Laws governing the employment of municipal officials should be tightened to prevent the government from rehiring people accused of fraud, corruption, maladministration and mismanagement, according to Minister of Public Service and Administration Richard Baloyi.
Baloyi told The Times yesterday that he was concerned about the number of public servants hired by government departments after being suspended, fired or resigning from their government jobs after fraud and corruption accusations were made against them.
His comments follow an investigation by The Times that found that a number of government officials hopped from one department to another despite having left their previous job under a cloud.
The investigation revealed a trend: once an official is fingered for corruption, he is suspended pending an investigation and/or a disciplinary hearing. To avoid being found guilty, the official resigns and seeks another job in another department.
Said Baloyi: “The law should be tightened at local level.
“At provincial and national level, the law doesn’t allow people with a cloud hanging over their head to move.”
He said the Public Service Act had been amended to close these loopholes.
“Cadre deployment” has been used by the ANC to reward supporters and allies irrespective of their suitability for their position.
Spokesman for the Co-operative Governance Department Vuyelwa Qinga said: “In instances where there were unproved allegations, the view of the department would be that every citizen is regarded as innocent until [he has] been found, through a formal, legally permissible process, to be guilty.”
The Municipal Systems Amendment Act, she said, was a practical demonstration of the government’s resolve to prevent municipal employees who committed criminal offences in one municipality from being hired by another.
Paul Hoffman, director of the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa, said the defence that people were “innocent until proven guilty” was nonsense.
Credit to: Times Live