'Risk of widespread graft': PSC slams state workers doing business with government

The PSC received 281 cases of alleged corruption through the national anti-corruption hotline in the first half of this year.
The PSC received 281 cases of alleged corruption through the national anti-corruption hotline in the first half of this year.
Image: 123RF/BELCHONOK

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has slammed public servants who enable corruption by doing business with the state.

At a media conference on Thursday, one of its commissioners, Michael Seloane, said ethics of professionalism, transparency, accountability and responsibility were the very soul of development.

For that reason, the public service should never be divorced from these ethics and should always be values-driven, rather than only rules-driven,” he said.

“SA faces the challenge of widespread corruption in its public service. Corruption acutely undermines the rule of law and principles and values that ought to govern public administration.”

Seloane said one of the main causes of corruption in the government includes, but is not limited to, public servants who conduct business with the state.

He was addressing the media as the PSC published its quarterly bulletin titled, “The Pulse of the Public Service”.

According to the report, the PSC received 281 cases of alleged corruption through the national anti-corruption hotline. The cases were all reported in the first two quarters of this year.

Seloane said the commission was encouraged by the actions of the government, which in July drafted a memorandum of understanding to better co-ordinate efforts that will lead to the investigation and prosecution of employees found to be conducting business with the state.

The PSC will monitor the outcomes of reported investigations and prosecutions of the offenders, he said.

He said the PSC also appreciated collaborations among law-enforcement agencies to investigate cases of corruption linked to the looting of personal protective equipment contracts and tenders.

The allegations of corruption, whether perceived or real, among public servants continues to escalate. The PSC has also observed that when wrongdoings or irregularities occur in public administration, the employees involved allege that they acted on unlawful instructions from executive authorities or senior managers.

To this end, in September 2020, the PSC issued a circular to all executive authorities, heads of department and government components to advise employees and executive authorities on the mechanisms that are provided for in prescripts regarding the management of unlawful instructions.

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