I can think of three clear reasons for prohibiting civil servants from doing business with the state.
The PSC also recommends in the report that the criminal prohibition should not only be in respect of persons or entities who contract with government, but must be wide enough to include any person who ‘deals’ with government.” He acknowledged that there are complex cultural issues around gift-giving that might be taken into account, but said legislating for them would be impractical, since exceptions are “difficult to define, very difficult to police and virtually impossible to prove or disprove”.
In short, accepting significant gifts without good cause ought to be a crime, if you’re a public servant.
And even that flimsy requirement is often not complied with or enforced, Levin told the briefing.
To put some numbers on the government largesse spent on the private interests of civil servants, Business Day reported that the PSC found 17% of senior managers in the Department of Public Works have outside interests and an astonishing 90% do in the Eastern Cape Education Department.
All three harm the development of the country, both economically and socially.