PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

QUESTION NO.: 299
Date.: 24 Feb 2012

Mr L Ramatlakane (Cope) to ask the Minister for the Public Service and Administration:

Whether she has found that any public servants have benefited from private business because as public servants they have access to government information; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) who has allegedly benefited from such business because of their standing in the Government and (b) what measures are in place to ensure that public servants do not benefit from business because of their status in the Public Service?

NW377E

REPLY


I have not been presented with specific cases where public servants have benefited from private businesses because they have access to government information. It must be noted that using internal government information for personal gain is regarded as misconduct. This is punishable in terms of the Public Service Disciplinary Code and Chapter 7 of the SMS Handbook. As I have indicated in replies similar to this one, creating a professional public service with integrity is a priority for us and we will be looking into this matter closely to ensure that cases referred to by the Honourable member are eliminated.

Currently, there are measures aimed at ensuring that officials maintain high ethical standards, both in their conduct and their relationships with others. For instance, Chapter 2 (Code of Conduct) of the Public Service Regulations prohibits public servants from:
  1. Using official position to obtain private benefits during performance of official duties; and
  2. Using or disclosing any official information for personal gain or the gain of others.

Therefore, it would be unethical of public servants who doing business to use their official positions to gain private benefits. Any official who contravenes these provisions are guilty of misconduct and shall be dealt with in accordance with the Disciplinary Code.

DPSA is the custodian of the Financial Disclosure Framework; however, the Public Service Regulations are conferring power to the Public Service Commission to manage the register of designated officials' interest. Apart from the requirement that SMS members should declare their business interests in terms of SMS Handbook, chapter 3 of the Public Service Regulations the Treasury Regulations 16A.8 on Compliance with Ethical Standard, 16A.9 on Avoiding Abuse of Supply Chain Management System and the National Treasury Practice Notice No. 7 of 2009/10 SCM - Declaration of Interest: Amendment and Augmentation of standard Bidding Document (SBD4) are used to ensure that public servants and their families do not benefit as per the Honourable member's question.


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