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PSC: Govt depts act with impunity by refusing to implement orders

The PSC recorded a significant number of employees who had lodged grievances relating to the non-implementation of awards and court orders.

Michael Seloane, the commissioner for the Public Service Commission. Picture: @OPSC_SA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Public Service Commission (PSC), which is mandated to assess the performance of the public service, has accused government departments of acting with impunity by refusing to implement Labour Court and arbitration outcomes.

The PSC recorded a significant number of employees who had lodged grievances relating to the non-implementation of awards and court orders. The commission briefed reporters on Tuesday on the state of the public service over the second quarter of the year.

It said the practice by national and provincial departments had “major” financial implications for departments, unions and employees while it also puts a strain on labour relations.

Arbitration awards were issued by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration in cases where employees lodged complaints against their employers and were binding as in the case of Labour Court orders. Failure to comply with these is regarded as contempt of court.

PSC commissioner Michael Seloane said: “The challenges identified include, among others, non-adherence to prescribed dispute resolution processes and time frames. Reluctance by government officials to observe the rule of law as illustrated by the number of awards taken on review, and lack of accountability by relevant authorities against whom awards and orders are issued.”

The commission also complained of instances where government officials used state resources to fight personal battles with employees by intentionally blocking the implementation of such awards and orders.

DELAY IN PAYING SUPPLIERS ON TIME

Meanwhile, the PSC once again called on government ministers to act against heads of departments who continued to not pay supplier invoices on time.

The practice, which amounts to financial misconduct, had crippled businesses while others were forced to shut down as government entities failed to settle payments within the stipulated 30 days.

The PSC said it was encouraged by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent commitment that government would ensure that suppliers doing business with the state were paid within 30 days.

In its second-quarter report on the state of the public service, the PSC found that a number of departments were still reneging on this obligation.

The Department of Water and Sanitation was found to be the biggest culprit with over R800 million owed to 488 suppliers, while the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure stood at R235.8 million for the period under review.

Seloane said action should be taken by government.

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