Public Service and Administration Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi.

Nearly 300 government employees across all departments are currently on suspension, Public Service and Administration Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi claims.

A total of 295 civil servants had been on paid suspension for 60 days or more, with a total salary bill of just over R33-million, Ramatlhodi told the National Council of Provinces.

He was answering a question from Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Jacques Julius.

 The NCOP was debating the backlog in disciplinary proceedings in government. In a supplementary question, Julius asked Ramatlhodi what the department was doing to reduce “this phenomenon” in the public service.

“We are deeply concerned to finalise many of the unresolved cases. We are collaborating with Treasury and this is one area where we are intervening,” Ramatlhodi replied.

He said he would make the statistics publicly available.

Inkatha Freedom Party MP Mntomuhle Khawula suggested the slow process was a big contributor to the mounting backlog.

He pointed out that former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli had been suspended for almost six years.

Khawula asked if the department would consider speeding up disciplinary processes.

Ramatlhodi said the department was not against the idea in principle, but training was needed.

“We do give training to our civil servants if there are deficiencies. We are in the process of asking the retired judge’s forum to help out, as a national duty.

“We are worried of standing cases that are not resolved, and we are focusing on areas that are underperforming,” he said.

According to StatsSA, South Africa had close to 2.1-million government employees as at June 2014. –