In line with the 2016 public service regulations, which came into effect in August 2016, the Department of Public Service and Administration is considering punishing government employees doing business with the state.
Last year, government workers were given until January 2017 to either relinquish their interests or resign from the public service.
At the time, The Governance and Administration cluster led by Public Service and Administration Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi told reporters that the reviewed Public Service Regulations includes clauses that prohibit government officials being directors of companies in business with state organs.
The regulation also prohibited public servants from accepting gifts, which can be regarded as bribes.
Ramatlhodi disclosed that public servants were subsequently issued a circular which asked them to disclose any business dealings with government at the time.
In the early hours of today, The governance and administration cluster reiterated the government’s plan to punish public workers who are still doing business with the state.
Briefing the media on their plans, the cluster said the decision was prompted by President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said his department is still compiling a list of public servants who failed to comply with the new regulations.
He said once the process is finalized, disciplinary processes will be instituted against defaulters.
The sentiment was also echoed by Public Service Deputy Minister Ayanda Dlodo. Dlodo emphatically stressed that any government worker who fails to either resign from business or government will be heavily dealt with.
The speakers agreed that public service employees who do business with organs of state threaten good governance and the public’s trust in government institutions.
In 2014, President Jacob Zuma signed into law the Public Administration Management Act, 2014 which prohibits public servants doing business with the state.
Act No. 11 of Public Administration Management Act, 2014 stipulated that “failure to comply with this prohibition constitutes serious misconduct which may result in the termination of employment by the employer.”
The Act also requires employees to disclose their financial interests, as “Failure to comply with the obligation to disclose the financial interest as required constitutes misconduct.”
There is no gainsaying the fact that disclosures of financial interests would serve as a mini-lifestyle audit of public servants.