Public sector productivity 'abysmal'

2012-08-20 13:33

Johannesburg - SA’s labour productivity is “abysmal”‚ with the performance of the country’s public sector especially poor‚ Prophet Analytics’ quarterly Labour Market Navigator‚ released on Monday‚ shows.

The research found private sector labour productivity to be 450% ahead of that in the public sector.

The survey also found that although private sector labour productivity was massively higher than that of the public sector‚ the sector was not without challenges.

Only 65 JSE-listed companies achieved labour productivity that exceeded employee costs.

The four highest ranked of the 65 - RMB Holdings‚ Vukile Property Fund‚ Investec Bank and Assore - generated more than R100 000 of annual operating cash flow per worker after accounting for the contribution of capital in the production process.

“These findings support other data which show that labour productivity for the South African economy as a whole has fallen to a 40-year low and capital’s share of national income has correspondingly risen from 39.9% to 47.2%‚” said Peter Aling‚ the analyst responsible for compiling the research.

Aling characterised productivity‚ referred to as making the best use of available resources‚ as “a paramount economic goal”.

The analyst took a swipe at the South African Reserve Bank’s measure of labour productivity in terms of output per worker.

Aling said that by contrast‚ “capital productivity”‚ according to the Reserve Bank‚ had steadily fallen at an annual 1%. In inflation-adjusted terms‚ a unit of capital produced R7 297 worth of output in 1967 and R4 924 this year.

“They (figures) do not explain why firms continue to lay off workers in large numbers (1.9 million since the peak in the late 1980s); and they do not explain why labour’s share of national income has fallen from 60.1% in 1995 to 52.8% in 2011‚” he said.

The South African economy had produced more and more output using fewer and fewer workers‚ Aling argued.

“South African workers‚ on the whole‚ are destroying value‚ with the result that they are gradually being retrenched‚” he said.

Speaking on capitalism‚ the analyst said capitalism was usually taken to be consistent with light regulations for business and low overall taxation.

“Against both these dimensions SA ranks very poorly: 144th out of 183 countries in terms of business regulations‚ and 116th out of 178 countries in terms of taxation‚” he said.

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  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-20 13:45

    & some fools want to nationalize the mines, this is what will happen

      patrick.buckley.712 - 2012-08-20 13:50

      Why stop at the mines..... Nationalize everything and starve to death!

      alan.jerrold - 2012-08-20 14:15

      Yes, did you read that cleaners in SA employed by the govt are better paid than teachers in Brazil and India? The ANC is truly useless, and voters need to wake up before our unemployment rate (already around 40% amongst those who could be working) gets even worse, along with pathetic service delivery as proven by the FACTS. The ANC fatcats live very well off the taxes of the few, and deliver totally rotten service. It's time for change for all our sakes, especially the poor.

      fred.murgatroyd - 2012-08-20 14:31

      Well, it's about time someone highlighted this. Why do you think so much of our manufacturing has been contracted out to the East? But when it comes to the public sector, what can you expect from cadre deployment and the entitlement attitude. I heard an interesting statistic a short while ago - a government auditor was pushed into early retirement and his place taken by four "entitalees" who couldn't do the job, so for the past three years he has been retained as a consultant, doing his original job, at twice what he was previously earning, while the "entitalees" still got paid for doing nothing. That is the sort of example of where out tax money goes that is alarming, just as much as the corruption in the CancER.

      robes.spear - 2012-08-20 15:00

      Our "progressive" labour laws stink. Ask any entrepreneur whether they will hire staff and they will laugh at you. Small business will never hire people because laws make it too expensive to lay off staff who end up sucking the firm dry.

  • blip.noodlum - 2012-08-20 13:52

    So, the average private sector worker achieves on a Monday morning (before going to lunch) what an average deployed cadre takes a whole week to complete?

      fanie.gerber1972 - 2012-08-20 13:57

      ...try a month...or more

      steve.blignaut - 2012-08-20 14:00

      whahahahaha! this we knew!

      claudia.meads - 2012-08-20 14:15

      blip.noodlum So, the average private sector worker achieves on a Monday morning (before going to lunch) what an average deployed cadre takes a whole week to complete? Spot on blip. But is also says that 1 private sector worker does the work of 4.5 civil servants - 3.5 should not be there, ie basically on welfare. Add this figure to 6 : 1 ratio of people on welfare : taxpayers and the de facto ratio is 9.5 : 1 so basically 10 : 1. If you consider that Christine Lagarde (IMF head) said that an average Chinese worker is 6 times more productive than a South African worker, you can argue that one (1) South African taxpayers are supporting 60 people who contribute nothing to the economy. If you consider, a significant portion of SA's tax base are in fact people who work for the state/government/etc (e.g. part of the superfluous 3.5 mentioned above) and as such only regurgitating bona fide tax income - the 60 : 1 figure may be double, if not three times...

