Parliament has passed amendments to section 55 of the Public Service (Management Act) 1995 that will now see changes to the time period required for public servants wishing to contest the General Elections to tender their resignation and the time period for unsuccessful candidates to re-apply and re-enter the public service.
Public Service Minister Hon. Joe Sungi in presenting the bill to parliament contended that the amendments were part of reforms in the administrative sector to review the public service Act.
“The Government believes that we needed to draw the line so that the public service can operate on its own without the interference of those public servants who wish to contest the General Elections noting from past experiences that those who contested the elections and were unsuccessful and returned to the public service have always caused instability”.
The Public Service Minister stated that because of these issues, the National Executive Council approved the amendment to the Public Service (Management) Act on this particular issue. Minister Sungi told parliament that the amendments will clearly identify and set the course of our public servants in their line of duty and that is to serve the state with full commitment.
Parliament passed the amendment with an overwhelming 81 MP’s voting in favour of the bill. Previously, public servants had to resign 6 months prior to the date of issue of writs.
There were no restrictions to re-engagement into the Public Service except to follow the normal recruitment process. The amendments will now see public servants who wish to contest the General Elections resign 12 months prior to the date of issue of writs.
The amendments will also see public servants who were unsuccessful not allowed back into the Public Service until after a period of 5 years from the General Elections they contested in.
The amendments relating to resignation will take effect prior to the 2027 General Elections while the amendments relating to unsuccessful candidates who wish to re—enter the public service will take effect immediately after the 2022 General Elections.