Government wage bill: over bloated and underwhelming – NJABULO MHLAMBI
South Africa was once speculated to have a government workforce larger than that of the United States. Think about that for a second or two. A country whose population numbers close to 57 million with more civil servants than a nation of over 300 million individuals. These allegations have been debunked but what became clear is that in South Africa far too many civil servants are employed. In 2014, the actual number of civil servants in South Africa was 2.161 million whereas in the United States there were 21.294-million.
Basic Economics 101. Imagine that you have 10 workers who are employed to dig up a site for the erection of a new public hall. Now imagine that the government could only afford to buy 2 shovels. This leads to inefficiency - 8 workers will not be able to perform their duties due to a lack of resources. Would it not make better sense for them to be employed in other avenues where their value can be impactful and be of service to the community? In South Africa we have an oversupply of civil servants and the wage bill will inevitably continue growing, which will force government to turn yet again to the tax payer for increased funding.
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Publish date: 17 October 2018
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