Two officials on paid suspension cost department over R2m, Jeff Radebe says

Cape Town – Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has told Parliament that over the past year, two senior management service officials in his department have been on nearly a year of paid suspension each, at a combined cost of R2.6m.

Radebe was replying to a written question from Freedom Front Plus MP Anton Alberts, who asked whether all the department's members of senior management services declared their financial interests for the past year, as required by Public Service Regulations.

Government departments and entities have experienced well-documented difficulties in preventing senior officials from doing business with the state. Public Service Regulations seek to curb this practice. 

Former president Jacob Zuma signed the Public Administration Management Act in 2014, officially banning officials from owning businesses which supply to the state.

Alberts also wanted to know whether non-compliant senior management service members had been charged for flouting what was now a law.

In his reply, Radebe said all the senior management service members declared their financial interests for the year 2017/ 2018, except for three. He said this was an oversight from the officials who missed the concession deadline of 31 May 2018.

The process was currently underway wherein non-complaint senior management service members would be issued with written warnings for failure to declare their interests by the due date, he said.

Asked how many senior management service members were on paid suspension, Radebe said two were suspended with full pay, each for more than 300 days.

"There are currently two officials that are suspended on full salary. Both the employees are on post level 15.

"One employee was suspended on 19 May 2017, which is a total of 396 days. The other was suspended on 27 July 2017, which is a total of 327 days," said Radebe.

Radebe said the total cost attached to days of service lost as a result of the first official's suspension on full pay was R1 453 379.62.

The second official's total cost, also days of service lost to suspension on full pay, was R1 234 357.92.

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