SCORES of dignitaries from the President’s Office, high echelons of civil service from the Public Service Commission, Government ministries, departments and agencies; as well as artists and members of the media converged at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare on Wednesday 12 October 2022 to bid farewell to Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe. As the outgoing Secretary Service Commissions, Amb. Wutawunashe was celebrated with much ceremony at this fun and pomp function attended by over 200 guests who included members of the Public Service Commission from not only Head Office in Harare but also from all the provinces.
Amb. Wutawunashe, who served Government for 42 of his 67 years of age was hailed at the ceremony as a transformative leader who took the mantle at the helm of the Service Commissions at the onset of the Second Republic in 2018. With a mandate to set the Service Commissions on course for take-off on a trajectory in line with the national imperatives of Vision 2030, Amb. Wutawunashe spearheaded the transfiguration of the structure and workstreams of the Public Service Commission in a bid to make them fit for purpose and more equal to the task of pursuing targets and goals of NDS 1 and NDS 2.
The outgoing Secretary will be remembered for a tenure that coincided with the establishment of the Public Service Academy – a 14-institutionstrong training entity that is driving the training and developing of the Government human capital into a higher performing workforce with sound ethics; the introduction of a new talent management focus backed up by a strengthened remuneration framework with more benefits accruing to the workforce.
In this context a basket of non- monetary benefits was introduced and extended to complement the monetary benefits. These included the Government Employees Mutual Savings (GEMS) Fund a wealth creation programme geared at inculcating a savings culture and a lifestyle improving facility.
As a revolving fund, GEMS, is a source of affordable loans enabling civil servants to borrow for purposes including paying for tuition, for home improvement projects, building homes, starting income generating projects. Other non-monetary benefits extended to civil servants include the rebate on Vehicle Import Duty which affords qualifying civil servants the opportunity to import vehicles duty-free, housing loan guarantees and other accommodation provision schemes for public servants, among others.
Other Commission successes during Secretary Wutawunashe’s tenure, include but are not limited to the following:
- The Public Service Commission easing well into its new function as a member of the Tripartite and participating not just in matters of personnel performance but also in other issues of central Government requiring transformation;
- Reduction of the civil servants’ wage bill from over 90 percent of national revenue to below 50 percent. It was also during this period that civil servants’ pay dates, which had towards the end of the First Republic started to be erratic and denoting fiscal unpredictability, normalised and, today, the Second Republic boasts a predictable, steady, well supplied and supported payroll schedule;
- The establishment of transformative structures and nomenclatures for Line Ministries in line with the Devolution and Decentralisation Agenda leading to the defining and deploying of new functions and staff; Very notable in this context is the deployment of, among others, Economists to the provinces;
- The establishment and operationalisation of the Public Service Academy;
- Launching of the Sexual Harassment Policy, work is also ongoing on a Disability Policy; and
- Work to amend the State Service Pensions Bill; and the alignment of the Public Service Amendment Bill to the Constitution; is nearing completion.