Baloyi moots “cooling off” period


The Department of Public Service and Administration will craft legislation that will force senior government officials exiting the public service to cool off for a year before joining companies.

Public Services Minister Richard Baloyi last week said he wanted to limit the process of “javelin throwing”, where government officials approved deals for companies they later joined, the Business Day reported. The “cool off” was meant for officials involved in the adjudication, recommendation and awarding of tenders, as well as the whole procurement process.

Baloyi announced the move while launching the department’s Special Anti-Corruption Unit. This unit joins other departments and state agencies involved in the fight against corruption. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said last month the government was investigating procurement and tender fraud worth R25 billion. Business Day says the unit will co-ordinate disciplinary processes in the public service, bolster corruption investigations, and introduce uniform ethics and recruitment standards across all government departments.

Officials leaving the government also needed to disclose details of their new job, including the name of the employers and the financial details of the new job. This would enable the department to assess whether they were joining a company that benefitted from the activities of the official before leaving the government.

The opposition Democratic Alliance party welcomed the announcement but urged haste “to ensure that this initiative does not become another example of empty … government rhetoric. The importance of such regulation has increased given the recent cabinet changes, which saw the most dramatic reshuffle of the executive between elections since 1994.”