Prohibition of public servants doing business with state; PSC Commissioner vacancy advert (subcommittee programme); with Deputy Minister

Public Service and Administration, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation

02 September 2020
Chairperson: Acting: Ms R Lesoma (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Video: Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration (NA) 02 Sep 2020

GNR.877 of 29 July 2016:  Public Service Regulations, 2016

The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) briefed the Committee in a virtual meeting on how it was progressing in implementing measures to prevent public servants doing business with the state. As of April 2020, there were up to 1 539 public service employees who were regarded as conducting business with the state. Of those, 1 111 were from the provincial departments, and 428 from national departments. This required disciplinary action if it was proven to be true, but it was also a criminal act that required law enforcement intervention so it could be dealt with.

To monitor the implementation of the regulations, the Department had introduced several initiatives. From March 2017, National Treasury had started to monitor all new registrations of public service employees on the online central supplier database (CSD) system, by matching prospective suppliers against the personnel salary (PERSAL) system, using an identification number. When a match was obtained, the person was flagged and was then required to provide proof that he/she was not a public service employee, before registration continued. This database contained the names of all individuals and companies wishing to obtain government contracts. The Department continuously identified employees possibly conducting business with the state, and communicated it to the relevant departments to take the necessary steps.

Members wanted to know how many government officials at the national and provincial level were involved with tenders during the pandemic. As directors-general (DGs) were part of the coordinated team to investigate officials doing business with the state, had the Department checked to see if any of the DGs might themselves be implicated in these matters? They asked how officials doing business with the state got appointed in the first place. How many public servants had been arrested and found guilty for illegally doing business with the state? If there were no consequences for their actions, then the data provided became meaningless. When a senior government official stated there was nothing wrong with public servants doing business with the state, what effect did this have on the Department’s work?

The Commissioner of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) told the Committee a loophole existed in terms of identifying government employees doing business with the state, as the CIPC registered only the details of directors, and not the shareholders of companies. A public servant could be the ultimate beneficiary of a contract, but not be registered as a director. An amendment had been proposed to the Companies Act that would require the disclosure of all beneficial owners or holders of shares to the CIPC during the incorporation of the entity, as well as annually when annual returns were submitted.

An advertisement for a vacancy in the Public Service Commission (PSC) was adopted by the Committee. The position needed to be filled within three months of advertising, according to the Act.

Meeting report

Opening remarks

The Chairperson said the Public Service Association (PSA) should be compliant with all laws and deal with corruption adequately. Some regulations ensured that corruption did not happen. As a Department, how could they identify the gap in the best way and ensure that by the end of the term, half of the cases would be eradicated?

Ms Sindi Chikunga, Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, extended an apology on behalf of the Minister and the Director-General, as they were attending to urgent matters. This was “Public Service Month” so it was time to celebrate the public servant, as well as look at the successes and failures, and also to inform South Africa where the Department had done well, and show that during this pandemic the country had risen to the occasion and dealt with it well. The launch would be communicated with the Portfolio Committee.

The presentations would provide an update on progress made regarding the implementation of regulation 13C of the Public Service Regulations 2016 and Section 8 of the Public Administration Management Act of 2014, which provides for public servants conducting business with the state and criminalising such action. As of April 2020, the PSA had up to 1 539 public service employees who were regarded as conducting business with the state. Of those, 1 111 were from the provincial departments, and 428 were from national departments. This required disciplinary action if it was proven to be true, but it was also a criminal act that required law enforcement intervention so it could be dealt with. The presentation would show if there had been some improvement. An example needed to be set by showing that there were consequences for these wrongful actions.

Prohibition on public servants doing business with the state

Dr Salomon Hoogenraad-Vermaak, DPSA, briefed the Committee on monitoring of the prohibition of public servants from conducting business with the state.

He said the Portfolio Committee should take note of progress with the implementation of Regulation 13 (c) of the Public Service Regulations, 2016, which prohibits public service employees from conducting business with an organ of state, and Section 8 of the Public Administration Management Act, 2014, which criminalises the conducting of business with the state for public administration employees and for special advisors.

In September 2019, the DPSA had presented the following statistics to this Committee:

  • In February 2019, it had been found that 1 068 public service employees were conducting business with the state -- 798 in provincial departments, and 270 in national departments.
  • At the end of April 2020, it had been found that 1 539 public service employees were conducting business with the State – 1 111 in provincial departments and 428 in national departments.

