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Government takes misconduct serious-Min Nxesi

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The introduction of the Guide on Managing Discipline in the public service is a clear demonstration by the department of Public Service and Administration that government takes all forms of misconduct serious.

In his written reply to the National Assembly, Public Service and Administration, Acting Minister, Mr Thulas Nxesi said: “The Guide on Managing Discipline in the public service was adopted in April 2021.”

He said financial misconduct is a challenge in the public service as it impacts on service delivery with money meant for services being misappropriated by few unscrupulous employees.

Minister Nxesi said in terms of the Public Service Act, 1994 (section 16A (1) and (2)) Accounting Officers are responsible to ensure effective and appropriate disciplinary action is taken against employees found guilty of financial misconduct.

According to the Minister, this challenge is being responded to in two ways one by ensuring full implementation of legislative requirements to guide disciplinary action and secondly the provision of technical support by the DPSA.

“The Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit within the DPSA has a mandate to provide technical assistance and support to institutions in all spheres of government regarding the management of disciplinary matters relating to misconduct in the public administration,” he said.

This includes instances of financial misconduct. As such, the TAU (the Unit) developed a Guide on managing discipline in the public service: This Guide provides guidance to departments, supervisors and labour relations officials on their respective responsibilities and roles. The TAU also provides training on the Guide and has had several training sessions with Labour Relations Officers outlining their responsibilities, and another session will be held during Public Service Month, on 21 September, and will also be open for managers to attend virtually.

The Public Service Commission is responsible for drafting an annual report on financial misconduct in the public service.  On allegations that the Deployment Committee of the African National Congress (ANC) often instructs the government appointing authorities who to appoint to certain positions, Minister Nxesi said: “The deployment Committee of the African National Congress is not an organ of state and its policies do not constitute law.

“Consequently, neither the Minister nor any executive authority are obliged to implement that policy when they fulfil their functions and duties under the–mentioned section of the Public Service Act.”

He further said that in the making of any appointment in terms of section 9 in the public service, all persons who applied and qualify for the appointment concerned shall be based on training, skills, competence, knowledge and the need to redress, in accordance with the employment Equity Act, 1998(Act 55 of 1998)…the imbalances of the past to achieve a public service broadly representation of South African people, including representation according to race, gender and disability.

Therefore, wherever there is an unlawful constitutional conduct on the part of the Minister or an executive authority, only affected person has statutory remedies to redress such an unlawful constitutional conduct.

“The Minister has not to date received any complaint from any aggrieved party alleging that they have been prevented from openly competing for a position in the public service or that having competed they were overlooked as a result of the adherent to the Deployment Policy by an appointing authority

“No official has been disciplined for adhering to the Deployment Policy since there has not been an official charged and found guilty of undermining the Constitution or relevant employment processes by adhering to the African National Congress’ Deployment Policies,” he said.