The Mpumalanga provincial government has started verifying more than 83,000 employees on its Personal and Salary (PERSAL) System in a bid to uncover ghost workers.
In a statement on Tuesday (14 June), the provincial treasury said it is using a biometric fingerprint system to establish the authenticity of employees against its PERSAL system.
R33b wage bill
“There’s currently 83,187 thousand employees on the provincial government’s PERSAL system, with projected expenditure of R33.6 billion for the year ending 31 March 2023,” the provincial treasury said.
“The verification process commenced in March and it is anticipated to be completed in the second quarter of 2022.”
The MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Vusi Mkhatshwa, said the staff verification project is an expenditure control measures aimed at ensuring 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,” Mkhatshwa said.
Ghost workers in South Africa
The issue of ghost workers has emerged as a notable challenge for South Africa’s public service and state-owned enterprises in recent months.
“In a normal company you can’t afford to have one ghost worker. We have 3,000 and since December a stoppage was done on paying those people,” he said, adding that subsequently, nobody came forward to claim their salary wasn’t paid.
In February last year, Msunduzi municipality in KwaZulu-Natal froze the salaries of 121 people feared to be ghost employees following a verification process.
Allegations of millions of rand being paid to alleged ghost employees have also dogged several municipalities, including Mangaung and Maluti-a-Phofung in the Free State and Umvoti in KwaZulu-Natal.
In 2020, the City of Tshwane also withheld salaries of around 7,000 people believed to be illegally drawing salaries from the metropolitan municipalities without doing any work.