ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC Deputy President David Mabuz. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency ANA
ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC Deputy President David Mabuz. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency ANA

State sets out criteria for appointment of ministers, premiers’ special advisers

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Oct 12, 2021

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Johannesburg - The government has reiterated the proper process to be followed in the appointment and remuneration of special advisers by Cabinet ministers and premiers.

The Department of Public Service and Administration indicated that ministers and premiers are entitled to two full-time special advisers but national and provincial cabinets have the power to intervene and approve two additional full-time special advisers for ministers and premiers.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy David Mabuza may appoint as many special advisers as they see fit.

However, national and provincial cabinets may reduce the number of special advisers that can be employed by ministers and premiers.

In a circular issued last titled appointment and remuneration of special advisers to executive authorities (ministers and premiers) in terms of the Public Service Act, Public Service and Administration director-general Yoliswa Makhasi said the intention of issuing the document was not to repeat the provisions of the dispensation but to highlight a number of important points.

”It will be appreciated if every head of department can ensure their executive authorities and deputy ministers (where applicable) are made aware of the provisions of this circular and dispensation,” she stated in the document dated September 8.

MECs and the chairperson of the Public Service Commission were excluded from the provision to appoint special advisers by the Cabinet but those appointed by ministers and premiers can be used by deputy ministers and MECs for specific tasks after arrangements are made.

The appointment of special advisers is subject to the obtaining security clearances and signing performance contracts.

Special advisers are also barred from conducting business with the government or being a director of a public or private company conducting business with the state, according to Makhasi.

In June, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found that Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula's special adviser Lawrence Venkile was overpaid over a lengthy period and has undertaken to repay the money.

The investigation uncovered that Venkile and legal adviser Kaiser Khoza were irregularly paid salaries equivalent to those of deputy directors-general even though their appointments were not approved by then Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu.

The Public Protector found that Venkile and Khoza were appointed at annual salaries ranging from between R1.45 million and R1.71m.

The National Department of Transport also assured Mkhwebane that it would recover all overpayments that have been effected on Khoza’s salary.

In terms of the dispensation, ministers and premiers are allowed to award higher packages to their special advisers but within the approved compensation levels and also based on the recruitment and retention of suitable persons but subject to the approval Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.

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