The Department of Public Service and Administration has announced that stiffer rules are being introduced to tighten the management of ethics and integrity in government.
Briefing the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration in Parliament on Wednesday, Kenny Govender, the Deputy Director-General responsible for Governance, said a new framework that will guide ethics and integrity management was already being implemented in the public service.
He said the Public Service Integrity Management Framework was approved in October last year to deal with loopholes when it comes to disclosure of interests by state employees, acceptance of gifts and accepting remunerative work outside the public service, amongst others.
Govender said the Public Service Integrity Management Framework is about the establishment of the ethics infrastructure at a departmental level.
“Now we will promote the management of anti-corruption and the reduction of corruption across the public service. We want to strengthen the disclosure of financial interests by employees, including the introduction of an e-disclosure system within the public service and we want to make it compulsory.
“We also want to extend the financial disclosure by employees to all the employees in the public service. Currently, it is only limited to senior managers in the public service,” he said.
Govender also said his department wanted to clearly define the acceptance of gifts, hospitality and other benefits by employees within the public service, as to what they can receive and cannot.
He said the framework will pave way for the creation of ethics offices in each and every government department.
He said this would go a long way to rooting out corruption and enforcing ethics compliance.
“In terms of establishing infrastructure, it is important to create an environment in which it becomes difficult for corruption to happen. For us to ensure that the infrastructure works appropriately, you need leadership and support and you need buy-in from the highest office within the organisation.
“So we believe that the executive committee should be leading and supporting the entire process, and the second thing we are saying is that the heads of the departments should be the final stop – the custodian of the process,” he said.
The ethics infrastructure would comprise an Ethics Champion, who, at executive level, will drive ethics and anti-corruption initiatives.
Below that, an Ethics Committee will be charged with determining a department’s ethics strategy and to provide oversight of integrity management.
An Ethics Office would be formed within each department, and it would be given the responsibility for the day-to-day work related to the ethics management programme.
The Ethics Officer would also play a crucial role in the promotion of ethics and integrity in departments, aise employees on ethics matters and identify and report unethical behaviour and corrupt activities to the Head of Department.
Source : SAnews.gov.za