Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle is set to launch a thorough investigation on “irregular and suspiciously fraudulent” sick leave in the provincial government system.
A report tabled during the province executive council meeting indicated that 32,000 public servants were on sick leave of between 96 days and six years. To this effect, he has instructed all Members of Executive Council to tender reports to him on the matter by March 15.
According to provincial spokesman Sizwe Kupelo, Masualle planned to set up a task team that will dive into action and probe the “irregular and suspiciously fraudulent” sick leave witnessed in the province.
Kupelo added that the investigation was necessitated by continuous suspicions that some employees usually lie about their health status while others were running private businesses while on the government payroll.
The Eastern Cape has over 30,000 public servants receiving their salaries while they are at home on prolonged sick leave, with some having stayed off work for more than six years.
Masualle is a member of the African National Congress (ANC) party. He was appointed the premier of Eastern Cape in 2014. Since his appointment, Masualle has made notable changes in the province.
Last week Friday, the premier said in his State of the Province Address in King William’s Town that the province would increase its contribution to the tertiary education of disadvantaged youths by R16.3m this year. With this feat, an additional 300 financially handicapped students at institutions in the province will be reduced. He added that this was over and above the R20.1m that would be made available in the 2016/17 budget.
“We are committed to working with youth formations to ensure the youths get gainful employment and to encourage and support youth entrepreneurship by providing both financial and non-financial support,” Masualle said.
The province had pleaded with the Sector Education and Training Authorities to help Technical Vocational Education and Training college students with the sum of R75 to help them get workplace.
Also, he announced that more than R129 million would be mapped out to help Eastern Cape farmers who were affected by the drought. The premier had targeted cropping 300,000 hectares. Also, the province planted 195 421 ha of maize, in which 3670 small holders participated.
“As a province that is largely rural, we remain seized with the critically important priority of stimulating rural development, land reform and food security in the province,” he said in a copy of his State of the Province Address.
“A total of 3409 households were given seedlings and gardening equipment. This had happened against the backdrop of one of the harshest droughts to ever hit the province, especially in the Joe Gqabi, Alfred Nzo, Chris Hani, OR Tambo, and Amathole districts, Masualle said.
Masualle has expressed hope of turning certain traditional practices around in the Eastern Cape. He said this when 43 young boys out of 42,225 initiates, died during the last circumcision season in the Eastern Cape.
He made this assurance in a copy of his State of the Province Address, “It saddens us though to see families grieving the loss of their children as a result of botched circumcisions.”
“Clearly, we cannot allow this situation to continue like this.”