Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

SOEs review recruitment of civil servants with a cloud over their heads

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Apr 21, 2021

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Cape Town – Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has revealed that state-owned entities under his department are reviewing their measures to ensure employees who resigned while under investigation or part of a disciplinary process are flagged.

Gordhan revealed this in his reply to parliamentary questions posed by DA MP Benedicta van Minnen.

Van Minnen enquired from Gordhan what steps he had taken to ensure officials who resigned from state-owned enterprises to avoid disciplinary action were not re-employed in other government departments.

There have been concerns among MPs about the failure by some departments and SOEs in enforcing disciplinary measures against those officials found on the wrong side of the law.

Previously, several public servants who were under investigation for corruption and fraud resigned from one government department only to resurface in another without having faced any consequences.

Now there is a push that those guilty of corruption be sanctioned.

In his written response, Gordhan said the SOEs were separate legal entities and the employees in the entities were not employed in terms of the Public Service Act.

“This makes the flagging of the employees who leave the SOEs pending disciplinary action or investigation difficult to track and trace in as far as other government departments.

“Heavy reliance will be on the strengths of our government departments recruitment processes to ensure that the vetting is done diligently, to be able to detect such red flags,” he said.

However, Gordhan said the prescripts developed under the auspices of Department of Public Service and Administration placed a responsibility on the accounting officer of each government department to ensure that rigorous integrity assessments and background checks were conducted against candidates applying for employment.

He maintained SOEs had measures in place as part of their recruitment processes to prohibit the re-appointment of employees who had left through dismissal.

“The SOE’s are reviewing their measures to ensure that through the human resources processes, employees who leave the institution while under investigation or pending a disciplinary procedure are flagged.

“These should be done in line with what is permissible in terms of our Labour Relations Act.”

Gordhan also said his department had developed the Risk and Integrity Management Framework that would be implemented with effect from April 1.

“Among others, the framework introduces reforms designed to regulate the affairs of the SOEs under the Ministry of Public Enterprises.”

He also said the framework would ensure there were background checks to prevent employment of candidates whose integrity indicates that they could not be trusted with the management of public resources.

It would also prohibit employees and board members of SOEs from doing business with their respective entities.

Gordhan added employees and board members of SOEs would be also prohibited from soliciting or accepting gifts and/or donations from companies doing business with the entity.

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Political Bureau

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