South Africa’s Government plans to integrate hotlines

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As more government departments set up their own hotlines, the Presidency says plans are under way to integrate these into one.

Following announcements by the Department of Labour that it would set up a hotline to monitor the performance of public servants, the Presidency says there is a growing need to integrate the services.

“We are now looking at how we can promote existing hotlines within government structures. We are currently working on integrating existing hotlines. This needs to be done in order to effect service delivery by increasing our capacity scale," says the Presidency.

Director-general of the Department of Labour Jimmy Manyi says a hotline would be set up in November to monitor the performance of public servants at labour centres.

Several hotlines are operated by government departments. The Presidency has its own hotline, which fields complaints on all government departments and agencies. The Public Service Commission operates the national anti-corruption hotline, while the Department of Trade and Industry recently set up a hotline to fast-track payment backlogs to small and medium enterprises.

The Department of Public Works recently established a dedicated call centre to improve its payment times to service providers. The Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Compensation Fund – which are both bodies of the labour department – have operated corruption and complaint hotlines for several years already.

However, no specific plans have been drawn up to integrate the various services provided by the different hotlines, says the Presidency.

While admitting that a lack of capacity had contributed to poor compliance levels and poor enforcement of legislation, Manyi says the creation of the hotline would ensure the public sector complies with labour laws.

"If a labour centre is constantly receiving negative reports from people who call the hotline, steps will be taken against the implicated office. In the event that the office is not performing, such information will be evaluated and used during performance evaluations."

The department says it will develop a central case management system, which includes recording, referral, tracking, monitoring and risk analysis. The technology system will keep a record of all calls, names of the callers, ID numbers, the nature of complaints and monitor how long it took to resolve complaints, says the department.

Manyi adds that a 10% penalty levy of a company's turnover would be enforced on non-complying employers. Failure to comply with employment equity issues, occupational heath and safety and the basic conditions of employment would be punished, he says.