This was an increase of 471.

Dr Hoogenraad-Vermaak said the following measures were in place deal with this sort of activity:                                                            

  • Public Service Regulations 2016, Regulation 13 (c), which states that “an employee shall not conduct business with any organ of state or be a director of a public or private company conducting business with an organ of state, unless such employee was in an official capacity a director of a company listed in schedule 2 and 3 of the Public Finance Management Act;” and
  • Section 8, Public Administration Management Act, 2014, which states that “an employee may not conduct business with the state; or be a director of a public or private company conducting business with the state.”

“A contravention of subsection 2 was an offence, and any person found guilty of the offence was liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, or both such fine and imprisonment; and constituted serious misconduct which may result in the termination of employment by the employer.”

To assist with implementation, the Ministry of Public Service and Administration (MPSA) had approved two directives:

  • The directive on other remunerative work outside the employee’s employment in the relevant department, as contemplated in Section 30 of the Public Service Act, 1994 (November 2016). This directive introduced a standard process for public service employees when applying for other remunerative work.
  • The directive on conducting business with an organ of state (January 2017). This directive outlined what was meant with “conducting business,” and provided a list of ten activities that were excluded from the definition, such as teaching activities. To undertake these excluded activities, a Public Service employee still had to apply for other remunerative work, to assess for possible conflict of interest.

To monitor the implementation of regulation 13(c) and to provide support, the DPSA introduced several initiatives. From March 2017, National Treasury had started to monitor all new registrations of public service employees on the online central supplier database (CSD) system, by matching prospective suppliers against the personnel salary (PERSAL) system, using an identification number. When a match was obtained, the person was flagged and was then required to provide proof that he/she was not a public service employee, before registration continued. This database contained the names of all individuals and companies wishing to obtain government contracts.

The PERSAL system was amended to capture the other remunerative work approval process, so as to enable the DPSA to monitor applications which may involve the conducting of business with the state, by comparing it with data contained on the electronic financial disclosure (eDisclosure) system and the CSD.

The DPSA continuously identified employees possibly conducting business with the state, and communicated it to the relevant departments to take the necessary steps. In January 2017, letters were forwarded to executive authorities (EAs), identifying officials registered on the CSD and those conducting business with the state. Heads had to take action against officials in line with transitional measures and create awareness on the regulations. A circular had been issued in June 2017 to urge action, and a progress report was presented to Cabinet in November 2017.

In February 2018, further letters were forwarded to EAs, identifying officials registered on the CSD and those conducting business with the State. Heads had to verify the presented information, and where necessary, take action against officials. The MPSA had requested feedback by 31 March 2018. In September, a progress report was submitted to Cabinet. By September 2018, 22 departments had reported to the DPSA.

In December 2018, the DPSA provided the Portfolio Committee with the names of employees and departments possibly conducting business with the state.

In 2019, the verification process was considerably hampered by National Treasury’s decision to deny the DPSA access to the CSD data because of Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) concerns. The DPSA had handed the list of employees conducting business with the state on 24 June 2019 to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). In September, a progress report had been submitted to Cabinet.

Dr Hoogenraad-Vermaak gave details of the situation at provincial departments as at April 2020:

In both Mpumalanga and the Free State, there were possibly ten departments (up from eight) whose employees conducting business with an organ of state, while two departments (down from four) had no employees conducting business with an organ of state.

In the Northern Cape, 11 departments (up from nine) possibly had employees conducting business with an organ of state, and one (down from three) had no employees conducting business with an organ of state.

In the Western Cape, five departments (up from four) possibly had employees conducting business with an organ of state, while eight (down from nine) had no employees conducting business with an organ of state.

The current status was that on 30 June, the DPSA had requested national departments and all the offices of the Premier, where employees were listed as possibly conducting business with the state, to provide feedback by 15 July on their investigations and/or disciplinary actions taken. So far, the DPSA had received responses from 10 national departments and three provinces -- KwaZulu-Natal (11 of the 13), the Western Cape (five of the five), and the Northern Cape (six of the 11).

To assist the national and provincial departments, as well as local governments, to enforce this prohibition, on 22 July, the Ministers of Police, Justice and Correctional Services, and the Minister of Public Service and Administration, had met and agreed to establish a multi-departmental team. This team, coordinated by the Directors-General (DGs) of the respective ministries, were tasked to ensure that allegations regarding employees possibly conducting business with the state were investigated and those found to be guilty, would be prosecuted.

