Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

It is appalling that a total of 152 financial misconduct cases have been investigated in the 2016-17 financial year in the Department of Labour. Over and above this, 135 fraud-related cases were under investigation, of which only 49 were completed.

What is not known is how many of the individuals involved are on suspension, or how long they have been on suspension. The government practice of suspending employees who are suspected of fraud is a costly exercise in itself. Many are suspended for months on full salary. In many cases, the cost of the suspension far surpasses that of the initial fraud.

It seems to be governmental practice to suspend individuals and then to do nothing for years on end. If managers in the private sector suspended staff for lengthy periods, they would have to justify the inactivity and cost, and may face disciplinary action themselves. Because it is taxpayer money that is being wasted, no one seems to be interested.

Michael Bagraim, DA MPShadow labour minister

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