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MBABANE - While civil servants were categorised as an essential service, there has been a twist on how they are expected to work.

The twist is that the number of civil servants to be at work each week will be reduced by half, with some working from home, while others will be working at their duty stations. This was announced by the Minister of Public Service Christian Ntshangase, yesterday. This, he said, would be effective from Monday March 30, 2020.  It is also in line with government’s effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This, according to Ntshangase, will be done on a rotational basis each week. He said that principal secretaries (PS) and heads of department were to decide on how that was to be implemented.


However, essential services within the civil service which include, among others; fire and emergency services, health services, meteorology services and security services will not be affected by the rotational basis schedule as they are expected to be fully at work to provide assistance during this period of the pandemic. “The Ministry of Public Service will issue a circular with full details on this issue,” stated the minister. This directive follows the advice of the Labour Advisory Board (LAB) to the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Makhosi Vilakati.


The LAB had a meeting on Monday and Tuesday at the Directorate of Industrial and Vocational Training Centre (DIVT), in Mbabane. The agenda of the meeting was putting in place employment contingency measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The LAB recommendations, which have the acting Labour Commissioner, Mthunzi Shabangu, Employer Vice Chairperson Bheki Maziya and Alternate Worker’s Vice Chairperson Patrick Mamba as signatories to the report, recommended that some government offices or departments should have a scale down of operations. The scale down was recommended that it should be in the form of shift work, homework or short-time.


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