On 24 August 2020, the DGs of the multi-departmental team had met and approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which clearly defined the roles and responsibilities of each department in the multi-departmental team. This was accompanied by a multi-disciplinary plan of action, focusing on ten priority cases and on dealing with the list of 1 539 public service employees identified ase possibly conducting business with the state.

On 28 August, the DPSA and SAPS had trained the ethics officers of all the implicated departments so that they would be able to assess allegations, collect sufficient evidence and draft affidavits where transgressions of the prohibition were detected, and institute disciplinary steps where necessary.

With the assistance of National Treasury, the DPSA would continue on a monthly basis to identify employees possibly conducting business with the state. Confirmed cases would be handed to SAPS, and through the monitoring and evaluation committee, as established in terms of the MOU, progress would be tracked and challenges would be unblocked.

Assistance from the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission

Adv Rory Voller, Commissioner: Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), gave a presentation on the role of the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO) in efforts to assist the government to exercise the law of prohibiting public servants from doing business with the state.

He said the Public Administration Management Regulations Service Code of Conduct, which came into effect on 1 August 2016, sought to prohibit public servants -- holders of PERSAL numbers -- from doing any form of business with the state, whether in their personal capacities or as directors of companies, and to declare their financial interests.

In a bid to assist government in enforcing the abovementioned prohibitive regulations, the CIPC’s registers were open to the DPSA for inspection in relation to any suspected contravention by public servants of the regulations and the relevant code of conduct. The CIPC assisted in three ways -- proactive interventions through a partnership with the DPSA, improving transparency through a collaboration with National Treasury, and through cooperation with law enforcement entities and oversight bodies by providing requested data on an ad hoc basis.

Adv Voller explained the mandate of the CIPC:

  • Section 187(4)(a) and (c) of the Companies Act, 71 of 2008 states that the Commission must establish and maintain a company’s register; and most importantly, make the information in those registers effectively and efficiently available to other organs of state.
  • The information required to ascertain whether public servants had registered entities (companies) was available on the CIPC companies’ register, and departments and public entities had mechanisms in place to have access to that information through the CIPC web-services.
  • There was no legal impediment to a public servant registering a company, but it had to be disclosed during the annual financial disclosure reporting.
  • The legal position in the Companies Act was that the CIPC registers/records only the directors’ details, and not the shareholding. Therefore, a public servant may be the ultimate beneficiary of a contract who had not registered as a director.
  • An amendment had been proposed to Section 33 of the Companies Act, whereby all beneficial owners or holders of shares would have to be disclosed to the CIPC either during the incorporation of the entity, or annually at the annual return stage.
  • The CIPC was working very closely with the Finance Intelligence Centre (FIC), the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the Masters Office, to conclude on a governance framework and system to record beneficial owners, and to ensure collaboration, including connectivity of database information.

Scope of pro-active assistance to government

The CIPC had an active Service Level Agreement (SLA) in place, which was renewed annually, where the DPSA and other departments had access to the CIPC online platforms to verify the existence of juristic persons on the database and also verify its directors. The platforms provide for the verification of entities and directors, and free full disclosures of companies, which includes the history of the entity, such as director amendments, etc.

There were collaboration efforts to ensure transparency. National Treasury, as a collaborative partner of the CIPC, receives real-time company data and changes to companies to ensure that data on the Central Suppliers Database is up to date and relevant. The CSD was a programme of National Treasury which aimed to simplify government procurement, whilst having stringent verification mechanisms in place which authenticate companies at source. This enabled Treasury to have a holistic view of companies that were awarded government tenders. There also existed a triangular relationship between the CIPC, National Treasury and SARS with regard to access to company data as a mechanism to enhance compliance, whilst facilitating the ease of doing business.

It was recommended that the CSD scope be expanded to include the DPSA and Persal data, to ensure the optimum screening of directors prior to the awarding of tenders, particularly in respect of prohibited individuals.

Re-active assistance to government institutions

The CIPC assists various organs of state in their investigations into possible fraudulent actions or contravention of the Public Service Act, 1994, and/or the Public Service Regulations, 2016. Requests for assistance or information may be received in writing as an informal letter, or formally in the form of a subpoena, in terms of section 205 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977. Assistance, as previously mentioned, is provided to institutions such as SARS, SAPS, the Commercial Crimes Unit (Hawks), the NPA and the SIU. The Auditor-General (AG), as part of its regulatory audit function, obtains information from the CIPC database with regard to companies and its directors on an annual basis, or as and when required, to cross reference it against the employee records of auditees.

