Eastern Cape pays R4 million to civil servants who are on suspensions

JANUARY 29, 2016

Civil servants, who have been placed on precautionary suspension by provincial departments, have cost the Eastern Cape at least R4 million, this is according to the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape.

"According to a reply to a legislature question, I asked Premier Phumulo Masualle, eight officials were on suspension at the end of the second quarter of the 2015/16 financial year (30 September 2015), costing R3 981 664.30 so far, two for over nine months," said Bobby Stevenson, the DA's Shadow MEC for Finance.

"This province needs to declare a war on wasting.

"Given the tight financial position of the province, we must stop every form of wastage. This might be a small amount, but tell this to a learner without a school desk or chair. Unless we plug the small holes in the dam wall of fruitless and wasteful expenditure, the trickle can become a flood."

Stevenson said that last year, the Auditor-General reported fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R89 million for the province.

"Every cent must be used efficiently and effectively. Money should be going to service delivery, not to foot the bill for officials to sit at home. For example, R4 million could have paid for 5 000 new school desks.

"Of the eight officials, three had been on suspension for over three months, three for over six months and two for over nine months from the departments of roads and public works (three officials), from transport (four officials) and from education (one official)," he said.

"Departmental disciplinary hearings must be speeded up and finalised quicker, to ensure that unnecessary, wasteful expenditure does not occur.

"It is unfair on the officials to have to wait so long for cases to be resolved. It’s also unfair for departments to operate without their full staff compliment.

"I will be sending follow-up questions to the Premier as to the reasons for the delays in these cases and what he will be doing to ensure future suspensions are dealt with timeously."