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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

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Former Gauteng government workers free to do business with the State - Gauteng MECs

File image.

File image.

Published Oct 28, 2023


Johannesburg - Former Gauteng provincial government employees are not prohibited from doing business with their former employer, at least four top provincial political bosses have revealed in the provincial legislature.

These revelations emerged after the DA in the legislature asked the MECs for Education, Health and Wellness, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and Human Settlements to give details on former provincial government employees who later joined their individual departments.

The DA also wanted to know details about former employees who were now doing business with their former employer, including whether there were any regulations preventing former Gauteng provincial legislature employees from doing business with the Department for a certain period of time.

The Gauteng MEC for Education, Matome Chiloane, in his reply, confirmed that one former employee of the government was now working in his department.

Replying to questions about the number of former employees doing business with the department, Chiloane said that the government supply chain management processes do not require the state to track suppliers’ previous employment, saying, “therefore, the department is unable to provide this information.”

He, however, said that all suppliers were required to sign declaration forms when submitting quotations or bids for services requested by the departments.

Chiloane maintained that there were no regulations that prohibited former employees of the State from doing business with the State.

Similar views were also expressed by the MEC for Health and Wellness, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mzi Khumalo, and Human Settlements MEC, Lebogang Maile.

According to Nkomo-Ralehoko, any official who resigned from any organ of state was no longer classified as a government employee, saying, therefore, they were allowed to do business with any organ of state.

She also said that any service provider who does business with the state must complete a declaration form, which is the standard bidding document (SBD), form 4.

Like Chiloane and others, Nkomo-Ralehoko said there were no regulations preventing former GPL employees from doing business with the department for a certain period.

Commenting on the response, Nicola du Plessis, the DA spokesperson on Economic Development, said former employees of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) and the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) have an unfair advantage, resulting in them unduly benefiting from government tenders while taking away much-needed job opportunities from struggling SMMEs.

Du Plessis said that was worrying because the unemployment rate was standing at over 2.6 million, saying, according to the replies, there were no declaration forms which required the bidder to declare their former employer.

“The responses received raise a lot of questions and give former government employees an unfair advantage over other bidders. This is because they would know exactly what the department is looking for when awarding a tender.

“Furthermore, this can also open the door to corruption when it comes to the awarding of tenders. Only the elite few benefits, while the average person is begging for scraps,” she said.

Du Plessis said her party was proposing the implementation of a restraint of trade for a certain period when a government employee resigns, saying that would help to level the playing field and allow suppliers, particularly those that operate in the township economy, to be given a fair chance to bid for government tenders.

The Saturday Star