National Treasury currently had “real-time” access to CIPC records to verify the existence of entities. The scope, however, was limited to the verification of the entity, and did not include the verification of directors and whether rhey may be a public servant. As a result, there had been an increase in ad hoc requests to assist re-actively in investigating or gaining information on a specific individual, even though departments and public entities had web-based access to CIPC data.

The CIPC, SARS and National Treasury were the key role players in the CSD. The inclusion of the DPSA’s data as an enhanced phase would add great value.

Discussion

Ms M Clarke (DA) said that she was glad there was a way forward in terms of the issues faced with officials engaging with the state. Would all companies that qualified for COVID-19 tenders be subjected to this process? It would be interesting to know which staff members were involved with the tenders. National Treasury rules and regulations had not been followed in these instances. If the DPSA were to include their databases in the CSD, what would the time frame for that process be? It would not be preferred if it was open-ended, and in a year they had still not reached that outcome.

Did the PERSAL system have the capability to be integrated into the database of the CSD? Last year, this issue was discussed with officials doing business with the state, and they were promised a report from the SAPS to give them a guideline as to how far they were with the investigations. When would the Portfolio Committee see this as these processes unfolded, so that it was aware that they were progressing?

How many government officials at the national and provincial level had been involved with tenders during the pandemic? She had noted that the DGs were part of the coordinated team to investigate officials doing business with the state, but had they checked to see if any of the DGs were not implicated in this matter?

How would the Committee deal with the status of a juristic person? A legal opinion on this matter was needed to find out that if one was a director of a close corporation, there would be no claim on one and one’s assets if one was found guilty of fraud and corruption. What system had been put in place within the DPSA in terms of disclosures, because there were many cases where the officials did not comply? Did they also need to disclose whether they had any family members that were doing business with the state?

The Chairperson said SAPS had been expected to present, but they had requested a reschedule.

Ms V Malomane (ANC) said there was a concerning increase in the number of employees doing business with the state. What was the government’s procedure to follow up on those who had been charged with fraud? Were declarations being done on employees?

Dr L Schreiber (DA) wanted to know how these officials got appointed in the first place. Why were public servants who abused their position appointed? What measures could be put in place to prevent those taking advantage of their position? How many public servants had been found guilty and been arrested for illegally doing business with the state? If there were no consequences for these actions, then the data provided became meaningless. What was the impact on the work of a department when there were pronouncements made by politicians saying that there was nothing wrong with the ANC-linked public servants and officials doing business with the state

Mr C Sibisi (NFP) said that he would like to see that what had been said today would be implemented, and that action would be taken.

Ms B Maluleke (ANC) said that dealing with this issue would be a long process. Was the Department following up on the cases, and if so, how far were they with them? On the issue of ethical conduct, the Department must come up with a strategy. How would it make sure that people who solicited finances would be found guilty, and what strategies did they have in place?

Ms C Motsepe (EFF) asked how they detected the misconduct of those doing business with the state, as it was not disclosed. What was the reason for the 11 departments not responding? If one was alone in a CC, and one wanted to include another beneficiary, how long did it take for the CIPC certificate to appear with those additions? At what stage was the process towards including a governance framework and system to record beneficial owners with the master’s office, SARS and the FIC?

Mr S Malatsi (DA) said that those involved operated with full knowledge that doing business with the state legally wrong and was unethical. There was no mechanism in place to pick up unethical practices instantly and stop it from happening. What was the very first internal process that was in place to ensure that public servants were not doing business with the state? Once these practices had been picked up, what was the first course of action that took place with the public servant’s consent? Was there a database that existed that contained details of the public servants who had done business with the state, as well as the nature of the business and their value?

Ms M Kibi (ANC) said that timeframes should be put in place to avoid the issues of certain departments not responding, and if they did not respond, follow-ups should be done.

Inkosi R Cebekhulu (IFP) said that it was important to identify the public servants that needed to be dealt with, who were in the national and provincial legislatures. Local municipalities brought in their front companies to do business, and that badly affected the residents because they did not get the services they required from the municipalities.

A Member said it was worrisome that ethics officers were not dedicated. Provinces were becoming islands, and the level of work being done was decreasing. Another Member asked what capacity the Committee had to oversee the implementation of the laws and how they were articulated by the departments.

