Frequently asked questions

Q: Do Special Advisers qualify for leave pay-out/discounting upon their resignation?

A: The Leave Dispensation applicable to employees in the Public Service is also applicable to Special Advisers appointed in terms of section 12A of the Public Service Act, 1994. Therefore, any provisions for leave payouts provided for in the Leave Dispensation are also applicable to Special Advisers.

Q: Can a person who has been appointed as a Special Adviser opt to contribute to the GEPF?

A: If a person was admitted to the GEPF based on the post that he or she has occupied in the Public Service and is subsequently appointed as Special Adviser in terms of section 12A of the Public Service Act, 1994, his or her appointment to the Public Service (including membership to the GEPF) must be terminated with effect from the date of appointment as Special Adviser. In terms of the Special Adviser Dispensation, as approved by Cabinet, Special Advisers are not admitted to the GEPF.

Q: Can a Special Adviser, who is appointed on a part-time basis and who is also practicing as an attorney, do business with an SOE that reports to the Minister?

A: In terms of section 8 of the Public Administration Management Act, 2014 (PAMA), an employee may not conduct business with the State or be a director of a public or private company conducting business with the State. For purposes of section 8 of PAMA, an employee includes a Special Adviser appointed in terms of section 12A of the Public Service Act. The State includes SOEs/ Public Entities and therefore this provision implies that Special Adviser, whilst he/she may be permitted to carry on the business of law practice, is prohibited from conducting business with the State either personally or through a public or private company.

A contravention of section 8 is an offence that may carry a sanction of a fine or imprisonment.

Q: Kindly advise if Special Advisers are allowed to work beyond their retirement age (65)?

A: There is no provision in the Dispensation for the Appointment and Remuneration of Special Advisers that prevents the employment of Special Advisers who are older than 65.

Q: Is an Executive Authority permitted in terms of the relevant provisions to appoint a Special Adviser as acting DG? Kindly advise on the following:

  1. Does the Special Adviser have to resign?
  2. If the Special Adviser has to resign, should he/she be appointed on contract as acting DG?
  3. On which notch do we appoint him/her? Salary level 16 notch 1.
  4. May the Minister appoint the Acting DG or does the President have to appoint him/her?

A: It is stipulated in the Dispensation for Special Adviser that a Special Adviser may not be involved in the administration or management of a department, which in law is the responsibility of the official duly appointed as Director-General. Therefore, for a Special Adviser to be “utilised” as an acting DG, his or her appointment as a Special Adviser in terms of section 12A of the Public Service Act, 1994, must be terminated before he or she may be appointed to the Public Service in terms of section 9 of the Act, after which he or she may be appointed in terms of section 32(2) of the Act to act in the position of DG.

Q: Can an EA appoint a Special Adviser whilst waiting for the MPSA to approve an appropriate compensation level?

A: No. In terms of paragraph 11 of the Dispensation for the appointment of Special Advisers, EAs must wait for approval from the MPSA before effecting the appointment/upgrade.

Department of Public Service and Administration