“Endemic” corruption in the three spheres of government: PSC

The Public Service Commission (PSC) released its quarterly Pulse of the Public Service report on Tuesday and it confirms what most South Africans already know: that corruption and waste run through the public sector.

Corruption has become endemic in all three spheres of South African government and has permeated all spheres of government. It undermines democracy and public trust in government and negatively affects state services and therefore community and social development,” the report says.

It echoes the conclusions of the Zondo Commission, detailed in eight volumes, on state capture and institutionalized corruption in the public sector.

“One of the key issues is the issuance of illegal instructions by the Executive Authorities (EAs) and some senior managers in influential government positions,” the PSC report added.

“When President Cyril Ramaphosa testified at the Zondo Commission in August 2021, one of the admissions he made was that many competent and highly qualified civil servants left the public service or were sidelined if they refused to carry out certain illegal instructions”.

key themes

Discussing the report with the media on Tuesday, PSC Commissioner Anele Gxoyiya outlined some of the key issues hampering the smooth functioning of the public sector.

These include managers making illegal decisions and then claiming ignorance of the law, or acting on the advice of officials (as happened in the Life Esidimeni tragedy, where 141 mental health patients died in unworthy conditions); toxic organizational cultures; appointing incompetent people to key positions; continuous restructuring; low staff morale; lack of support from some older people; budget cuts; and lack of passion for work.

READ ALSO: Anti-Corruption Day: ‘Overcomplicating matters and cases’ a problem in SA

Another problem highlighted in the report is the lack of consequences for those who perform poorly at work.

How to fix this?

The solutions recommended by the PSC include:

  • Implement recruitment, promotions, transfers and those assigned by merit;
  • Prohibit political considerations or involvement in the recruitment, transfer or appointment of senior managers, or limit political interference when dealing with appointments of department heads;
  • Prioritize the development of senior managers in terms of time and other types of support, such as constructive feedback, training and capacity;
  • Develop a ‘holistic’ performance reward framework so that employees feel appreciated, recognized and supported; i
  • Institutionalize constitutional values ​​and principles as a basis for building a professional and conducive public service work environment.

Asked if the PSC would be involved in the appointment of a new Eskom CEO to replace outgoing CEO André de Ruyter, Gxoyiya said he would be happy to advise him if asked to do so .

Additional mechanisms should be put in place to address the underlying causes of factors inhibiting optimal performance, including supporting incompetent and unsupportive supervisors, validating good employees to increase morale and productivity, delegating taking of decisions and the implementation of the program, set realistic goals. within budget and capacity limitations, and avoiding tensions at the political-administrative interface.


In terms of supplier default, the Department of Health is by far the biggest offender, with nearly R74 million owed to 2,929 suppliers at the end of September 2022.

In total, nearly R92 million is owed across all government departments to 3,454 suppliers.

“Payment delays and non-payment of suppliers by departments has been an ongoing problem in the public service which is indicative of non-compliance with regulations,” said Gxoyiya.

ALSO READ: Too much talk and no action: South Africa stagnates on corruption index

Non-payment of invoices is life-threatening for SMEs, many of which are forced to close or suffer financial blacklisting as a result.

Particularly disconcerting was the rise in unpaid invoices between June and September 2022, from 959 to 3,454, with the health and tourism departments being the main culprits.

The departments of health and agriculture, agrarian reform and rural development were also criticized for the late submission of reports to the PSC. “The late submission of exception reports by the departments shows disregard for their legal obligations and the delay or non-payment by the departments shows little care for the plight of small businesses and their struggles,” says the PSC.

Provincially, the Eastern Cape is the country with the highest delinquent payments to suppliers, with more than R2 billion owed to 9,909 suppliers at the end of September.

Gauteng is next, with R1.3 billion owed to 7,791 suppliers.

In total, more than R4.3 billion is owed to some 27,000 suppliers.

Reasons cited for late or non-payment by suppliers include lack of IT infrastructure to track invoices, lack of financial delegations and unregistered invoices.

The total number of complaints received by the National Anti-Corruption Hotline during the September 2022 quarter was 260 for national departments, 148 for provinces and 331 for public entities.

NOW READ: ‘SA leaders still failing to fight corruption’ – Report

This article originally appeared on Moneyweb and has been republished with permission. Read the original article here.

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