Public Service Commission - News

Unveiling a Financial Disclosure Framework in The Public Service - Step in the Right Direction

The promotion of a high standard of ethics within the public service has for some time been a mainstay activity of the Public Service Commission. This activity has naturally led to the development of the Financial Disclosure Framework for the public service management structure.

PSCnews spoke to the Chief Director of Professional Ethics and Risk Management, Dr Daryl Balia, in an attempt to understand the rationale behind the development of the financial disclosure framework. He shared with us the full background and different phases that marked the evolution of the Framework.

During the National Anti-Corruption Conference in 1999 a resolution was taken to introduce a system aimed at obliging public servants to disclose their financial interests. The resolution was taken to Cabinet and was endorsed in 1999 in the interest of promoting transparency in Government.

After the endorsement of the resolution by Cabinet, the Public Service Commission, in conjunction with the DPSA, developed a framework which obliges Heads of Departments and Deputy Directors-General to disclose their financial interests. The disclosure of their financial interests came into effect in 1999, according to Dr Balia.

At inception, the financial disclosure framework was limited to Directors-General and Deputy Directors-General. "Early this year, the Minister for Public Service and Administration approved the amendment of Chapter 3 of the Public Service Regulations 2001requiring all members of the Senior Management Service (SMS) to disclose their financial interests." Dr Balia explained further.

Extension to All public servants

The hope is for the financial disclosure system to be cascaded down to Deputy Directors in the public service. "Nevertheless, our ultimate goal is to make sure that all Public Servants disclose their financial interests", says Dr Balia.

Why disclose financial interests?

The disclosing of financial interests by public servants is essential to promote transparency and prevent conflict of interest. Moreover, it will put pressure on managers to be honest, thus minimizing bribery and corrupt practices. If a manager does not disclose his/her financial interests, such an act will amount to misconduct and the manager concerned will be dealt with accordingly, warns Dr Balia. The financial interests of managers must be written on a financial disclosure form devised by the PSC.

The type of interests that needs to be disclosed include:

  • Shares and other financial interests in private or public companies and other corporate entities recognized by law;
  • Directorships and partnerships;
  • Remunerated work outside the public service;
  • Consultancies and retainerships;
  • Sponsorships;
  • Gifts and hospitality from a source other than a family member; and
  • Ownership and other interests in land and property, whether inside or outside the Republic.

Senior Managers had until the end of July 2001 to submit their financial disclosure forms.

  • Reaction from Senior Managers

PSC News spoke to a number of Directors and Chief Directors in the public service and they are in agreement that the introduction of the financial disclosure framework for SMS will eliminate corruption and bribery.

Article compiled by Humphrey Ramafoko


 

 

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