The government’s paper-based job application process has been criticized

A group of young unemployed South Africans are organizing an online protest against the government’s traditional paper-based job application process.

They say the old system is an expensive and unnecessary exercise, in a country that promotes the so-called digital economy.

Nearly 6,000 young people have signed an online petition on Change.orgcalling on the government to digitize its civil service application processes by providing various online options, such as email or online job portals, to apply for vacancies.

South Africans are required to complete and submit a Z83 form, along with certified qualification documents, when applying for government positions.

Protesters say while public sector vacancies are advertised online, the government still requires most applications to be submitted manually via post – a process they say is inconvenient and “stuck in the past.” “.

In addition, the South African Post is charged with an obligation to provide nationwide services; however, it is unable to efficiently deliver the mail on time, causing their requests to miss the deadline, they say.

“That all government departments use e-mail services for vacancies. It takes time and the financial implications are much greater when you use the postal services to find a job. Let us use the science and technology we have to also be part of the fourth industrial revolution,” says Gaopaleloe Bhekani Mooketsi, who started the petition.

“When you have scanned copies of documents, you are able to use them for a period of six consecutive months without having to constantly make copies and certify them. This will allow young unemployed people like me to focus on finding data instead of having to print/photocopy every time they apply for a ministry position. »

In 2018, the Public Service and Administration Department (DPSA) implemented a web solution for its recruitment processes.

Dubbed e-Job, the DPSA’s recruitment website was intended to ensure applicants were able to complete a digital Z83 form, as well as upload all relevant employment documents online. However, the site is currently unavailable.

“The e-recruitment system is the start of a process to introduce paperless administration throughout the civil service,” said Ayanda Dlodlo, who was then DPSA minister.

Last year, the current DPSA minister, Thulas Nxesi, launched a job center in KwaZulu-Natal.

The initiative includes a national online system, Employment Services South Africa (ESSA), to connect job seekers with employers looking for skills. Job seekers must register online and specify their professional background and qualifications.

However, according to the petition, the system is ineffective.

“ESSA should be upgraded and updated, and integrated/merged with the government e-services portal. This will allow young unemployed people like me to easily apply online.

The latest Labor Force Survey from Stats SA paints a grim picture of a youth unemployment rate of 65.5% in the country.

SA’s unemployment rate is now the upper worldwide, according to analysts, with 7.9 million unemployed.

For years, the internet has been a valuable tool in the job market, globally and locally, with online recruitment becoming mainstream across industries.

A comment from someone who signed the petition reads: “Emails will make applying for jobs easy and secure. We will all have the opportunity to submit an application rather than having to travel to submit an application. »

Another said: “I’m signing this because I want efficiency and to save our brothers and sisters money from printing and taking taxis unnecessarily. It is a question of efficiency and transparency.

Responding to ITWeb via email, Nyiko Mabunda, DPSA Acting Deputy Director General for Human Resource Management and Development, said the government offers various methods for candidates to submit applications.

“These methods include electronic platforms, post and email. DPSA has previously encouraged departments to use email facilities for handling responses.

“The recruitment process and practice is constantly evolving through scrutiny, keeping citizens at the center and under the auspices of the legal framework. The DPSA has issued Circular 19 of 2022 to reduce costs for applicants in the recruitment process. In accordance with this circular, DPSA supports initiatives to digitize recruitment processes,” says Mabunda.