An inquiry into management perceptions on supervision and grievance procedures within North-West Provincial Government
Makhuzeni, Kelebogile Charlotte
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Background and Aim: Suspensions of senior managers in the North West Provincial Government have become a rampant occurrence. A report by the Public Service Commission shows that, during the financial year 2008/09, 103 employees placed under precautionary suspensions and that more than R45 million was spent on cases, of which some were not finalised. The longer the postponement of cases, the greater the financial losses and service delivery deficiencies incurred. This shows that the department faces numerous challenges in the management of precautionary suspension. It is significant therefore, to investigate suspensions and grievance procedure of provincial government officials and the impact thereof on service delivery in the North West Province. Method: This research followed a qualitative research approach. Qualitative samples are generally small in size, due to the nature and complexities of qualitative studies, the latter requiring in-depth research in order to gather rich, detailed information from participants. The sample of the study was then drawn from the population of employees who were suspended in the department. Of the over 30 employees who were suspended, only six (N=6) employees participated in the present study. This included a senior manager responsible for labour relations' matters who was dismissed by a government department. Results: The results of this study analyse suspensions, grievance procedures, and service delivery, and can be summarised as follows: • Suspension is a measure that has serious consequences for an employee, and is not a measure that should be resorted to lightly. • The analysis established that departments do not apply the disciplinary framework consistently, and do not treat discipline management with the appropriate level of seriousness. • This equally applies to managers, and human resource and labour relations practitioners who have to support the former in a guiding and advisory capacity. Considering the grace consequences of suspension, it is strongly recommended that, instead of suspending that person is transferred to another institution. This would save tax payers money and preserve the quality of service delivery. Practice Relevance: The study helped employees identify their strengths and weaknesses, and seek corrective measures in developing and growing their individual knowledge on grievance issues. For an organisation to be productive, management should make sure that employees are not 'trapped' in order for them to be suspended. If there is less of sabotage and entrapment in the organisations, employees will be motivated to perform to the best of their ability.