South Africa is testing over 80,000 government employees to see if they are ‘ghost workers’

The Mpumalanga provincial government has announced a major process to verify all employees on the Personal and Salary System (Persal).

The staff verification will be conducted by means of biometric fingerprint system which will establish the authenticity of employees against existing details on the Persal system, Mpumalanga’s provincial treasury said.

There are currently 83.187 thousand employees on the provincial government’s system, with projected expenditure of R33.6 billion for the year ending 31 March 2023. The verification process commenced in March and it is anticipated to be completed in the second quarter of 2022.

The province’s head of finance, economic development and tourism Vusi Mkhatshwa said the staff verification project is one of the expenditure control measures aimed to ensure the credibility of the provincial budget management.

“The principal objective of this exercise is to ensure that public funds are paid to existing personnel who are contributing to the functioning of the provincial government,” said MEC Mkhatshwa.

“The project is in line with the section 18 of the Public Finance Management Act, No. 1 of 1999 which requires the Provincial Treasury to, amongst others, promote and enforce transparency and effective management in respect of revenue, expenditure, assets and liabilities of provincial departments and provincial public entities.”

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South Africa’s government has historically grappled with issues of ghost workers, with taxpayers footing the bill for hundreds of non-existent public servants.

Notably, in 2021, the Msunduzi municipality in KwaZulu-Natal discovered as many as 120 ghost employees who failed to appear for a headcount. In 2020, the City of Tshwane said it had managed to identify as many as 1,400 ghost workers on its payroll system.

Read: Joburg wants to introduce a 24-hour work day to boost jobs and economic growth

Artmotion S.Africa

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