Six senior government officials paid over R12m while sitting at home on suspension

Six senior government officials have been paid R12 million while on suspension, according to the Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele.

Gungubele revealed the staggering figure in response to a written parliamentary question from the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) MP Mimmy Gondwe.

According to the minister’s response, two of these suspended officials were in Mpumalanga, two in the Free State, one in the Northern Cape and one in KwaZulu-Natal.

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The group has earned more than R12.2 million while sitting at home on suspension pending the finalisation of their disciplinary cases.

Northern Cape

Gungubele revealed that the head of department (HoD) for the department of sports, arts and culture in the Northern Cape has been on suspension since September 2020.

The official, Ruth Palm, faces charges relating to fraud and has been paid R2,014,340 since her suspension.


In KZN, the HoD of the department of public works, Gaster Sharpley, has been on precautionary suspension since November 2020.

Sharpley faces charges of misconduct and has received R2.3 million in pay since his suspension.

Free State

In the Free State, the HoD of the human settlements department, Nthimotse Mokhesi, has been on precautionary suspension since June 2020.

Mokhesi faces charges relating to misconduct and tender irregularities and has been paid more than R3.4 million while on suspension.

Another suspended HoD in the province, SS Mtakati, faces similar charges to Mokhesi and has been paid R1.9 million.


The suspended human settlements department HoD in Mpumalanga, Kebone Masange, has been on suspension since April 2021. He faces charges of gross negligence and has been paid R1.3 million.

Another official in the province, the HoD for the department of community safety, security and liaison, Busisiwe Nkuna, has been on suspension since June 2021.

Nkuna has been paid over R1.1 million.

DA demands answers

The DA said it will write to the chairperson of parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration requesting that the committee summon Gungubele and the acting Minister of Public Service and Administration, Thulas Nxesi, to come and account for the broken discipline management system in the public service.

“They must provide firm timelines on when the existing policy on the suspensions of HODs and director generals will be consolidated to ensure the expeditious and effective management of disciplinary cases, in the public service, in order to avoid an undue burden and costs being placed on the South African taxpayer,” the party said in a statement.

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