Question NW770 to the Minister of Public Service and Administration

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14 July 2020 - NW770

Profile picture: Schreiber, Dr LA

Schreiber, Dr LA to ask the Minister of Public Service and Administration

(1) What is the breakdown of the number of public servants who (a) had their workloads reduced significantly and are working part-time at home, (b) are currently working full-time from home and (c) are working full-time at their normal workplaces due to the Covid-19 pandemic; (2) whether the Government is still paying full salaries to public servants whose workloads have been reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (3) What arrangements have been put in place to make sure that public servants, especially those in management earning more than a million rand per annum, are not being paid from taxpayers’ money for work that they have not done during the Covid-19 epidemic


1. Shortly after the lockdown was announced, the Minister for the Public Service and Administration issued directions in respect of service delivery and business continuity for the Public Service during the COVID-19 pandemic. These directions were communicated to departments under cover of DPSA Circular 15 of 2020, dated 25 March 2020. In essence, the directions provided that each head of department must determine appropriate work arrangements for his or her department to ensure continued service delivery during the lockdown whilst also preventing the spread of COVID-19. These arrangements should also include remote working arrangements where possible.

Due to the unique circumstances and service delivery requirements of departments, these arrangements would differ from department to department. It should also be understood that the numbers of public servants working either from their normal workplaces or remotely from home, would fluctuate constantly due to changing circumstances and work requirements.

A survey was conducted in departments to determine work arrangements during the various lockdown levels. The responses received from departments to date are captured in Annexure A.

2. During the national lockdown all public servants will continue to receive their full salaries.

The salaries of public servants are protected in terms of the provisions of the Public Service Act, 1994. Section 34 of the Act provides that the salary of an employee shall not be reduced without his or her consent except in terms of section 38 of the Act (that deals with wrongly granted remuneration), an act of Parliament or a collective agreement.

3. As far as members of the Senior Management Service (SMS) are concerned, the directions issued by the Minister for the Public Service and Administration in respect of service delivery and business continuity referred to above, provided that all members of the SMS must be available during the lockdown to render the services required of them.