The Chairperson said that SAPS and other departments would provide more details at the rescheduled meeting. The DPSA coordinated the information and made regulations and guided the departments. The departments were the ones that needed to implement. Those provinces which had four to ten cases needed to be called in so that they could explain themselves. Had the PERSAL system been upgraded, or had it been overloaded? When the Department sought permission and the responsible official did not respond, after the 30 days of no response it should mean that permission had been granted. How were they going to monitor and evaluate other departments if they did not comply, and this was discouraging? It was concerning that there was no official responsible for uploading this information in the DPSA.

DPSA’s response

Dr Hoogenraad-Vermaak responded to Ms Clarke, and said that they did not merge information -- they dumped information from the CSD database to the partial database in a secluded environment so that there was no fear of inference or security breaches. Overnight they would get the information that they wanted. They did not overload the system, because it did not interfere with the system itself -- it was additional functions, where one explored the possibility of extracting data from that database for their own purposes.

The DPSA had a contract with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), which was running the e-disclosure system for them. It was an electronic financial disclosure system, with all the requirements that one needed to submit. There was a system in place to inform government officials to comply, and if they did not, there was a follow-up. This year, they had a 98% submission rate for senior managers. The system was not fully streamlined -- some of it was manual -- but there was a lot of work being done in terms of integrating the databases to see how to use the data to the DPSA’s benefit. The management of the process of people conducting business with the state happened where a report was received at the end of the month from the CSD, and they indicated all the names that were flagged on the CSD system as public servants.

When someone requests to register on the system, they are asked if they are a public servant and if they indicate that they are, they would not be registered. However, if they did not indicate and it slipped through, then the database was used and the name would be picked up with the ID number, and it could be verified whether they were a public servant. If the person was still employed, then disciplinary steps needed to be taken against them. All the information and evidence was gathered and handed over to SAPS to start the investigation.

Before a person was appointed as a public servant, they needed to be informed that they could not do business with the state once they had joined. If they wanted to do other remunerative work, certain stringent criteria needed to be abided by before they were allowed to do that. A public servant could not do business with the state, and this included all departments, including the example given of the Department of Health and the DPSA. Unfortunately, some officials practiced unethical behaviour, and that was why these measures had been put in place on the CSD database.

Replying to Ms Maluleke, he said that they had followed up on the 1 568 cases with those departments by writing letters. The DG’s office was contacting them one by one to respond as to why they had not provided their information. There was a code of conduct for supply chain managers and for finance managers, where there was a culture of ethics to abide by the laws as well to report any wrongdoing, so action could be taken.

Replying to Ms Motsepe, he said that human resources (HR) had to inform the panel that wanted to be appointed to the public service, that they could not do business with the state. They were working very closely with the ethics officers so that they could address these issues.

Replying to Mr Malatsi, he said the Department had a database with all the possible employees, including the list of names, the nature of the business, as well as the value. However, these were all just allegations, and this was the list that had been sent to the departments. Regarding time frames, they did give enough time for people to respond. Ethical officers were being held accountable with performance tests. The role and responsibility of the ethics officer had increased significantly, but the DPSA had started to assist them with thorough guidelines, training and support through forums.

Replying to the Chairperson with the issues of moonlighting, he said she had been correct in saying that if there was no response within 30 days, the permission was granted. However, if someone had been deemed to have been approved, the ethics officers must screen those deemed approvals, and if they found a conflict of interest or criminality, that permission must be revoked immediately. The DPSA was also currently busy with a database to assess who the people on boards were, as well as seeing who were receiving payments.

Mr Voller replied to Ms Clarke, and said that they had received the disclosure of data from the SIU, and they would assist them with supplying data related to directors. With regards to the members of a CC, if they were found to be involved in fraud, they would have limited liability. However, if they were involved in fraud, this separation of personal and company liability fell away. It was a 24-hour process to deal with the amendments of directors, and the database got updated immediately. This was to ensure that they had reliable data by having a quick turnover time.

Regarding the position of the CIPC in the processing of beneficial owners, there were a few streams that had been set up under the FIC and the National Treasury. One was a legal stream and the other a governance stream under the framework. There was a technology stream to deal with triangulation of the databases, and an infrastructure stream. They were all dependent on the legal amendment to the Companies Act, which would be dealt with in terms of an analytic amendment by the current Department of Trade and Industry.

