LETTER: Public service closed until further notice
Institutions such as the deeds office and the high court are just not providing the services they ought to
The size of SA’s public service is a shocking example of how the government has put sheltered employment for ANC cadres above real economic growth and infrastructure and social development.
These same — usually overpaid, often inefficient and most certainly fully paid during lockdown — government employees are now a serious hindrance to the ability to resurrect other sectors of the economy. Meanwhile, retrenchments and income deprivation have already struck many private businesses.
The Cape Town deeds office is a case in point. Whether due to a management failure or a simple refusal of its well-paid staff to return to work, it has rendered dismal service since reopening in mid-May. Hundreds of deeds have yet to be allocated to examiners and the backlog is mounting.
The deeds office closed again on June 29, and the responsible minister and chief registrar are probably in breach of the court order issued against them on June 19. Attorneys’ firms are unable to generate income as a result of home buyers’ transfers being delayed, resulting in extra costs in rental, interest and the non-payment to service providers and sales agents.
The state employees responsible show little will to do their well-paid jobs. The surveyor-general’s office simply has a note — “closed until further notice” — on the door. No doubt a host of professionals are also affected by this absolute disregard for the economy and society as a whole.
The Cape Town high court is another case in point. Judge president John Hlophe presides over the most incapacitated high court in the country and shows little sign of opening it properly so that practitioners and litigants can enforce their constitutional right to earn a living or obtain the relief they are entitled to. The court has serious leadership problems, as the tawdry tales of judicial misbehaviour in the press illustrate. The failure to permit the court and its staff to render a service level that equals that of high courts in the other provinces is a further illustration of this.
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