Hiring civil servants should not be politically motivated. That was the word from Public Service Minister Ayanda Dlodlo . She was addressing the Association of African Public Service Commissions in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The IMF has recently warned South Africa to slash its bloated public service bill.

Working for the state – usually a noble calling to ensure quality delivery of services. Civil servants expected to exude humility, honesty and duty to the country.

Yet, in many African countries, it’s simply a kick-back.

In South Africa, poorly skilled people have often been politically deployed to top posts.

SA Public Service Commission, Adv. Richard Sizani says: “It’s a problem especially in South Africa because unlike other PSCs they appoint but here its politicians who appoint, we just monitor. But we say appoint capable people to deliver. What we totally reject is people being picked up on the streets because they are not going to deliver.”

Gambia Public Service Commission, Awa-Jow Auber adds that “The concurrences we have from the executive, all we have to do is agree. We only hope this will change. Give us more power.”

The Association of African Public Service Commissions was founded in 2008. Members say many countries change civil servants when governments change. This breeds poor economies and instability.

Lesotho’s High Commissioner Ralechate Mokose says, “Whenever there was change within the space of these five years, the tendency was for incoming government to want to have its own people politically and this has rather contributed towards instability.”

For South Africa the biggest challenge is still a bloated public wage bill. At 35% of the budget it is double the average of other emerging economies.

Public Service Minister Ayanda Dlodlo says, “As Minister, we have make government an employer of choice.”

But to the question: How do you balance the bloated wage bill and service delivery? She answers: “Those matters where people are brought into the organisation via the back door, but it’s not only the ministers, it could also be the DGs and DDGs. So we need to have systems and processes that speak to the mandate,” Dlodlo explained.

Dlodlo addressed Chairpersons of Public Service Commissions and Diplomats from South Africa and other Anglophone countries.

The IMF has warned South Africa to slash its wage bill. And the Association of Public Service Commission says creating politically neutral public servants is the only way to effective service delivery, and economic growth.