The Chairperson said they would schedule a meeting with SAPS and invite the Public Service Commission (PSC), as well as the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME). They would discuss the level of senior management, so that they could account for their subordinates as well. Some of these issues would be referred to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) to be revised and looked at seriously. It needed to be understood how much damage had been done so that they could assist the Department in moving forward.

Dr Schreiber referred to a question that had not been answered on the impact that pronouncements made by senior political leaders could have on the work of the department. For example, Ace Magashule of the governing party had said that there was nothing wrong with doing business with the state. What was the practical impact of reckless comments like that?

The Chairperson replied that that question put Members in a difficult position, as they could not respond for political parties and their principles. She said that there should be no response to that question, but it would be recorded.

Dr Schreiber said that it was not a political question -- it was about the work of the officials and the Department. This Committee must be in a position to interrogate anything that had a potentially negative impact on the work of the Department. It was a logical question on whether a pronouncement like that by senior political leaders would affect whether the Department could do its work.

The Chairperson suggested that Dr Schreiber repeat the question when the Minister of the PSA was present.

PSC Commissioner Vacancy

The Chairperson moved on to discuss the adoption of the sub-committee programme and advertisement for the Public Service Commission Commissioner vacancy.

The advert was the same one used last year for the PSC.

The Chairperson asked if all the Members agreed on the advert.

Dr Schreiber said that there was a reference to the conditions of appointments of commissioners in Section 6 of the Public Service Commission Act, that states “a commissioner shall not hold office in any political party or political organisation,” as well as the requirement that without the consent of the President, a commissioner may not engage or perform any remunerative work. Could they consider including those provisions from the PSC Act, because the constitutional requirements were included?

All Members agreed to this change.

Ms Clarke asked if they would elect representatives from the Committee for the interview panels.

The Chairperson said that they would come back to that in the end. She said the position needed to be filled within three months of advertising, according to the Act.

Members then revised the draft programme for filling the vacancy in the PSC.

The Content Advisor said that the dates on the document were the ones that had been identified to make sure that they processed the request through the Announcements, Tablings and Committees (ATC) they had received in July. On 13 September, the advert would be placed until the closing date of 2 October.

The Chairperson asked if Members would like to add any comments. The Members said that they were satisfied.

The Chairperson said that Members from the different political parties needed to give the names of those who were going to form part of the sub-committee. There were four from the ANC, two from the DA and one from the smaller parties.

The Content Advisor said that it would be four from the ANC, one from the DA, one from the EFF and one from either the IFP or NFP.

The Chairperson said that each party would submit the names, discuss amongst themselves and submit a name formally. By next Friday, Members needed to forward the names to the administration as to who would be the members of the committee.

Ms Kibi said that she agreed that the names could be provided by next Friday.

All Members agreed.

Dr Schreiber asked about the other vacancy at the PSC, as discussed briefly on the WhatsApp group. What was the Committee’s plan for that? The background to this was that it was a vacancy that had existed for 16 months. There had been two votes on it the National Assembly in November 2019, but the candidate had not been able to garner the 201 vote majority. He had written to the Speaker to flag this issue, because 16 months was a problem for the PSC. They should consider the second candidate who had been included in that report for a vote in the National Assembly, but it had been left to the Speaker to make the determination. Did the Committee have a plan for filling the vacancy, because they were moving towards filling the second vacancy when the first vacancy had not been filled yet?

Ms Ntuli said that she was not sure if they have that power as a Portfolio Committee, or if Parliament would take care of it.

Ms Kibi said that she agreed with Ms Ntuli -- it was in the hands of the Speaker now. They needed to await the response from the Speaker of Parliament, and also to be cognisant of their jurisdiction in term of the processes.

Dr Schreiber said that he would keep the Committee informed on the response to the letter.

The Chairperson said that they would no longer discuss the matter and move forward.

Ms Ntuli said that Dr Schreiber did not need to report back to the Committee, as they had already done all that they could be regarding the matter.

Adoption of Committee minutes

The Committee adopted the minutes of 4 and 11 March 2020 along with 8, 13, 21 and 27 May 2020.

The Chairperson commented that Members could not be quiet and compliant in respect of quarterly reports. The AG would also assess the Committee’s performance, and this issue needed to be resolved. If everything was well, then these disciplinary issues would not be discussed, so Members should be mindful of compliance.

The meeting was adjourned.

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