One in six senior public service managers have conflicts of interest, says PSC

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Oct 19, 2021

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Cape Town - The Public Service Commission (PSC) has described as disconcerting a report that one in six senior public service managers have engaged in activities that "pose potential conflicts of interest".

It has now called on national and provincial department heads, including ministers and MECs, to crack the whip.

The findings were made in the PSC’s 2020/21 annual report, tabled at Parliament.

PSC acting director-general Irene Mathenjwa said the commission, which, among other things, monitors financial disclosures by senior management members, received 9 792 financial disclosure forms that were scrutinised in an intense verification process.

“Amongst others, the PSC found that 15% of the senior management service members in the public service have engaged in activities that can be construed as posing potential conflicts of interest.

“Eleven cases of actual conflicts of interest were identified in one national department and three provinces,” Mathenjwa said.

According to the report: “Executive authorities need to strengthen their resolve in enforcing full compliance with the regulatory provisions under all circumstances, and to deal decisively with defaulting heads of departments. This would help in setting the tone from the top.”

The report further highlighted that the PSC received only 9 792 of the 10 032 financial disclosure forms it should have received on May 31 this year. A totalof 240 senior managers did not comply.

The State Security Agency (SSA) did not make any submissions at all.

“Apart from the SSA, there are [senior managers], including five directors generals and four heads of departments whose forms were not submitted to the PSC as at the due date of 31 May 2020,” the report states.

It said a lack of full disclosure of registrable interests by some senior managers persists.

“This poses a serious challenge in the ability to manage conflicts of interest in the public service. The challenge is compounded by the involvement of some of the heads of departments on the perpetuation of the non-compliance with the regulatory frameworks.”

The report said the scrutiny of the submissions by the senior managers showed that there was a contravention of Regulation 19 of the Public Service Regulations that became effective in 2016.

The commission said it found there were 3 048 senior managers with an interest in companies.

It also emerged that up to 468 senior managers did not disclose their interest in companies. Among these were 15 directors generals or heads of departments, 35 deputy directors generals and 120 chief directors.

According to the report, there were a total of 364 senior managers that were on the wrong side of the law in national departments, and 11 from national government components.

A breakdown of provinces showed that Gauteng led the pack with 61 senior managers, followed by North West with 48, Free State 47, Eastern Cape 38 and Limpopo 25.

The provinces with the least errant senior managers were KwaZulu-Natal with 11, Northern Cape eight, Mpumalanga six and Western Cape one.

The report showed that there were a total of 69 repeat offenders, with at least 44 found in national departments, 10 in Gauteng, seven in the Eastern Cape, three in Mpumalanga and one in the Northern Cape.

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Political Bureau

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