  • fanie.gerber1972 - 2012-08-20 13:56

    Haai nooit/Well I never/Serias?

  • renofinch - 2012-08-20 13:57

    Unfortunately the level of education, training and lack of common sense in the front line of the public sector these days is so pathetically low that I'm not surprised this is the case.

  • pisciotta - 2012-08-20 14:05

    And someone needed to do a study to figure this out? Shame on SA. Miserable nation heading to ruin.

  • jan.human - 2012-08-20 14:06

    Why must we work???? We are getting paid in any case! Sleep during working hours.... Jol by night!!!! And the public sector consist of????? BEE..... No need to say anything more!

  • butch.poulter - 2012-08-20 14:06

    "Cry the Beloved Country"

  • jan.human - 2012-08-20 14:07

    Under worked and over paid......

  • nadineelvina.francis - 2012-08-20 14:08

    Worked in public sector for 15 months. It was torture took me 3 months to get a computor.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-08-20 14:13

      didn't help with your spelling when you got it though

  • greypatriot - 2012-08-20 14:14

    Every time I read the comments of readers in the paper my heart breaks and I feel miserable! I have never thought that my fellow citizens in SA would become so cynical and disparaging. We do have a serious problem with social neglect in SA and this culminates in low self-esteem and inability to achieve and excel. The way to fix it is to make social neglect the number one problem in SA and then take every action needed to solve the problem. Try to be productive and efficient when your roof leaks onto your bed at night or the kids cant sleep because they are hungry!

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-08-20 15:35

      I agree, the current regime is shockingly neglecting the poor. They are also teaching people to have no pride, to only demand and do nothing for themselves. When the roof leaks they wait for someone else to fix it. Just look at the way the majority litter the country, it is so obvious they are not being taught the correct mentality by their non - leaders. How can people have pride with people like the ANC cadres as their role models?

      jenny.webbe - 2012-08-20 19:51

      Greypatriot - It is heartbreaking, but there is no smoke without fire. Your fellow citizens are not just being cynical and disparaging for no reason. If all our citizens put their best into their jobs, if the government was not corrupt, if the crime rate was lower, if certain of our people stopped expecting hand outs, if everyone tried to solve their own problems and help one another... As IF!

      dee.980 - 2012-08-21 16:44

      Believe me GreyPatriot - you are not alone. And most ironical of all are the 'Viva DA' posters who think their subtle and not so subtle racism furthers the cause of this party. Come to this site to read too many posts that give ANC cheap votes. All I can think is that the more reasonable minded folk are so disgusted that they turn away from here.

  • Ze Don - 2012-08-20 14:15

    This proves my point as to why increases in the public sector should be performance based!

  • eduard.marais.5 - 2012-08-20 14:15

    The ANC wants to get the majority of the people on their payroll (i.e. employed by govt or getting social grants) and that way make sure that they stay in power. Good idea ....... but .... they gonna run out of money and then this whole thing is going to implode ( sounds just like a story from Africa doesn't it?)

  • man.zanilla.73 - 2012-08-20 14:24

    Every time I hear something about our labor force's competitiveness compared to those of other countries the following lyrics from the a Linkin Park song "Points of Authority" just wont leave my head for a couple of hours. .. The pace is too fast You just won't last .. We are a developing nation as many in the east. How are we going to compete with people that know nobody owns him nothing. If he wants to get ahead he must make it happen himself. How do we compete with a government like the Chinese. They have focus, they have plans. Not like the rest of Africa where the only ambition is to lord it over the others.

      steve.gibson.146612 - 2012-08-21 11:09

      Sa has plans but never impliments them through as that will mean someone has to actually do some work. A large proportion of any blame should rest with the alliance partners who insist on across the board increases with no productivity clause included, Where is the need to be rewarded for above average oerformance?? I get paid the same as my colleague even though he/she does nothing. The Municipal office I went to last week had only one lady trying to help customers whilst four ladies sat together at a desk piled high with paper but simply just chatting over a period of more than 50 minutes before I left in disgust.

  • rob.bayliss.94 - 2012-08-20 14:29

    Of course the view of public sector productivity can be seen in a different manner. For example, if you consider employment in the public sector to be a form of social grant (seriously, think about it) then the sector is doing very well indeed!

  • gvangreunen - 2012-08-20 14:33

    no qualifications required for employment (other than your skin colour of course!), no accountability, no pride in what you do, zero work ethic ... the list goes on! How can productivity be expected when all of the above make up the norm?

  • kooskanmar - 2012-08-20 14:36

    But wait, there is more. Every year they also go on strike to demand wage increases twice as high as the average private sector worker - and they get it. Where is going to end ? That's my bloody tax money they are pi@#%g away.

