Govt targets ghost workers

THE Public Service Commission (PSC) is targeting “ghost workers” in the civil service as part of government’s transformative agenda, chairperson Vincent Hungwe has said.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Hungwe told journalists during an induction workshop for permanent secretaries in Harare yesterday that the government had no choice, but to tackle problem areas in Zimbabwe’s civil service.

“A ghost worker is a moniker for someone who is not supposed to be in a particular space or performing a particular function. Of course, there are instances where people have been employed outside the rules and procedures of the Public Service Commission,” Hungwe said.

“The PSC has dealt with such issues and we continue to identify them and get rid of them. But in instances where we have more personnel than is institutionally required, that does not render the person a ghost worker. It is only that our systems have not been efficient and effective enough in terms of making sure that there is resonance between what we require and the numbers we hire.”

A government staff audit a few years ago revealed former President Robert Mugabe’s administration connived with the ruling Zanu PF party to employ over 70 000 youth officers outside the remit of the PSC.

With multi-lateral institutions demanding a rationalisation of the civil service as a precondition for financial and technical support, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly committed to slashing recurrent expenditure by reducing the size of the workforce.

Hungwe said it was not possible to determine the number of civil servants required, but this will be informed by the strategic plans that line ministries will come up with which the PSC will use to set up structures that will help in the implementation of government policy.

He also said that government’s workforce was top-heavy.

“The whole idea is to right-size the civil service, making sure that the right persons are performing the right jobs given the skills sets that they have. It’s a combination of right-sizing, right-skilling and right-tooling. There has always been a tendency to assume that the overall size of the civil service in Zimbabwe is too big,” Hungwe said.

“There are certain areas in respect of certain levels where there are more people than required and that has tended to be the case at the highest level of the civil service like permanent secretaries and principle directors. But this does not, in aggregate terms, imply that the civil service is too big.”


Hungwe said government was aware that there was a disconnect between the people in its employ and the tools they use on a day-to-day basis.

“We want people to move from a manual system to an ICT enabled workflow system and, yes, this will result in some people being made redundant. But if people become redundant in one area, they can as well be accommodated elsewhere. We want to make sure round pegs get into round holes and square pegs into square holes,” he said.

Permanent secretaries will now be appointed for two five-year terms only, with retirement rigidly set at 65 years, except in “exceptional circumstances”.

In his address to delegates, Hungwe said the civil service needed to change the way it operates if it is to be the engine that drives Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030 of a middle-income country in the next 12 years.

“Change is not an option in this instance. Change is an imperative on the road to the realisation of Vision 2030, but change or talk of change instinctively invokes tension and resistance,” he said.

Mnangagwa’s administration, Hungwe said, was “fast moving away from a society characterised by subdued and inward looking economy, political polarisation”.

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11 Comments

  1. The government has for ages dithered when it comes to the Ministry of Youth; lots of the so called youth officers are actually Zanu pf apologists who do nothing but threaten people and drum up support for Zanu pf. In as much as most ministry were audited and the ghost workers fired, Zanu pf has protected the youth officers in the ministry of youth. After taking over the presidency it was reported that some of the youth officers have been relived of their duties, only for the same youth officers to be reinstated before the elections. the ministry of youth has been an Achilles tendon thus the government must deal with this issue once and for all. Furthermore there is a lot of duplication of roles in most ministries-director generals, directors, deputy directors to mention but a few. These must be streamlined so that there is clear role definition. The other huge problem is the one of war veterans who still need to be sustained by the government. The question being how many war veterans are there right now? A fact is that there are many ghost war veterans who are getting allowances from the government yet they never fought in the liberation war at all. An audit is very necessary so that genuine war vets are catered for-right now we have war vets who are getting allowances were aged 10 years at independence thus questioning their genius. The govt has been all talk but no action at all and it has been protecting institutions which support the govt at the expense of the ordinary citizens. If an audit by a private firm is done in the ministry of youth and the war vets, and the ghost workers exposed and fired then that is appraisable.

  2. Also consider re-looking at perks being paid to senior civil servants, eg fuel allowances, domestic worker allowances, cell phone allowances and salaries themselves. I personally do not think it is rationale pay a Commissioner to an independent Commission a salary of over $ 5000 on top of a host of allowances from a broke government like ours. These officials are earning more than what is being earned by private sector executives. They are driving Government cars that are more expensive than their private sector counter parts, yet Government is a non profit making enterprise. Pse consider rationalising all such issues among others and Zimbabwe will economically become a bread basket of Africa and beyond.

