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Mpumalanga departments waste R9m on loafing officials - DA

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Mpumalanga DA leader Jane Sithole says that public service employers should stick to the disciplinary procedures as contained in the DPSA guide and ensure that effective systems are in place to prevent protracted suspensions. Photo: Alet Joubert
Mpumalanga DA leader Jane Sithole says that public service employers should stick to the disciplinary procedures as contained in the DPSA guide and ensure that effective systems are in place to prevent protracted suspensions. Photo: Alet Joubert

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Mpumalanga government has allegedly spent more than R9 million paying loafing officials who have been suspended for over 60 days. 

According to the department of public service and administration's (DPSA) guide on precautionary suspensions, an employer must hold a disciplinary hearing within a month or 60 calendar days and strive to complete an investigation within 14 days of the suspension.

That has, however, not been the case in Mpumalanga, the DA said.

The party said that the 2021/22 annual reports for departments revealed that six departments spent more than R9 million on salaries for 47 suspended officials who had not attended disciplinary hearings within 60 calendar days.

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The breakdown of the expenditure is as follows:

·       Department of health spent R5 917 889 on 25 officials serving a suspension for over a year; 

·       Public works, roads and transport spent R870 588 on five officials who have been suspended for 137 days; 

·       The office of the premier spent R602 306 on two officials suspended for 210 days; 

·       Department of social development spent R507 395 on one official suspended for 270 days; and 

·       Agriculture, rural development, land and evironmental affairs spent R400 916 on one official suspended for 49 days.

 “With huge service delivery shortages in Mpumalanga,” said provincial DA leader Jane Sithole, “the DA finds it extremely concerning that since 2016, our spending on precautionary suspension has almost tripled from being just over R3.4 million a year to R9 million in the 2021/22 financial year.”

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Sithole said that public service employers should stick to the disciplinary procedures as contained in the DPSA guide and ensure that effective systems were in place to prevent protracted suspensions, use precautionary suspension only when all avenues had proven fruitless and opt to use a precautionary transfer when possible.

The DPSA guide recommends the re-assignment of duties or transfer and says that it shall always be given priority over a precautionary suspension to curb expenditure while salaries are paid with no services rendered.

Agriculture, rural development, land and environmental affairs spokesperson Zanele Shabangu denied that her department spent R400 916 and said that it duly complied with the guide. “The alleged amount of R400 916 is incorrect because the correct figure for 49 days on precautionary suspension is R203 281.40,” Shabangu said.

Public works, roads and transport spokesperson Bongani Dlamini admitted that there were officials suspended for over 60 days but said that the matters were complex personal protective equipment (PPE) cases and the DPSA guide allowed for lengthier suspensions in such cases.

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“The clause referred to states that if an employee is suspended or transferred as a precautionary measure, the employer must hold a disciplinary hearing within a month or 60 days, depending on the complexity of the matter and the length of the investigation. The chair of the hearing must then decide on any further postponement,” Dlamini said.

 “In terms of the above, the employer is allowed to place an employee on precautionary suspension with full pay well over 60 days due to the complexity of the matter and length of the investigation as per the charges of the five officials (fraud and corruption on procurement of PPEs,” he added. 

The office of the premier, social development and health spokespersons did not respond.


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