- Acting Minister of Public Service and Administration Thulas Nxesi says suspended government officials still need to be paid.
- According to Nxesi, when a person is suspended, it does not mean the person is guilty of an offence.
- At the end of April 2020, the department found 1 539 government employees were conducting business with the state.
Retaining suspended managers found to be conducting business with the state and paying them a salary is required in law while the official is still being investigated and not found guilty of any offence.
This was the reason given by acting Minister of Public Service and Administration Thulas Nxesi, in his response to a written parliamentary question from EFF MP Rosina Ntshetsana Komane, who wanted the reasons behind the government's decision to retain managers who were found doing business with the state.
“When a person is suspended, it does not mean the person is guilty of an offence. An employee is only placed on suspension when there is a real fear that the person will intimidate witnesses and/or tamper with (or destroy) evidence. Suspension is, therefore, a measure to ensure a disciplinary hearing continues without interruption and not an indication of guilt,” Nxesi said.
Previously, News24 reported that the government had not recovered a single cent from dodgy public servants doing business with the state.
Law enforcement agencies were assisting the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to identify the culprits. However, in most cases still under investigation, no money had been recouped.
Furthermore, Nxesi said while employees were still being investigated for conducting business with the state, they would receive their full salary even if they were suspended.
“Only once a disciplinary process is concluded and a person is found guilty and sanctioned to be dismissed, that employee’s salary will be terminated. Other than that, it would be illegal to stop an employee’s salary,” he added.
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The government had around 1 500 employees in its sight for doing business with the state, but said few would be apprehended as many resigned before being held liable.
At the end of April 2020, the department found 1 539 government employees were conducting business with the state, of which 1 111 were working at provincial and 428 at national departments.
The National Treasury started a process in 2017 to identify government employees doing business with the state.
In KwaZulu-Natal, employees at 13 provincial departments were possibly doing business with an organ of state.
In Gauteng, public servants at 11 provincial departments were possibly conducting business with the state. In the troubled North West, eight departments have employees possibly doing business with the state.
In the Eastern Cape, staff at 11 provincial departments could have possibly scored tenders from the government.
Employees at nine Limpopo provincial departments were alleged to have done business with the state.
Public servants at 10 Mpumalanga government departments were allegedly doing business with the state. In the Free State, the same number of departments had employees doing business with an organ of the state.