  3. Kuwiriranakwakanakakugarakunzwanana Garanewakomurudohamandishe

    Comment…VaHungwe, pahurongwa hwakadayi apataugwe nezve CHOICE asi MUST. Nyaya iyi yakanetsa 2009-2013 vaBiti vari Gurukota rezvemari. Zvataugwa kudaro kwakahi muHurumende amuna zvipoko zvevashandi. Zvino nhasi vashandi zvipoko zvabvepi? Ndozvinonetsera kutungamidza zvematongerwo enyika apa tichida kugadzirisa zvehupfumi hwenyika. Nekudaro, munyika muno hamudi Hurumende yemubatanidzwazve. Nekuti anenge angova makakatanwa chete mumabasa. Priminister paya avana kumbopiwa mukana kana wekugara neMakurukota eHurumende. VaHungwe, sezvo mataura nezvazvo kudayi, ndovimba 2018 ahapere izvi zvisati zvaitwa. It should not be a CHOICE but a MUST. Nekuti mukasadaro vana nevazukuru vachagara nhaka yenhamo munyika muno. Ini fambe ini fambe ini teyerereeeeeeeee. ESAP, KUBVISKWA KWEMAZERO. KUSHAIKWA KWEZVINHU MUZVITORO 2003-2009. Nhasi uno TAKE THE PAIN. Ewokaaaaa mukwidza chete kuvene veZimbabwe. Kuchembera nenhamo.

  4. Kuwiriranakwakanakugarakunzwanana Garanewakomurudohamandishe

    VaHungwe, pahurongwa hwakadayi apataugwe nezve CHOICE asi MUST. Nyaya iyi yakanetsa 2009-2013 vaBiti vari Gurukota rezvemari. Zvataugwa kudaro kwakahi muHurumende amuna zvipoko zvevashandi. Zvino nhasi vashandi zvipoko zvabvepi? Ndozvinonetsera kutungamidza zvematongerwo enyika apa tichida kugadzirisa zvehupfumi hwenyika. Nekudaro, munyika muno hamudi Hurumende yemubatanidzwazve. Nekuti anenge angova makakatanwa chete mumabasa. Priminister paya avana kumbopiwa mukana kana wekugara neMakurukota eHurumende. VaHungwe, sezvo mataura nezvazvo kudayi, ndovimba 2018 ahapere izvi zvisati zvaitwa. It should not be a CHOICE but a MUST. Nekuti mukasadaro vana nevazukuru vachagara nhaka yenhamo munyika muno. Ini fambe ini fambe ini teyerereeeeeeeee. ESAP, KUBVISKWA KWEMAZERO. KUSHAIKWA KWEZVINHU MUZVITORO 2003-2009. Nhasi uno TAKE THE PAIN. Ewokaaaaa mukwidza chete kuvene veZimbabwe. Kuchembera nenhamo.

  5. Please start with all the old horses retired from government to Chibuku House who are still being given ministerial salaries and benefits!!

  6. Its amazing how much Hungwe talks but says nothing. Its either the civil service is overstaffed or not. Its either someone has a job description, duties etc or not. Its either any productive work is being done or not. Very simple when politics is set aside to clear the air. A simple requirement would be to ask for O level certificates of education to determine suitability to be employed or age to retire those needing to be retired. Inability to answer simple questions like these bring out an element of incompetence on the part of the officials themselves.

  7. Shut up already about the perennial high sounding targeting of ghost workers. Nothing will ever come out of this exercise. It’s all politics with these guys.

  8. Anyone in management who blames “the system” for employing more people than required does NOT deserve to be in that position. A simple and better way to rationalise staffing requirements is via job description then move on to reporting structures. A top down approach can also work by defining departmental/ministerial objectives drilled down to individual accountability. There are obviously no controls in this govt hence things have gone “out of control”.

  9. In addition to disbanding the ministry of youth the economy cannot afford the obscenity of the so-called Ministry of Women’s Affairs,which in essence was initially created to accommodate unskilled female ex combatants at independence but now being abused to accommodate single mother small-houses of the shefs. The police force and the rest of the security sector has not been left behind as it has also recruited huge numbers of females not on merit or as a noble cause of women empowerment but as chimbwidos for the so-called shefs. These must be discharged forthwith or alternatively redeployed to ARDA estates and War Veterans farms to provide farmhand labour.

  10. tendai chaminuka

    Repeating same issue.Imi don’t be political when dealing with issues.Ghost workers anogara achingotaurwa ye in ye out.Tibvigwe.

  11. Dwayne Williams

    People have learnt to say what the citizens want to hear, but the required action drags on forever. Ghost workers, driving out corruption, commissions of inquiries, diaspora vote, removing POSA/AIPPA, boost local production, all nice things to hear, but even better things to DO. It’s nearly 1 year since the soft coup, but things seem worse off.

    Removing ghost workers isn’t enough!! Recover the money from the beneficiaries and jail them. All too often, we let people who are corrupt walk free after we stop their operations.

    To date, how much money has been recovered, lost to corrupt activities? Instead, the citizens get a 2% tax, whilst thieves get a pat on the back.

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