The Public Service Commission says regulations that would see top government officials arrested for doing business with the state from February next year is to be extended to politicians.
The new public service regulations are aimed at rooting out corruption in the public service.
Briefing the Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s standing committee on public accounts‚ Gauteng Public Service Commissioner Mike Selloane said the new rules would clamp down on financial misconduct by government officials.
“As from February 2017‚ any senior manager will be arrested if they are found to own a company that does business with the state. The intention is to extend [this provision] to politicians and all constitutional bodies in the country‚” said Selloane.
“That law will not apply retrospectively‚ meaning that if an official was awarded a tender that runs beyond February 2017‚ that contract will not be terminated.
“This law will apply to new contracts [awarded after February 2017] but those managers are encouraged to resign from companies [doing business with the state].”
The Office of the Auditor-General found in 2013 that state tenders worth R600-million had gone to companies with links to state employees.
The Special Investigating Unit has also previously found that 235 employees within the Department of Health benefited from tenders worth R42.8-million.
The Department of Basic Education had also revealed how more than 3000 of its employees had gotten government tenders with a combined value of R152-million between 2010 and 2012. These included teachers and senior managers of the department.
The new regulations place a further burden on senior government managers to report financial wrongdoing or risk being found to be complicit in any potential crime.
“As a senior manager‚ if you uncover financial misconduct of R100 000 or more it is your responsibility to report that. If you do not‚ you will be deemed complicit [in that misconduct]‚” said Selloane.
He said officials would no longer be able to escape possible charges by resigning from one department to the next.
Selloane said a new system would automatically alert departments of charges faced by officials seeking transfers or resigning from one department to the other.
But the commission’s efforts were being frustrated because its recommendations were not binding on government departments.
“With recommendations‚ they are not binding but they cannot be ignored‚ which is why accounting officers have to respond within 60 days [of the recommendations being issued] to indicate whether they are implementing them and how.”