Geingob orders civil service size rethink

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Geingob orders civil service size rethink

President Hage Geingob has told the Public Service Commission that the size of the country’s civil service is too big and not sustainable. 

He made the remarks yesterday during a courtesy visit from members of the PSC and a technical team, headed by the chairperson of the commission, Salmaan Jacobs. 

Geingob suggested an assessment to ensure that there is no duplication of duties. 

Jacobs informed the president that the public servants are 107 000, inclusive of the security cluster. The government’s total expenditure on public servants stands at about N$30 billion, which is over 42% of the total budget. 


 The Public Service Medical Aid Scheme (PSEMAS) was also allocated an amount of N$2.7 billion during the current financial year. 

Geingob said the size of the public service is too big, considering Namibia’s population, and that the commission should therefore think of reducing it. 

“When we got independence, some of us were there throughout; Africans were left out, those who were fighters were left out. The idea was to bring them in after independence. But the constitution is very clear that you cannot fire those who are there, as they are also protected. So, we had to bring in new people on top of those who have been there; trying to bring in those who were left out during apartheid, and we also had to waive the question of so-called experience,” he noted. 

He continued: “The idea was that after we normalise the situation after independence, it will go down to a proper size. 

You are failing. That is the first task I am giving you to do. People are asking about the salary increment every year, but they don’t think they are already employed. They are saying to give me a 10% increase on what I am already earning. You look at the budget, you are addressing those who are already getting,” he stated. 

“Therefore, the size of the public service needs to be looked at. Maybe cut it in half so that those who remain will have proper salaries. They said we brought you in politically because blacks were left out. We could not fire them. Therefore, this is serious. It is your duty to look into the size we have, for our population after 32 years, if the size we have now is the proper size we are supposed to have,” he continued. 

Geingob then informed the commission that their operational independence is guarenteed, and that he does not want to interfere with their work. 

The purpose of the meeting was to seek advice from the president on various issues faced by the commission, and establish a course of action to best serve the public service. 

The team also briefed and updated Geingob on their achievements, and their perspectives of an effective public service in providing checks and balances. 

Jacobs said the management of human resources and administration is manual, and results in the misplacement of documents and other challenges. 

“Human resources’ matters must be automated to speed up the management of cases and consolidate staff data so that information on all staff is accessible easily. The implementation of the human capital management system needs to be sped up to ensure ease of management of staff information, and to prioritise the implementation of E-governance in the public sector,” he informed the head of state.