with a corresponding change of leadership in department DGs and other senior officials, as ministers like to have their own people in key positions. This frequent coming and going does nothing for the stability and performance of government departments, or for their budgets.