DA calls for review of Public Service Regulations as public service employees continue to conduct business with the State unabated

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to urgently review the efficacy and effectiveness of the Public Service Regulations of 2016 (Regulations). This follows the shocking revelations made to the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration (Portfolio Committee), on Wednesday, highlighting the lack of compliance and accountability in relation to these Regulations.

It was revealed to the Portfolio Committee that senior officials within the State Security Agency (SSA) having failed to submit financial disclosure forms as is required by Regulations 18 and 19 of the Regulations.

As at the due date, of 31 May 2020, the Public Service Commission (PSC) had received 98% of financial disclosure forms from members of the Senior Management Service (SMS) in the public service. However, 2% of the outstanding financial disclosure forms are attributable to the SSA. According to the PSC, when probed on its non-disclosure, the SSA indicated it was under the impression that its SMS members were exempt from making these financial disclosures as such disclosures may compromise the security of the country.

The DA rejects this weak excuse from the SSA, as the nature of these financial disclosures, are personal in nature and have absolutely no bearing on the work or mandate of the SSA. Clearly, the SSA senior management is attempting to evade transparency under the guise of ‘national security’.

Another critical disclosure made during the Portfolio Committee meeting was that no public service employee has, to date, been prosecuted and convicted for conducting business with the State as per the requirements of Regulation 13 (c) of the Public Service Regulations of 2016 and Section 8 of the Public Administration Management Act. The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) started monitoring the implementation of these Regulations in 2017.

Furthermore according to the DPSA, as at January 2021, it had singled out 484 public service employees that are possibly conducting business with the State.

Although efforts have been made to establish an inter-departmental team to address this issue, we remain concerned by the lack of political will to actually take action against alleged offenders. The low or non-existent prosecution and conviction rate is also concerning. As long as public service employees that have been identified as conducting business with the State are not being investigated, found guilty, successfully prosecuted and convicted, this brazen corruption will continue unabated.

There is clearly a massive challenge when it comes to the enforcement of the Regulations. It is for this reason that the DA will push for a comprehensive review of the Regulations to ensure that they are effective and implemented and enforced across all national and provincial government departments.