South Africa

PSC warns government against irregular appointments

VARIOUS national government and provincial governments have been ordered by the Public Service Commission (PSC) to immediately reverse a number of irregular appointments and discipline officials who were responsible for the transgressions.

These government departments were also ordered to pay their service providers.

This is contained in the PSC quarterly report, from January until March this year, released by commissioner Mike Seloane.

According to Seloane, the PSC received 334 complaints during the fourth quarter of the 2020/2021 – saying 185 related to alleged irregularities in personnel practices, such as appointments, transfers, and other career management in the departments.

The remaining 149 related to alleged irregularities related to public administration practises, such as financial management, personnel provisioning and administration, supply chain management, and lack of service delivery.

“Emanating from the 230 complaints finalised, 100 were found to be unsubstantiated, 74 were closed due to the fact that they did not fall within the mandate of the PSC, or closed due to the fact that the complaint was vague or lacked detail.

“The remaining 56 complaints were found to be substantiated. In instances where the allegations were found to be substantiated, the PSC issued recommendations, advice or directives to the executive authorities (ministers and MECs) to take action on the areas identified. These recommendations mainly relate to the institution of disciplinary action, or that executive authorities should approach the court to correct irregular appointments,” Seloane said.

He also revealed that the PSC managed to stop these irregularities, after complaints were lodged on time. According to Seloane – a complaint was lodged regarding an irregular appointment at the Western Cape’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport. As a result of PSC intervention, the department agreed to appoint a new chairperson of the selection committee, and to restart the short-listing and selection process.

In other cases, the PSC found a complaint of appointment irregularities to be substantiated at the Gauteng Department of e-Government. The PSC recommended that the MEC should approach the labour court to set aside the decision to promote an official and request the office of the state attorney's assistance to recover the money that was wrongfully paid.

In a case of maladministration at the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development, the PSC recommended that the MEC, through the legal service unit of the department, approach the office of the state attorney to determine the correct legal course – in respect of the recovering the money wrongfully paid to employees and the reversal of salary notches. The PSC further recommended disciplinary actions against employees, in terms of the relevant disciplinary code and procedure.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the PSC assisted a service provider, who complained about the Department of Education failing to pay for services rendered.

The PSC also assisted an ex-employee of the Department of Defence to correct his appointment date at the Government Employee Pension Fund, as this had a negative impact on his pension pay-out.

In Limpopo, the PSC assisted an employee of the Health Department to ensure that an unlawful suspension was lifted and for the official to return to work.

“The PSC noted that most of its investigations have yielded positive results in improving good governance and accountability in the public service,” Seloane said.

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