Government Suspensions Costing Province Money

Andrew Louw, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Leader

The Democratic Alliance is to submit parliamentary questions to acting Premier, Grizelda Cjiekella, regarding the suspensions of officials in provincial government departments. This follows on our concerns that processes delaying the finalization of precautionary suspensions in the public service are costing the Northern Cape thousands of rands in wasteful expenditure.

A recent reply to a national DA parliamentary question revealed that the average period to finalize disciplinary cases involving precautionary suspensions was 444 days for provinces. This is in spite of the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council Resolution 1 of 2003 prescribing a 60 day limit for precautionary suspensions. In effect, this means that provinces are taking 384 days longer than they should to finalise such cases. However, every additional day to finalise a suspension comes at a cost.

In a November 2011 Public Service Commission (PSC) report, it is stated that according to the Department of Public Service and Administration’s (DPSA) internal report, the state spent almost R46 million on employees who were placed on precautionary suspension. The Northern Cape meanwhile spent R598 940,36 on two suspended employees. However, it is further stated that the total number of employees on precautionary suspensions as well as the amount spent on them could be much higher considering that not all departments provided the necessary data to the DPSA.

It is unacceptable to blame delays in finalising these cases on the unavailability of representatives and chairpersons, or on delays with the pronouncement of outcomes and logistical arrangements for witnesses. Such excuses do not cut it. We cannot have a situation where PSCBC resolutions are routinely ignored. Our public service simply cannot afford it and our people will continue to lose out on effective service delivery if public money is monopolised to pay suspended officials.

The DA thus wants to establish the true extent of this problem in the Northern Cape, as it is clear that prolonged suspensions are a massive cost factor. We will ask the acting premier for a breakdown of all pending disciplinary cases, as well as a detailed summary of all suspensions that occurred in the past three years.

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