Employment scenarios for the public service in South Africa
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The public service is a significant source of employment in South Africa, accounting for about 13% to 14% of formal employment. Until recently, it played a diminishing role, dampening employment growth in the economy. What should its role be in employment creation, if any? This is a particularly important question in the context of high structural unemployment, with a labour market that is characterised by serious racial bias.
The uppermost question that must be answered is what role an expanding public service might play in promoting growth and service delivery.
The second question relates to a specific labour market role often associated with public employment. The state can be an important source of jobs for marginalised people, whether due to race, region, age, networks or experience.
This paper reviews these two questions and then considers possible scenarios for public service employment to 2014.