Technology · June 23, 2022

South Africa is testing over 80,000 government employees to see if they are ‘ghost workers’

The Mpumalanga Provincial Government has announced a comprehensive process to screen all staff against the Personnel and Salary (Persal) system.

Verification of staff will be conducted using a biometric fingerprinting system that verifies staff authenticity based on existing details in the Persal system, the Mpumalanga Provincial Treasury Department said.

There are currently 83,187,000 people employed in the provincial government system, with projected spending of R33.6 billion for the year ending 31 March 2023. The verification process started in March and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2022.

Provincial finance, economic development and tourism chief Vusi Mkhatshwa said the staff verification project is one of the spending control measures aimed at ensuring the credibility of the province’s financial management.

“The main objective of this exercise is to ensure that public funds are paid to existing staff who contribute to the functioning of the provincial government,” said MEC Mkhatshwa.

“The project is in line with Section 18 of the Public Finance Management Act, No. 1 of 1999, which requires the county government to promote and enforce, among other things, transparency and effective management of revenue, expenditure, assets and liabilities Provincial departments and provincial public bodies.”

The South African government has grappled with problems of ghost workers in the past, with taxpayers footing the bill for hundreds of non-existent public servants.

Specifically, in 2021, the community of Msunduzi in KwaZulu-Natal discovered up to 120 ghost employees who did not show up for the staff count. In 2020, the city of Tshwane said it had managed to identify as many as possible 1,400 ghost workers on his salary system.

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