Public Service Commission
28 November 2019
The Public Service Commission (PSC) recently briefed parliament on the Financial Disclosure Framework in the Public Service.
The Framework was introduced to manage conflicts of interest in the public service.
According to the PSC, the overall goal of the Framework is to “promote ethical conduct, accountability and transparency in the Public Service in line with constitutional values & principles”.
Potential conflicts of interest occur by virtue of an official being involved in a company which is in business and/or the official’s company being registered on the Central Supplier Database of national treasury.
“Actual conflict of interest involves a direct conflict between a public service official’s current duties and responsibilities, and the existing private interest. It is an impermissible conflict between the relevant public interest that a public official has a duty to protect and their own personal interest.”
The PSC pointed out that some executive authorities have not been providing feedback to the PSC on actions taken regarding non-compliance with the Framework.
The PSC called on parliament to explain the significance of the framework to executive authorities and why they should cooperate with the PSC in its quest to improve monitoring of the implementation of the Framework.
In order to design a system separate from the eDisclosure system that can conduct the verification of financial disclosures and generate reports, the PSC needs “financial resources support from EAs responsible for the institutions whose databases are crucial for the automation of the scrutiny function”.
“The political buy-in should guarantee, among other things, free access within the confines of the law, to relevant data that is stored on the databases of these institutions.”
In a separate briefing, the public service and administration department briefed parliament on the implementation of the revised determination on other remunerative work to prohibit public servants from conducting business with an organ of state.
The briefing focused on implementation of regulation 13(c) of the Public Service Regulations of 2016, which prohibits public service employees from conducting business with an organ of state.
According to the department, at the end of March 2018, treasury found 15 070 public service employees to be registered on the Central Supplier Database (CSD): 10 315 from provinces and 4 755 from national departments.
Out of the 15 070 public service employees listed, 679 employees were actually conducting business with an organ of state (183 from national departments and 496 from provincial departments).
At the end of April 2019, 17 700 Public Service employees were registered on the CSD and 1 068 Public Service employees were conducting business with the State (798 from Provincial Departments, and 270 from National Departments).
From May 2019, the department started to verify identified names with their relevant departments in order to ensure that they are still employed, correctly flagged and conducting business with the state. According to the department, the confirmed names will be handed (in batches) to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for investigation and prosecution.
The SAPS and the department have subsequently decided to include the NPA in the next meeting on progress with cases in order to develop prosecution strategies.
Another 20 names of employees are also to be handed over to the SAPS before the end of November 2019.