PUBLIC Service and Administration Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga on Thursday said 484 public service employees were found to be possibly conducting business with the state in January.
Chikunga said the number had decreased from the 1 539 recorded in 2020.
“The number does not confirm a person is conducting business with the state. The number says you are more likely to conduct business.”
She revealed this when she was responding to oral questions in the National Assembly.
Chikunga said the cases had been referred to the SAPS and affected departments because her department did not have a mandate to conduct criminal investigations or probe officials from national and provincial departments.
The civil servants are barred in terms of the law from conducting business with the state.
Chikunga said culprits faced a jail sentence of five years, as well as the possibility of being dismissed following disciplinary processes when they were found guilty.
She said her department was working with the SAPS and the Department of Justice after entering into a memorandum of understanding to speed up the processing of the cases.
Chikunga also said they were training ethics officers in the department to conduct investigations.
“These public servants should know it is illegal to conduct business with the state. They should not be doing that because we burden the already burdened criminal justice system.”
Asked about enforcing consequence management when officials had resigned before the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing, Chikunga said when an employee resigned the disciplinary process could not continue but criminal proceedings went ahead.
She said it was important for departments to assist the police if an employee resigned, and that there should be red flags that would not allow an employee to be appointed to other levels of government after fleeing a disciplinary process.