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Johannesburg - The government has forked out a massive R412 million to 7830 public servants who have been on long periods of sick leave between January last year and August of this year.

This was revealed by Public Service Administration Minister Faith Muthambi this week when responding to a written parliamentary question from the UDM’s Cynthia Majeke.

She had asked about the number of civil servants on long periods of sick leave and the costs incurred by the government.

Muthambi said 1171 civil servants in national departments were paid for sick leave between July last year and August this year at a cost of R73 584 892.

A further total of R338 992 685 was paid out to 6759 employees in the provinces during the same period.

KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape had the most civil servants on long periods of sick leave. Western Cape had 772 employees, followed by Gauteng 717, Free State 688, Northern Cape 429, Mpumalanga 433 and Limpopo 417. North West had the fewest ill employees at 394.

Read: R76m pay to stay at home

Muthambi also revealed that taxpayers had coughed up a whopping R38 627 159 in salaries to 174 civil servants who had been suspended pending disciplinary hearings since April this year.

Responding to the DA’s Desiree van der Walt, Muthambi said R37 199 451 was paid to suspended employees by the provinces, while R1427708 was incurred by national departments.

A total of 166 civil servants from the provinces had been placed on precautionary suspension and eight colleagues in the national departments during April to June this year.

“Forty-five were suspended for more than six months but less than one year. Eleven were suspended for more than one year and three were suspended for more than two years or more,” Muthambi said.

She also said KwaZulu-Natal was leading with the highest number of employees on precautionary suspension at 91, followed by Free State with 29 suspensions, Northern Cape 23 suspended officials and Gauteng only 11. Mpumalanga had no employee on precautionary suspension while Eastern Cape and Limpopo had one each and North West only six for the April to June this year period, Muthambi said in another response to Majeke.

Muthambi’s predecessor had said in February, in a written parliamentary reply, that R136467698 had been paid as a result of precautionary suspensions since April last year. A breakdown of the costs showed that R24m was incurred by the national department and R112.4m by provinces.

During the October-December 2016-17 financial year, 45 civil servants were placed on precautionary suspension by the national departments and a further 24 by provinces.

Saturday Star