Adv N Phasha still earning a salary, 3 years into suspension - Ian Ollis

DA MP says minister has yet to disclose why Chief Director of Legal Services was placed on precautionary leave in 2011

Suspended department of Labour employee costing taxpayer R2 million

11 December 2014

The DA can confirm that suspended Chief Director of Legal Services in the Department of Labour, Advocate N. Phasha, is still earning his monthly salary, even though he has not worked a day since his suspension in October 2011, over three years ago.

Advocate Phasha was placed on precautionary suspension on 24 October 2011, for reasons that have been withheld by the Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Collins Chabane, and the Public Service Commission. The disciplinary process is still on-going, and is entering its 39th month.

Using the Department of Labour's annual reports over the last three years, it is estimated that Advocate Phasha could have conservatively accumulated close on R2 million in wages for sitting at home while the disciplinary process ensues.

I have received replies to two parliamentary questions, one to ascertain what Advocate Phasha is earning per month, and the other to determine when this prolonged disciplinary process will come to an end. In both replies, the Minister of Labour did not answer my questions.

I also wrote a letter to the minister of Public Service and Administration, Collins Chabane, on 20 November 2014, requesting additional information on the suspension of Advocate Phasha. Acknowledgement of receipt of this letter was only given yesterday, 10 December 2014. No clarity on the matter has therefore been given by Minister Chabane.

Over the past three years, Advocate Phasha has abused the disciplinary process, which has seen him fire his lawyers twice, being absent without leave from a CCMA arbitration meeting, and use various stalling tactics to delay the completion of the disciplinary process.

What is quite clear is that the ANC run government has failed to implement proper procedures to ensure the completion of disciplinary processes within reasonable time frames, and therefore tacitly allows officials to be on suspension endlessly, with full pay.

I will today write to the Leader of Government Business, Cyril Ramaphosa, requesting that, as a matter of urgency, he intervene in the matter and ensure the disciplinary process is concluded as soon as possible.

It is unacceptable that ordinary tax paying South Africans are footing the bill for a suspended employee's salary, which now borders on R2 million.

Statement issued by Ian Ollis MP, DA Shadow Minister of Labour, December 11 2014

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