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Discipline in the Public Service Under the Microscope

March 19, 2020

Department of Public Service and Administration

The public service and administration department is working with national treasury to reconfigure the PERSAL system to allow for departments to capture discipline cases for reporting and monitoring.

The department announced this during a briefing in parliament on the status of discipline in the public service.

The briefing was designed to provide an update on the nature of disciplinary cases in the public service as per section 16B of the Public Service Act and its implications.

Challenges in addressing discipline cases include departments not meeting the time frames on finalising cases; long suspensions resulting in costs as employees are at home but being paid; departments not adhering to collective agreements/resolutions; information is currently received manually but department transitioning to PERSAL; PERSAL is a payroll system and is being reconfigured to address the capturing, reporting and monitoring of discipline; some departments utilise legal representations as a norm rather than an exception resulting in long delays and additional costs in finalising cases and ‘selective’ reporting by departments.

Other interventions by the department currently underway include setting up a pool of labour relations specialists to assist departments with chairpersons and initiators; rolling out a capacity building programme in conjunction with PSETA for initiators and chairpersons for disciplinary cases; the developing of an audit methodology, in conjunction with donor partners, to audit cases and assist in wrapping them up and continuing to provide support, guidance and advice where required.

The department also pointed out that it has written letters to accounting officers regarding non-compliance with the prescripts in terms of failure to report, failure to finalise cases within 90 days and having suspensions that last longer than 60 days.