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Govt moves to halt paid suspensions

Durban - The government is considering doing away with suspension on full pay to avoid spending millions of rand paying employees to sit at home.

The Department of Public Service and Administration has revealed that millions of rand had been spent on salaries of public servants, many of whom have been suspended for various offences for well over a year.

File image. Credit: Reuters

“The department will work with the relevant stakeholders, including the unions – and following a properly constituted process – to find alternative arrangements to suspension with pay,” the department said.

National government departments had paid R27 million in salaries for about 240 workers who had been on suspension for more than a year.

About R20m had been spent on more than 160 other workers in various provinces.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health had 23 cases, costing R4.2m in salaries.

Department spokesman Brent Simons said the figures had been supplied by various departments, except safety and security. The suspensions include employees in the National Prosecuting Authority.

Simons said those who were suspended were mostly facing charges of assault, corruption and fraud.

He said the department did not have the breakdown for each department and province.

“We asked the police department to give us these figures, but they were reluctant and indicated that they would like to release those numbers themselves,” he said.

Simons said a solution would be to make sure that suspensions did not drag on for longer than 30 days.

“Precautionary suspensions, in terms of the relevant framework, are meant to be finalised within a month and should not exceed a period of 60 days, depending on the complexity of the matter,” read the statement.

Public Service and Administration Minister Collins Chabane said the government lacked proper guidelines to enforce the correct procedure.

The cases took more than a year because lawyers representing the parties involved did not always avail themselves for hearings.

“Or the lawyers had been reluctant to preside over certain cases.

“The minister for the Public Service and Administration, through his delivery agreement, has… a responsibility to ensure that disciplinary cases are finalised within a reasonable time, that is, 90 days.”

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