Parliamentary committee warns DoD wage bill is a problem


Salary spend by Minister Thandi Modise’s Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DoDMV) with the bulk going to the national defence force remains a problem area for the new minister, a report prepared the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) has it.

The report notes “despite a reduction in personnel over the past financial year, the department has not implemented any plans to align itself with the CoE (compensation of employees) ceiling imposed by National Treasury. In previous years, over-expenditure on CoE was recognised as irregular expenditure by the Auditor General and this is likely to be the case in 2020/21 as well”.

In May this year the PCDMV made seven recommendations in its budget report concerning CoE and the DoD approach to salaries.

These were to be supplied to the Parliamentary committee and included the final National Treasury allocation for CoE in the current financial year (2021/22); the projected CoE shortfall and how the DoD plans to fund the salary shortfall. Committee members also expressed interest in hearing/reading of departmental plans to bring salary expenditure in line with the National Treasury allocation as well as an update of what is being done to curb expenditure “related to the high number of supernumeraries” in the department minister Modise was given by President Cyril Ramaphosa when he dismissed Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula a few weeks ago.

Replying the DoD indicated “human resource (HR) interventions will be implemented to reduce HR costs” signalling “a shift in the departmental HR position to down-manage HR cost pressures” over the medium term.

As of April this year, the report has it, HR interventions at the DoD to cut costs will work toward an average planned strength of 73 000 (for the national defence force); reduce force mandays, applicable to the Reserve Force to 1.9 million a year and have a military skills development (MSD) intake once every two years.

Attention will also be given to re-activating exit strategies, including the mobility exit mechanism (MEM) and the employee initiated severance package (EISP).

According to the report, a CoE shortfall of R2.24 billion is expected for the current financial year, growing marginally to R2.5 billion in the 2022/23 financial year and then dropping to R2.1 billion in 2023/24.