Michael Seloane. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO
Michael Seloane. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO

The government should take action against senior managers who are found to be contravening regulations by not declaring financial interests and extra income, Parliament’s portfolio committee on public service and administration says.

It was reacting on Tuesday to the report into the state of the public service in the fourth quarter of 2017 by the Public Service Commission (PSC). The report found that the government was still struggling, in its bid to tackle conflicts of interest, to get senior managers to disclose their financial interests.

The commission said more than 700 senior government managers, or 37%, had failed to disclose financial details, including whether they hold directorships in private or public companies.

The report included details of human capacity, the nature of complaints about corruption, and compliance with regulations. It showed that 1,943 senior managers in national and provincial departments had directorships in private and public companies.

There had also been an increase in the number of reported complaints related to suspected corrupt activities, as well as grievances lodged over appointments and procurement.

These were recorded from the National Anti-Corruption Hotline, with a total of 882 lodged cases of alleged corruption since April 2017.

PSC commissioner Michael Seloane told reporters the commission had established there were senior managers who engaged in other remunerative work, some without the necessary written approvals. Of the 356 managers who did this, only 118 had received permission, with the total income generated amounting to R29m.

“It is unacceptable that so many senior managers can be in contravention of regulations that are intended to ensure the credibility of the state. Senior managers are in the forefront of the fight against corruption and by declaring directorships, they prove accountability,” said the parliamentary committee’s chairman, Joe Maswanganyi.

Seloane said the commission feared that some of those who failed to disclose information could be doing business with the state.

The commission has only an advisory function and so the most it can do is make recommendations to affected departments and their political heads.

“With respect to nondisclosures, we advise the minister that disciplinary action must be taken against the officials. If they are a frequent delinquent, the punishment will go up. But generally, an official may be warned and disciplined. At a senior level like that, officials are custodians of the resources of the state. If they do not disclose, there may not be trust in them.”

The report showed that 481 senior managers had declared gifts and sponsorships amounting to R7.6m. The highest number of declarations came from national government directors, at 165. Government officials have to declare gifts and sponsorships worth R350 or more.