Home South African 36 disciplinary cases before the DFFE

36 disciplinary cases before the DFFE

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The disciplinary proceedings include nine cases of financial misconduct, three cases of sexual harassment, six cases of misuse of government vehicle and two cases of dereliction of duty.

Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister Barbara Creecy said there were 36 cases under investigation and only one person out of the 36 had been suspended so far. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – There are over 30 cases subject to disciplinary actions involving everything from financial misconduct to sexual harassment and fraud before the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE).

This emerged following a parliamentary question by EFF MP Andrew Arnolds, who wanted to know how many officials were currently subjected to disciplinary actions in the DFFE; what the reasons were; and when suspensions would be instituted against each official.

DFFE Minister Barbara Creecy said there were 36 cases under investigation and only one person out of the 36 had been suspended so far.

“From the 36 cases, only one employee is currently on precautionary suspension. Suspension as a sanction from a disciplinary hearing process is implemented as soon as the director-general has approved the sanction pronounced by the chairperson, and after the accused official has appealed the sanction. Precautionary suspensions are done when the employer is of the view that the accused employee might interfere with evidence or threaten witnesses,” she said.

Disciplinary proceedings included nine cases of financial misconduct, three cases of sexual harassment, six cases of misuse of government vehicle and two cases of dereliction of duty.

There were also four cases of theft, two cases of iII-treatment of a scientist at Gough Island, three cases of dishonesty misrepresentation/fraud, three cases of excessive absenteeism and one case each of performance assessment, failure to obtain approval for trip authority, nepotism and breach of public service regulation.

SA1stForum convenor Rod Solomon said it was concerning that cases took so long to be finalised.

“Perpetrators are in the department instead of being suspended, meaning they can still continue with some of the transgressions they are alleged to have done.

“The least they should do is suspend these people, there are too many government departments that hide behind the fact that the investigation is not complete therefore a person cannot be suspended. Rather suspend the person with full pay and if cleared they can come back.

“There are always complaints around issues with this department, disciplinary processes need to be fast tracked, deal with it quickly and get rid of the bad apples. The director-general and the minister need to be held accountable because clearly there seems to be a problem with how they handle these matters.”

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