President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama says government is constrained to create new vacancies due to budgetary constraints caused by economic meltdown and decline of diamonds sales.
However, President Khama said government remained committed to improving service delivery.
Addressing public service employees in the Thamaga/Kumakwane constituency recently, President Khama said though there were some signs of economic recovery, government could not manage new posts because it would only bloat the civil service.
As such, he encouraged ministries to address issues of shortage of staff across their departments by utilising vacant posts.
President Khama said shortage of personnel could be avoided if ministries could utilise internship programme graduates and filling vacant positions.
He indicated that there were over 2 000 vacant positions at the Ministry of Health and over 300 at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
President Khama said bloating the public service might, in instances of recession, lead to government to go the unpopular route of downsizing its personnel to manageable numbers.
However, he challenged departments to utilise the about 3 000 interns, which he said might also be an answer to personnel shortage.
On issues of office accommodation, President Khama said government was aware of the dire shortage and as such made a deliberate decision to construct staff houses mainly for health and education ministries through the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP).
Employees cited lack of resources such as personnel, vehicles and office accommodation as main challenges hampering service delivery in the constituency.
Arts, sports and culture ministry officials said offices accommodated in caravans scattered over their service area made it difficult to officer services in one location.
Some argued that shortage of teachers’ accommodation, non-separation of water meters of teachers’ quarters from school water lines, inconsistent menu for learners and delay in payment of overtime for teachers formed part of the many issues faced by employees.
Meanwhile, Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) director, Ms Ruth Maphorisa reiterated that the public service was bloated and there were no prospects of creating new posts.
On issues of overtime, Ms Maphorisa said officers should not put emphasis on financial gains, but must think about taking days off to rest.
On the three per cent salary adjustment, she said unions contested the matter in court, and it was not government’s decision to deny employees increment.
She highlighted that the matter was still before courts because some unions still wanted to stop government from implementing the increment on the non-unionised, management and security services employees.