SARS hires 769 previously outsourced cleaning staff as permanent employees

Edward Kieswetter. Image credit: Twitter/SA Gov News

The SA Revenue Service (SARS) has hired 769 cleaning staff that were previously outsourced, it announced in a statement on Wednesday.

The new permanent employees will officially join SARS as from 31 October, 2020 following a decision to discontinue renewing annual cleaning contracts and to start insourcing.

SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter said while outsourcing cleaning and security services may sometimes make commercial sense for SARS, it is not always in the best interest of individual employees working for subcontracted companies.

Reduced office space requirements

He explained that SARS’ reduced requirements for office space would result in “a reduced service with fewer number of [employed] individuals.”

“Depending on who the successful bidder ends up being appointed, it would likely have a negative impact on a large number of employees as well as be disruptive for everyone concerned,” Kieswetter added.

The policy of insourcing is most commonly associated with the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). Labour federation COSATU and SA Communist Party (SACP), which are both allies of the ruling ANC, are also its advocates.

Kieswetter said SARS also wished to create a “sense of belonging” for employees who have worked at SARS for a period of time but who are employed by the subcontracted companies.

He added, “This new arrangement brings job certainty and greater dignity to the affected individuals. In our evaluation of the decision, we also realised that a number of the cleaning staff were sufficiently qualified, and have the potential, subject to development, to progress and be considered for career progression within SARS, but would also become more employable beyond SARS.”

300 employees could have lost jobs

Without insourcing, more than 300 employees would have been rendered unemployed, Kieswetter said, adding that SARS was “pleased” to have prevented this without additional cost to it.

The new permanent employees will also benefit from SARS’ upskilling programmes and be placed in other vacancies when they become available.

Other benefits include membership to the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF), medical aid and group life cover.

“SARS is also currently working on considering a similar approach for our security services in the continued battle to reduce unemployment in our country,” the Service said.

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