16 September 2020, Pretoria – The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has taken the unusual step of employing over 700 cleaning staff, who were previously subcontracted, as permanent employees.
SARS has in previous years contracted cleaning services for its offices, but due to the contracts expiring every year, the organisation implemented a project to insource the cleaning staff permanently. The initiative will see 769 cleaning staff joining the ranks of SARS employees from 31 October 2020.
In explaining this decision, which bucks the conventional trend to outsource “non-core” services, Commissioner Kieswetter explains: “While at times it makes commercial sense to insource certain services, like facilities cleaning and security, it is not always the best value proposition for the individual employees. When we reviewed the renewal of these services, we realised that our reduced requirements for office space would lead to a reduced service with fewer number of individuals, and depending on who the successful bidder ends up being appointed, it would likely have a negative impact on a large number of employees as well as be disruptive for everyone concerned.
“We also wanted to create a sense of belonging for these employees who, for all intents and purposes, but for their formal employment contract, worked for SARS. This new arrangement brings job certainty and greater dignity to the affected individuals. In our evaluation of the decision, we also realised that a number of the cleaning staff were sufficiently qualified, and have the potential, subject to development, to progress and be considered for career progression within SARS, but would also become more employable beyond SARS. In a country with tragically high levels of unemployment, we could not contemplate a decision that would have implied potentially over 300 individuals joining the ranks of the unemployed. I am pleased that we were able to improve the prospect for affected individuals without additional cost to SARS.”
The employees identified for career progression will be upskilled in other SARS disciplines and placed into vacancies, as and when vacancies become available, within the organization, where they can further develop themselves professionally.
With the country’s unemployment levels being so high, SARS is proud to make a difference in the lives of South African citizens, who, as permanent employees, will also receive benefits such as membership to the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF), medical aid and group life cover as part of their total packages.
SARS is also currently working on considering a similar approach for our security services in the continued battle to reduce unemployment in our country.
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