  • rinus.groeneveld.7 - 2012-08-20 14:44

    And the guy right at the top of Public "Servants" costs the taxpayer more than R100 million per annum (wives, residences, cars, travel, etc.). And if he gets another 5 years he will effectively cost more than R1 billion. To serve as "Mr. President". So why will the rest of the Public Sector "Serve"? Just a ticket to "get Fat" with Local Government the preferred ticket, then Provincial, then National - in the order of "free reign". Skep as much as you can and move on. Or up. Like the Former North West education MEC Johannes Tselapedi who appeared in court for alleged tender fraud whilst he was MEC. He is currently acting deputy director general of curriculum in the basic education department. So where does he get promoted to after tender fraud in the National department .. Vice President perhaps. Or rather to some poor Municipality as Municipal Manager? Someone somewhere should start a database of who moves where because I think these stinking rotten dirty slimeball Goverment Employees just move from Province to Province to National to Local whilst emptying the coffers along the way...  this really really upsets me!

      rinus.groeneveld.7 - 2012-08-20 14:46

  • denis.dendrinos - 2012-08-20 15:02

    Anyone ever gone to a government department? They come in at like 8:30/9...... chat and have breakfast till around 10..... read emails and MAYBE do work till 12 hour or two of lunch with communal picnics being held in one or the others office then more chatting maybe a hour of work and 3:30/4 we all knock off...... oh - and we get huge salaries and keep demanding more - but parks are over run, water infrastructure is not maintained, roads are potholed etc etc. And then, as the Ekhuruleni budget comminicae mentioned - for every 1 paying household there are three being subsidised......

      rinus.groeneveld.7 - 2012-08-20 15:10

      contracted "there" for a while Denis - you should see the issues and complaints and threats come bonus time! It is seen as a right and not a privilege. The procedure is to submit a list of "incidents" where you did more than required that will, in turn, justify your bonus. In 99% of cases these incidents they list are no more than their normal job spec (which they do not even reach!) ... and unfortunately, more or less everyone gets an A or B bonus. So why will they work harder/better/smarter if they get a bonus in any event?

      denis.dendrinos - 2012-08-20 15:31

      Yup Rinus - but that's that way it is. We get jobs purely because who is running things, we don;t actually know what's expected or what to do. There are no real appraisal processes in place and zero accountability for anything...... Then people protest - because that's all they know - to try and get the things the public sector should be providing. And yes - they SHOULD be providing it, because that's what you do when you govern, you run things and provide services because people believed in you and voted for you! pity people don;t fully understand what a vote means - both those receiving and those giving the vote....

      Chumscrubber1 - 2012-08-20 15:41

      Must admit rinus, I worked for the government in the 90's - and bonuses were given to the least deserving people at times, even then. We did however have pride, the office's were neat and clean, we were polite to the public, we were proud, and generally did a pretty good job considering we were paid less than most private sector people. We had excellent perks though.

      sheik.mohammad.378 - 2012-08-20 20:30

      Denis you give them too much credit for "Work" ethic.

      steve.gibson.146612 - 2012-08-21 11:14

      Does anyone realise that the pay is so good that some of the staff even hire and pay others to do their jobs at the office sothat they can jol without even getting into the office themselves???

  • retlaw.yelmoc - 2012-08-20 15:11

    Oh my Gosh!! And we are all surprised!

  • retlaw.yelmoc - 2012-08-20 15:15

    We are all wrong!! They did not want "work" they want the Job = money! Silly us!

  • ari.potah - 2012-08-20 15:31

    All you have to do is interact with any public sector facility to know from first hand experience that the report is correct - maybe even a trifle conservative. They have also lost all awareness of being civil servants = polite and serving.

  • lee.theron.9 - 2012-08-20 15:48

    If I was a good writer, I would publish a book called "How South Africa was deceived". and it must cover everying like corruption, murders, hidden agenders etc. It would be a best seller I can assure you and because there is sooooooo much to write about, I would write the books in episodes.

  • Zahir - 2012-08-20 16:38

    The govt needs to reduce the size of public sector there are too many earning big salaries but doing nothing

  • peter.estrange - 2012-08-21 11:29

    We MUST ask our Patrick Craven what his opinion is on this. He will of course not put the blame on too high wages relative to productivity. Mechanise again and again or move to where workers equate wages to what they produce.

  • clem.human - 2012-08-21 14:11

    fruits of BEE and AA. Current rate of "progress" - dont even give SA another 10 years before we become Zimbabwe II.

  • john.rattey - 2012-08-21 15:51

    It's quite interesting watching from the inside as the country implodes. Could probably write a book about it someday.

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