Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha. (Daily Sun)
- The Public Service Commission says there has been non-compliance with the 60-day rule.
- Officials suspended for more than 60 days without disciplinary hearings must be reinstated.
- Provincial government must hand over a consolidated report on suspensions lifted.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) has instructed Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha and all MECs to lift the precautionary suspensions of public servants that have exceeded 60 days.
There are currently several senior management staff members in provincial departments who are on suspensions for more than 60 days without having disciplinary hearings.
They include the head of information technology in the Office of the Premier, Lesetja Mathiba, who blew the whistle on an alleged R500 million Limpopo Connexion public broadband scandal.
In a circular issued on Thursday, and which News24 has seen, PSC chairperson George Mashamba said the commission had observed there was generally non-compliance with prescripts relating to the 60-day rule in Limpopo.
Mashamba cautioned the provincial authorities were in breach of the Disciplinary Code and Procedures for the Public Service which provides that the employer should hold a disciplinary hearing within a month or 60 days.
The chairperson of the hearing must then decide on any postponement.
“The prolonged precautionary suspensions of employees within the Limpopo administration have proven to be costly for the state in terms of the PSC factsheet and can be deemed illegal if such extensions were not decided by the respective chairperson,” he said.
Mashamba added the provincial government should submit a consolidated report to the PSC staying the number of lifted suspensions and those that could not be lifted by 5 June.
In some cases, officials were informed their suspension had been lifted but were told to stay at home.
The premier’s spokesperson, Kenny Mathivha, confirmed receipt of the circular but was reluctant to answer further questions.
“The provincial government receives correspondence from the PSC from time to time and the one in question is an internal correspondence…” he said.
The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said the continued illegal suspensions of officials cost the government millions of rand each year which could be deemed wasteful or irregular expenditure.
“It’s a fallacy that the government speaks of huge public servant wage bill while wasting money on illegal suspensions.
“We are glad that the PSC is raising the very same issue we have raised as a union. The Auditor-General also always speaks about this issue,” the union’s provincial secretary, Jacob Adams, said.