R4m to see off former E-Cape treasury official

The suspension and “golden handshake” for former Eastern Cape Treasury superintendent-general Monde Tom cost R4-million, the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) said on Wednesday.

Tom’s 15 month suspension and confidential settlement package were revealed in the Auditor General’s report on the treasury’s 2005/06 annual financial statements, said spokesperson Adrienne Carlisle.

“The amount includes his salary paid while on suspension, legal costs and a final settlement payment of R1,6-million.”

Tom was paid his salary to the end of August.

The Auditor General also found that the approved treasury personnel budget was exceeded by R5,3-million in 2005/06, Carlisle said.

“There seems little doubt that the cost of Tom’s suspension and the fact that others were appointed to act in his stead contributed significantly to this irregular expenditure.”

The Treasury should set an example of fiscal discipline, she said.

Lengthy suspensions and golden handshakes, which characterised Eastern Cape disciplinary processes, undermined confidence in the disciplinary regime to deter misconduct and act as a fair process.

Carlisle said the public service co-ordinating bargaining council required that discipline was applied in “a prompt, fair, consistent and progressive manner”.

The Labour Relations Act said disciplinary action should commence within a period of one month.

“The Treasury must explain why Tom’s suspension dragged on over a period of 15 months and why it was decided to pay him out to the end of his contract in August 2007 rather than see the disciplinary process through in a timely and efficient manner.” - Sapa

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