The Department of Public Service and Administration is planning to issue a new directive aimed at promoting ethical conduct and preventing public servants from conducting business with an organ of state.

In a statement released by the DPSA on Wednesday, departmental spokesperson, Mr Moses Mushi said the new directive will ensure that public servants adhere to the highest ethical standards and comply with the Code of Conduct.

“The directive, which will replace a previous version issued in 2017, highlights the statutory framework and regulations surrounding conducting business with organs of state.

“It emphasizes that employees should not engage in transactions or actions that conflict with or hinder the execution of their official duties.

“Under the new directive, government employees are prohibited from conducting business with an organ of the state or being a director of a public or private company unless they hold an official capacity as a director of a company listed in Schedules 2 and 3 of the Public Finance Management Act.

“This provision aims to reduce potential conflicts of interest and ensure the integrity of public service.

“The directive places a reporting obligation on heads of departments, who are required to develop, maintain, and communicate a policy on conducting business with their respective departments,” he said.

According to Mr Mushi, Heads of Departments must also keep a register of entities conducting business with the department and individuals engaged in supply chain management.

Annually, he said department heads are to report to the executive authority on policy development or amendments and confirm the maintenance of the registers.

To further prevent conflicts of interest, the directive will prohibit employees from registering with the National Treasury Central Supplier Database unless they are officially appointed directors of companies listed in the Public Finance Management Act.

The directive provides a clear definition of what constitutes conducting business with an organ of the state. It includes any business, trade, occupation, profession, or activity carried out for gain or profit by an individual, which involves entering into an agreement with an organ of the state to provide goods or services for personal benefit.

However, Mr Mushi said certain activities are exempted from the definition of conducting business with an organ of the state, as specified in Annexure A of the directive.

For employees, these activities include participating in educational institutions, engaging in official part-time work across departments, supporting the Independent Electoral Commission during elections, and volunteering for professional association boards.

Non-employees may be appointed to audit committees, serve in the Reserve Police Service or Reserve Force, or conduct social assistance assessments.

These activities offer opportunities for individuals to contribute to the public service in different roles while adhering to the guidelines set forth in the directive.

The issuance of this directive underscores the government’s commitment to ensuring transparency, accountability, and ethical behaviour within the public service.

By setting clear guidelines and imposing reporting obligations, the aim is to create a culture of integrity and prevent any potential conflicts of interest that may compromise the public interest.

The directive will apply to all national and provincial departments, government components, and employees appointed under the Public Service Act.

It does not extend to individuals appointed under specific sections of the Act or those providing specific services to departments without being appointed under the Act.

As the new directive takes effect, it is expected to enhance the value system guiding the professional conduct of employees in the public service, ultimately promoting a more transparent and accountable government.